8.5 A city of structure and complexity: a city of life, light and shadows

The broad brush approach to exploring the urban area has provided an initial visualisation of the complex nature of the cityscape (Fig. 39a and 39b).

The larger courtyards appear to be scattered through the densely built-up areas of the town, with perhaps a concentration towards the western part of the city, although there are no clear zones without them. There is some suggestion that they occur in small groups/clusters. There is also a suggestion that some of the medium sized courtyards, 40 to 50m across (c. 1,500 to 2,500m²), might be grouped into two or three adjacent complexes, often arranged along the more substantial (and long running), east-west streets. Could these be groupings of mosques, madrasas, district reservoirs? The open spaces/gardens have already been discussed.

The density of buildings evident in the aerial images (Fig, 36 and Fig, 37 - opens GIS), combined with the reasonably narrow network of streets and alleys, enables us to image a vibrant and densely populated city: a city with strong summer sunlight streaming across the roof tops, but lots of shadows. The urban structures act to restrict the amount of direct sun penetrating into the streets and alleys, keeping the buildings cool so that the population could go about their daily life and business in this vast city, even in the fierce summer heat.

The broad brush approach has thrown up some interesting questions, but perhaps the suggested methodology, with a more careful documentation of scale and levels of confidence, will enable this exploration of patterning to be developed more fully.

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