From many excavations in medieval towns in Britain since the 1970s, the forms and development of town houses and properties can be reconstructed. Timber buildings were the great majority, and they grew higher over time, particularly in the central streets. The urban property was usually built around its commercial front, the shop, with domestic accommodation behind and increasingly above. The form of buildings was influenced by urban building regulations, where they existed, to prevent fire and control waste. Histories of buildings can be constructed by dendrochronology. Houses in towns may have been part of an urban culture which was different from that in the countryside; more wealth, more ostentation, different values which encouraged the birth of a consumer society.
The infrastructure of the medieval city comprised roads, bridges, waterways, and their associated structures. This chapter argues that archaeology, in conjunction with the study of historical and pictorial evidence, can shed important insights into the construction, modification, and development of streets, waterfronts, rivers, bridges, and perceptions of hygiene in the medieval city. The importance of infrastructure to transport and urban ports, markets, and civic pride is reflected in the contemporary historical records. Through the archaeology of urban infrastructure it is possible to show they are more than a backdrop to the urban environment and formed an integral part of the active expression of daily life and a statement of civic pride.