Living on the Edge: Portsmouth’s Urban Metamorphosis through the Effect of Edges

By Andrea Verenini.

Published by Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies

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This paper is an investigation into edges within the urban fabric through the use of Portsmouth, United Kingdom, as a case study. The city is an island located on the southeast coast of England and presents a multifaceted number of edge conditions both at macro and micro scale levels. The research suggests that edges play a leading and influential role in the development of cities. Initially, the paper discusses the spectrum of definitions associated with the concept of ‘edge’ itself. Secondly, the research proceeds to investigate the role of edges as urban shapers by means of an analysis of Portsmouth’s pre-WW2 urban metamorphosis. Thirdly, the research progresses through the study of post-WW2 Portsmouth in order to show how edges can also act as profound segregators within cities. Through the discussion of Portsmouth’s urban development history, the research will show how edges are dominant factors behind the city’s making and breaking. As a methodology, an extensive range of both historical and recent maps (starting from the first maps of the 13th Century) have been studied and analysed. Key texts and documents, which discuss Portsmouth’s metamorphosis from both an urban and a sociological standpoint, have equally been thoroughly researched and studied to attain a more holistic vision of the city through history and the role edges have had in shaping it. In résumé, this work aims at highlighting the delicate relationship between the city and its edges, and raises the question of how these can be transformed into agents of Urban Regeneration.

Keywords: Edges, Urban Metamorphosis, Urban Regeneration, Portsmouth

Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp.145-166. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.365MB).

Andrea Verenini

PhD Research Student in Urban Regeneration, CAAD - Centre for Art, Architecture and Design, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK

Born in Italy in November 1984, Andrea's childhood saw him traveling around Europe extensively which helped sediment in him an interest in architecture, history and culture. Having lived in Italy, Hungary, Russia and Austria, at the age of 17 he moved to the UK to pursue a degree in Architecture at the University of Portsmouth. After completing his BA, he moved to London to work for the internationally acclaimed Grimshaw Architects (the Eden Project; Waterloo Station). There, he worked on and lead projects which ranged from small extensions and refurbishments, bridges, a flagship fashion exhibition center in Milano, and urban master plans for University campuses. He returned to Portsmouth to do a Diploma in Architecture which he obtained in 2009. At the start of 2010, Andrea won a fully funded studentship with the University of Portsmouth for a PhD in Urban Regeneration. Currently, he lives and works in Portsmouth where he divides his time between researching and teaching part time at the School of Architecture, University of Portsmouth.