The Urban Morphology of Hyderabad, India: A Historical Geographic Analysis

Authors: Kevin Haynes*, Western Michigan University
Topics: Urban Geography, Historical Geography, Remote Sensing
Keywords: Urban Morphology, South Asia, India, Remote Sensing, Archival Research, Mixed Methods, Urban Geography
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/8/2020
Start / End Time: 1:45 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Plaza Court 6, Sheraton, Concourse Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This research focuses on mega-scale urban growth in the city of Hyderabad, India. A departure from traditional methodologies is necessary to understand the rapid transformations globalization is having on Indian megacities. I propose urban morphology is a nuanced methodology to provide insight to understand changes in the urban build-up of Indian megacities.

This study seeks to understand how and why Hyderabad transitioned from an east-west growth axis to a north-south urban morphological directional pattern and back to an east-west between 1501 to 2019. By triangulating classified Landsat 1-8 imagery and historical map analysis with 100 years of master plans collected from fieldwork in Hyderabad provides a rich texture and depth of data to understand mega-urbanization in Hyderabad.

Attempts to shape the landscape have produced cities that undergo historical transformations. We adapt our current needs to the existing infrastructure and make some alterations as we are able. Many urban challenges revolve around how to deal with infrastructure designed for another time. History is the only way to understand the urban morphology of Indian megacities, and arguably all Asian mega-urbanization.

This study examines how the history of colonialism and globalization have shaped urban morphology in Hyderabad. It examines how those changes happened and determines whether the current moment represents a trend. The purpose of this study is to generate knowledge about morphological shifts in Hyderabad to provide context to make empirical research questions for future research. This research creates knowledge about Hyderabad as well as contributes methodologically to the study of mega-urbanization.

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