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Special Issue

Geomorphological Mapping in Urban Areas

Journal of Maps

A journal dedicated to the publication and dissemination of bespoke maps and spatial diagrams

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We would like to invite contributions to a special issue of the Journal of Maps devoted to geomorphological surveying and mapping in urban areas, either addressed at

  • highlighting the former topographic features (physical geography) that drove the choice of settlement and subsequent urban development
  • to evaluate the impacts of human intervention on geomorphological processes and landforms

The fundamental basis for this special issue is growing interest in how Urban Geomorphological research can aid in a better understanding of the effects of urban growth on geomorphological processes/landforms and their relationship to the increase in geological risk, as well as the dissemination of cultural geo-heritage in urban areas.

Submit your paper


Research into urban geomorphology is relatively recent and its theory and practice require continuous updates, insights, and assessments. Methodological approaches to recognize and map landforms, processes and deposits in urban environments are different from those used in natural ones where geomorphological landforms are often easier to identify. Geomorphological surveys in urban areas require careful observations of morphology, particularly at the medium-large scale. Insights from other sources, particularly historical and geographical documents as well as excavation and borehole data, are essential in order to identify, map and date landforms and deposits.

This process is particularly difficult due to the stratification of urban expansion phases. In Europe these cities were often founded in historical times, expanded in the Middle Ages and progressively grew larger. In the 20th century, and particularly after the Second World War, they went through uncontrolled urban expansion/sprawl, partly related to the development of tourism.


Without constraining the range of topics that are potentially suitable for inclusion in the special issue, we offer the following as examples:

  • Detection of geomorphological features driving the choice of settlements and subsequent following development of urban towns;
  • Evaluation of the modifications/impacts of human intervention on geomorphological processes and landforms in urban areas;
  • Definition and selection of methods for geomorphological survey and mapping in urbanized areas and/or areas modified by human activity;
  • Analysis of the geomorphological changes in urban areas and their relationships with archaeological and historical data;
  • Analysis of the geomorphological evolution of urban areas in the context of landscape change;
  • Definition of the geological model of the nearest subsoil and anthropogenic deposits (eg., interactions with geotechnics, hydrogeology, the design of underground infrastructure);
  • Evaluation and mapping of geomorphological hazard/risk in urban areas to support planning and management of mitigation measures;
  • promotion of cultural heritage and geotourist enhancement of urbanized areas.


All papers are expected to consist of a map or series of maps (loosely and broadly defined to include various forms of spatial representation) accompanied by brief explanatory text. Papers should be bespoke, and the mapping of good quality. All papers in this special issue will be peer reviewed. To submit a paper, authors should do the following:

  1. Email a short draft (500 word limit) outlining the key themes and scope of the paper, where possible including example mapping, by 31st Jan 2019.
  2. Submit a completed paper (4000 word limit) by 15th October 2019.
  3. The special issue will be published in 2020.

The special issue editorial team are happy to discuss ideas for papers and their suitability with potential contributors prior to the short draft submission stage. Please e-mail:

Pierluigi Brandolini (brando@unige.it), Maurizio Del Monte (maurizio.delmonte@uniroma1.it ) or Francesco Faccini (faccini@unige.it) in the first instance.

All submissions should be made via the Journal of Maps website where further guidance on all aspects of submission can be found. Please note the journal is open access, with an article processing charge of £500.

Find out more


Pierluigi Brandolini, Genoa University, Italy

Maurizio Del Monte, Roma University, Italy

Zbigniew Zwolinski, University in Poznan, Poland

Francesco Faccini, Genoa University, Italy

Mike Smith, Plymouth University, UK

Bieke Cattoor, TU Delft, Netherlands