Cities 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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How do we measure connectivity, walkability & car-dependence at Space Syntax?

SPATIAL LAYOUT ATTRACTION MODELLING ‘Spatial Layout Attraction Modelling’ is a computer modelling technique that calculates the relative importance of each street segment – each piece of street between two intersections – for people moving within towns and cities.  We begin by analysing road the geometry of the street network, using road centreline data. By finding […]

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What will cities look like 30 years from now?

I joined a carbon reduction event yesterday where, by way of introducing ourselves, we were each asked to predict the future: what did we think we would see more of in 2050 – in terms of objects, experiences and services. A neat little ice-breaker if ever there was one. Here are my top-of-the-head responses: 1. […]

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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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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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The Auranga Story: create streets = create jobs

Research by Mike Cullen of Urbacity has shown that: Out-of-town malls generate 0.5 non-retail jobs per retail job created. Mall-dominated towns generate 1.2. Street-based retail generates 2.6 Answer = build street-based retail As if we didn’t know enough already about the social, economic and environmental benefits of connected, mixed-use urbanism, Cullen’s research provides one more […]

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Beyond placemaking: 7 dimensions of “Place Performance”

Notes from a talk at the Bartlett Real Estate Institute, University College London, 24th April 2019.   Placemaking is the art and science of planning and designing spaces for human activity, however that is done: ‬ – by a single hand (usually not a good approach) or by multiple hands (usually a good approach) – […]

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Transport & housing: tools, standards, principles

Notes for presentation at Transport & Housing conference: https://www.transportxtra.com/tx-events/?id=2400 To understand where we are & where we need to go, we first need to understand where we come from. And where we come from is a relationship with the car that has fragmented cities & damaged lives. Transport & housing Big problems: – obesity – […]

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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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Intelligent mobility: risks & rewards

第一页   技术就是答案 Slide 1       Technology is the answer 1966年,塞德里克·普莱斯说,我喜欢一开始就对新技术进行一点质疑。当然,“技术就是答案”。他也强调:“不过问题是什么?”。 I’d like to begin with a little scepticism about new technology. Of course “Technology is the answer“, said Cedric Price in 1966. He also said, “But what is the question?” 这些问题就是我们试图去获得无人驾驶技术。 What are the questions that we are trying to answer in the pursuit of autonomous […]

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Notes from first ULI UK Tech Forum

1. We need to have a clear definition of technology. Physical as well as digital technology. Users and uses as well as creators and providers. Pre-construction, construction, post-construction.  2. Because we’ve always had technology: a. Writing (wooden stylus & wax tablet) movement b. Air conditioning – occupancy c. Underfloor heating – occupancy d. The shower […]

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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 are what we street. The elements of successful #urban placemaking

PART ONE – THE ELEMENTS OF SUCCESSFUL URBAN PLACEMAKING Location How the site fits into its context, including complementary and competitive attractions; in other words, what else is nearby to which the design should respond? The success of any development, no matter how large, is a function of the wider setting. Linkage The specific points […]

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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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How cities connect people across space & time

The subject of “connectivity” is much mentioned in urban planning practice, not least by the Space Syntax community.  But what do we mean by connectivity?  1. Urban practice should connect across different scales of activity: Urban Planning (macro scale) Urban Design (meso scale) Building Design (micro scale) ie 3 scales of space. 2. Urban practice […]

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Sustainability & resilience – a SMART approach

1. Aspects of sustainability/resilience: SMART outcomes Social – improvements in formation & retention of social connections Environmental – increases in renewable energy production and reductions in energy demand Economic – increases in land value creation Health – improvements in public health outcomes Education – improvements in achievements/qualifications Safety – reductions in offending & reoffending. Environmental […]

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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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