First, by seeing the purpose of Transport as the facilitation of human transaction and not only as the movement of people/goods and the construction of roads, rails and runways.
Second, that the economic benefits of transport investments are measured not as savings in time but as the creation of opportunities.
Third, that when you say transport, people think walk and cycle as well as drive and ride.
Fourth, that digital transportation if considered alongside physical transportation by the same people working within the same teams/departments.
Fifth, that the accuracy of transport forecasts is improved – too many initiatives don’t work the way they were meant to and, of these, many create unintended negative consequences such as traffic congestion, illness and social isolation.
Yesterday’s launch by think tank Policy Exchange of a report calling for the removal of inner-city high rise estates and their replacement with streets is a welcome contribution to discussions about the design of future cities. The report, authored by Create Streets, concludes that high rise estates are unsafe, antisocial and economically substandard. By proposing to replace estates with streets, the authors claim they are responding to residents’ concerns. They also say that well designed streets can provide just as much housing as sprawling estates.
The argument for street-based living appears to be straightforward: people like streets and they deliver economically. Yet it isn’t as simple as this and the report quite rightly references research by Savills, Space Syntax and the Brookings Institute that shows the importance of street layout. There are better, well-connected, well used streets and less good, disconnected, poorly used streets. Continue reading
The everyday actions of architects and urban planners influence the everyday physical activity of people by creating the networks of streets and public spaces through which people move. Similarly, inside buildings, the layout of space influences the degree to which people move around.
The precise mechanisms through which spatial patterns influence behaviour patterns are increasingly well understood by the academic community. Physical connections are key: well-located pedestrian crossings, cycle lanes, bridges over rivers and canals, simple and direct routes through housing areas and town centres. Well-located shops and public buildings are key: within walking and cycling distance. Good quality paving matters, as does good lighting.
Nevertheless, this scientific knowledge is not yet part of everyday practice. Some of these findings run counter to accepted planning practice, not least transport planning practice.
Nor is the connection between planning/design on one hand and physical civility/health on the other embedded in practice. The world of architectural and urban planning practice is heavily silo-ed. Health outcomes are not a priority for architects and planners. Continue reading
Great placemaking is a process combining art and science. There is a place for both and indeed a need for both. Two problems. First, urban planning is largely an analogue discipline. Too many diagrams and watercolours. Not enough science. And, when science is present, it is seen as an adjunct, not as a driver.
Space Syntax has harnessed a scientific technique and used it to drive a creative process. This scientific technique is geospatial. It is all about what goes where and how it is connected together. This should be of interest to this conference. Continue reading
What will the future city look like?
The city of transaction
How to plan a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable city
The effects of the digital revolution on human behaviour patterns
Tim Stonor, Architect & Urban Planner, Managing Director, Space Syntax (UK)
Data is not the solution.
Turning data into knowledge is a beginning.
Turning knowledge into wisdom is the next step.
Turning wisdom into action is the key.
All of this requires theory.
Here is a theory of the city.
It begins with a description of the city as a geometrical configuration.
Of land uses and linkages.
Addressing the question that planners ask. That politician ask and demand of planners. That property developers make and lose money on.
What goes where and how is it connected together?
19th October 2011
“What will the future city look like?”
View the presentation
Themes to be addressed
1. How to plan a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable city.
2. Effects of the digital revolution on human behaviour patterns.
In addressing the question, “What will the future city look like?” I am less concerned about the visual appearance of individual buildings and more concerned about how the city is planned as a layout of streets, spaces and land uses.
Why? Because the spatial layout of a town or city organises the movement and interaction of people. Movement and interaction lead to social and economic transaction. These are the building blocks of society, of culture and therefore of being human.
Wednesday, 6th April 2011 at 6:30pm
Harvard Graduate School of Design, Piper Auditorium
48 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
An article in the New Zealand Dominion Post, titled “On your feet, Wellington” reports on Space Syntax’s proposals to reconnect the pedestrian infrastructure of the capital.
Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Achieve universal primary education
Promote gender equality and empower women
Reduce child mortality
Improve maternal health
Combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases
Ensure environmental sustainability
Monday, 14th February 2011 at 6pm
Stubbins Room, Harvard Graduate School of Design, 48 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
Pablo Rey, Basurama
Manolo Mansylla, Trashpatch
Robin Nagle, anthropologist of material culture (waste)
Scientist doing research in biomaterials (Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering/ Materials Research Science and Engineering Center – School of Engineering and Applied Sciences)
Technology has no limits. Science has no limits. Human creativity and imagination have no limits. The limits are imposed by matter. Raw materials are being extracted from the remotest of geographies and we are beginning to exhaust the last reservoirs of available minerals in order to perpetuate a production system based on disposability and the consumption of wholes, not parts; of large, not small; of new, not old; of multiple, not the one that is needed. In order to extract such minerals, we often deplete forests, along with the cultures that inhabit them, or contaminate river basins. Science and technology can produce brilliant responses to our environmental problems, but unless they take into account the source of the materials they consume, the counter landscapes of extraction, those of waste and slums (people get displaced as we render their land useless through monoculture or extraction), will continue to grow; setting off our good intentions to move towards a more sustainable future. Continue reading