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PhD thesis: Advanced Assemblage Analysis of Built Environment and Persistence of the Identity of Place in Yanesen

The Thesis advances methods of urban analysis based on the assemblage theory by increasing its capacity to address changes in built environment and relating them to persistences of the identity of place. The methodology proposed and tested in this thesis approaches place in its complexity and analyses the dynamics of change of a concrete place as a whole. The dynamics of change contribute to the persistence, which itself defines the identity of the place.

The Yanesen precinct of Tokyo was selected because of its peculiar urban character, which remains strongly associated with urban forms and practices of the past (Edo period), although the components of its built environment have dramatically changed, leaving almost no original buildings. The methodology applied was developed on the basis of assemblage theory and issues arising from the particularity of the Yanesen itself. The resulting assembled method brings together various tools and methods, in order to approach the totality of the place identity with due sensibility, addressing the built environment as a dynamic and complex assemblage system.

Methodological advancements developed here contribute to the analysis in the fields of urban morphological preservation and conservation. The study also provides methodological contributions to analyses in the field of place making by broadening the scope and including commonly overlooked ordinary urban places and practices. The refined method enabled observation of processes which are usually hidden behind the expressiveness of the various elements of built environment. Finally, this study has contributed to the assemblage theory itself by refining the core concepts and definitions of identity and becoming.