Cities Made of Boundaries

Cities Made of Boundaries

Mapping Social Life in Urban Form

Benjamin N. Vis


  • Description
  • Author
  • Info
  • Reviews


Cities Made of Boundaries presents the theoretical foundation and concepts for a new social scientific urban morphological mapping method, Boundary Line Type (BLT) Mapping. Its vantage is a plea to establish a frame of reference for radically comparative urban studies positioned between geography and archaeology. Based in multidisciplinary social and spatial theory, a critical realist understanding of the boundaries that compose built space is operationalised by a mapping practice utilising Geographical Information Systems (GIS).

Benjamin N. Vis gives a precise account of how BLT Mapping can be applied to detailed historical, reconstructed, contemporary, and archaeological urban plans, exemplified by sixteenth to twenty-first century Winchester (UK) and Classic Maya Chunchucmil (Mexico). This account demonstrates how the functional and experiential difference between compact western and tropical dispersed cities can be explored.

The methodological development of Cities Made of Boundaries will appeal to readers interested in the comparative social analysis of built environments, and those seeking to expand the evidence-base of design options to structure urban life and development.

Supplementary materials for this book are available to download from

Praise for Cities Made of Boundaries
'A useful volume.'
Urban Morphology
‘ … a deep analysis on how the study of different types of boundaries can contribute to enrich urban analysis.’


Benjamin N. Vis:

Benjamin N. Vis holds a Research Fellowship from the Eastern Area Research Consortium (Eastern ARC) based at the University of Kent, where he co-directs the Kent Interdisciplinary Centre for Spatial Studies (KISS). In 2012 he led the ESRC/NCRM research community Assembly for Comparative Urbanisation and the Material Environment (ACUMEN), and currently leads the AHRC network Pre-Columbian Tropical Urban Life (TruLife). He continues developing urban morphological research on Maya urban life and spatial organisation to make radical comparative contributions to urban studies and sustainable development.