Conzen was a geographer who specialised in urban morphology, the study of urban form and development. He was born in Berlin in 1907 and escaped to England in the 1930s. He became a British citizen in 1939 and in 1946 came to Newcastle as a lecturer at what was then King’s College.
His most important work, Alnwick, Northumberland: a study in town-plan analysis, was published in 1960. While principally concerned with how the town-plan in 1960 had developed since Anglian times, it contains much information about the town. This makes it one of the most important sources for Alnwick history.