space syntax is a science-based, human-focused approach that investigates relationships between spatial layout and a range of social, economic and environmental phenomena. These phenomena include patterns of movement, awareness and interaction; density, land use and land value; urban growth and societal differentiation; safety and crime distribution.
The Space Syntax approach was pioneered in the 1970s by Prof Bill Hillier and colleagues at The Bartlett, University College London. Today, space syntax is used and developed in hundreds of universities and educational institutions as well as professional practices worldwide, including my own: Space Syntax Limited. Built on quantitative analysis and geospatial computer technology, space syntax provides a set of theories and methods for the analysis of spatial configurations of all kinds and at all scales.
Research using the space syntax approach has shown how:
- movement patterns and flows in cities are powerfully shaped by the street network
- this relation shapes the evolution of the centres and sub-centres that makes cities liveable
- patterns of security and insecurity are affected by spatial design
- spatial segregation and social disadvantage are related in cities
- buildings can create more interactive organisational cultures.
The space syntax approach was conceived to help architects simulate the likely effects of their designs on the people who occupied and moved around in them, be they buildings or urban settlements. It has since grown around the world in a variety of research areas and practical applications including archaeology, criminology, information technology, urban and human geography, anthropology and cognitive science.
In practice, space syntax provides a set of planning and design principles as well as a toolkit for the generation and evaluation of ideas.
Visit www.spacesyntax.net for further information.