Architecture Category

“7Ls” of urban planning & design

Location – where is the site and what’s around it Linkage – where are the principal ways into the site (can any new ones be established?) Layout – the pattern & hierarchy of streets Land use – more than housing? Landscape – the look and feel of the place (covers a lot eg materials, blue/green) […]

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Is physical distancing possible on city streets?

Until a vaccine is found for COVID-19, and perhaps beyond, it will be important to practise physical distancing in towns and cities. Whether this is possible will come down to the “carrying capacity” of the urban infrastructure: in particular, the relationship between Pedestrian Supply in the form of sufficiently wide footways and Pedestrian Demand in […]

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No board rooms, no desks. The office of the future…

Images of future offices, with physically distanced workstations to separate desk-bound workers, seem to miss the point. Offices aren’t for staying apart – they’re for coming together. But how can that be organised in a post-COVID world? Offices have desks because we’ve long thought that people couldn’t or shouldn’t work from home. Attitudes were changing […]

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Silver linings: how design can exploit the virus

A “to do” list for urban planners, architects & interior designers, in response to the coronavirus. In towns & cities: reduce traffic speeds to 20mph/30kph to discourage speeding on empty streets during lockdown & to keep the air clean, the sound low & the accidents down after the “return”. On wide streets: broaden footways to […]

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Reflecting ourselves in the city

What can the form of cities tell us about the structure of the brain? And what can the structure of the brain tell us about the form of cities? These are questions that I’d like to address in this talk. In summary, I believe we can learn a good deal about the interaction between the […]

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We, robots

The subject of robotics is multi-dimensional, disruptive & urgent. In my summing up at the Public Debate of the Robotics Atelier at the Norman Foster Foundation, I identified three types of robot: Type 1_The robot of repetitive tasks – this kind of robot will end many kinds of manual jobs that people currently have in […]

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Cities from scratch – Astana Economic Forum

Good afternoon. I’m delighted to be a member of this panel today. Let me start by describing my organisation’s approach to the creation of cities from scratch. Space Syntax is an international urban planning and design studio and has been involved in plans for new cities and new city extensions throughout the world, including here […]

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The return of the impossible – Astana Economic Forum

Good afternoon. It’s an honour and a pleasure to be here in Astana today with this distinguished panel. In speaking about the cities of the future I’d like to speak about three technologies that I think are not only exciting but are also capable of genuinely addressing the “Global Challenges” theme of this Forum. The […]

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Growth. Are you old school or new school?

There are two different schools of thought about how to accommodate urban growth. The first says that cities should build more road capacity to handle private vehicle traffic. The second says that less space should be provided for private vehicles and more investment should be made in public transport and “active travel” i.e. walking and cycling. […]

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Backwards plans for Newcastle’s Blue House Roundabout

Newcastle City Council’s plans for the Blue House Roundabout are appalling and unnecessary. I know the junction and have walked and driven across it more times than I can remember. The last thing it needs is what is proposed and I intend to do what I can to help stop the scheme. There is already […]

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We don’t guess the structural performance of individual buildings so why do we guess the human performance of entire cities?

The structural steelwork of a large and complex building would not be designed without running engineering calculations. Even the smallest of buildings is subject to objective structural analysis. No client and professional team would rely on guesswork, no matter how famous or experienced the architect or engineer. So why do we leave the human performance […]

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Space Syntax in China

How has Space Syntax been applied in China and are the findings different to those outside China?  Space Syntax is not a prescriptive planning and design methodology. Instead it is a culturally responsive planning methodology. It begins by analysing the spatial layout of urban and rural areas and studying patterns of human behaviour, land use […]

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Sustainable cities of the future – sketch

Notes for keynote at UK Green Building Council Annual City Summit, Birmingham. 1. Spatial planning & human behaviour implications of sustainability – reduction of transport carbon through shift towards walking, cycling & public transport 2. A massive shift needed in transport + land use planning, urban + landscape design, architecture. Professional inertia. Turning the supertanker. […]

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Past, present & future_Space Syntax in practice

[Speaking notes for Tim Stonor’s opening presentation at the First Conference on Space Syntax in China, Beijing, 5th December 2015.] Good morning. It is an honour to be speaking at this important conference alongside so many distinguished speakers and attendees. My talk today will cover the past, present and future of Space Syntax Limited’s experience […]

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Integrated Urban Planning – balancing the multiple flows of the city

Notes for the UK-China Sustainable Urbanisation Conference in Chengdu, China on 24th September 2015    My job as an architect and urban planner is to design new towns and cities – as well as new parts of existing urban settlements. This means designing the multiple systems that make up a city. We often think about towns and […]

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A definition of design

I believe that a definition of design needs to be more than a list of designers. A list is certainly useful but the definition should also capture: – what is designed – how design happens.   I think a longer – or more dimensional – definition is needed so that designers can better communicate with […]

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Green space in cities – when more is less

Tim Stonor‘s response to a study published today, which shows that green space in cities improves the mental development of schoolchildren.  I welcome the study: the more we understand cities the better; the Science of Cities – the link between the design of the built environment and the way that we use it – much […]

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The Prince of Wales defines the resilient city #DCR15

3 key features: 1. Embracing local culture, knowledge and customs. Local understanding.  2. Creating places for all types of people to live together – not ghettos. Diversity.  3. Integrating people and nature at the centre of the process: urban gardens, parks, orchards & allotments – while protecting rural hinterland.  http://www.designingcityresilience.com/

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The Urban DataFrame

Context The Urban Data Store is a collection of databases on the social, economic and environmental performance of the city.  The proposal These databases can be organised by an Urban DataFrame. Like threads being organised by a loom. Without the loom they are just threads: disconnected on reels or tangled in a pile. The DataFrame […]

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