Category Archives: Conference talk

Intelligent mobility: risks & rewards

第一页   技术就是答案
Slide 1       Technology is the answer

Slide01

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 vehicle technologies?

我认为仅仅从驾驶员的角度去谈论智慧出行,并不充分。 我喜欢从整个城市的角度去考虑收益。如果我们过度关注车辆而不是城市,那么风险也是需要考虑的。
I don’t think it’s enough to talk about intelligent mobility from the perspective of the driver alone. I’d like us to think about its benefits for cities as a whole. And the risks too, if we focus too much on the vehicle and not enough on what’s around it: the city.

第二页 度量连接度——现状
Slide 2       Measuring connectivity – existing

Slide02

我不反对技术。我也开办科技公司,即空间句法公司,研发了度量城市街道网络连接性的工具。他们展示城镇布局如何影响人们的使用,以及用地模式如何影响场所中社会、经济、环境行为。
And I’m not against technology. I run a tech company, called Space Syntax, that has developed tools which measure the connectivity of street networks. They show how the layout of towns and cities affects the way they’re used by people – and how patterns of use affect the social, economic and environmental performance of places.

3  预测模型—新发展
Slide 3       Predictive modelling – new developments

Slide03

我们开发了预测模型工具,度量新城市开发的影响。
We’ve developed predictive modelling tools that measure the impacts of new urban developments.

4  达尔文城总体规划
Slide 4       Darwin masterplan

Slide04

我们使用这些工具设计新的城市场所,有时候也设计全世界范围内整个新城新镇。
And we use these tools to create designs for new urban places, sometimes entirely new towns and cities throughout the world.

5
Slide 5       Urban Value analysis

Slide05

我们技术表明如何联系街道网络比切断街道网络更具有价值。
Our technology shows how connected street networks are much more valuable than disconnected ones.

6   破碎化/整合化的城市
Slide 6       Fragmented/integrated cities

Slide06

因此,对我而言显然易见,可持续发展的城市是整合的,而非彼此不联通的。当街道成为了人们的场所,它既是步行的,也是车行的。这是过去城市的常态,也是它们发展的方向。
And it’s therefore clear to me that a sustainable city is one that is integrated not disconnected. Where the street is a place for people both on foot as well as in vehicles. This is how cities always were and it is how they always should be.

7  以车中心的规划
Slide 7       Car-centred planning

Slide07

然而,在过去一个世纪中,城市并不是如此规划的。车成为国王,人们逐步彼此不再相连,这带来了物质和精神健康上的可怕后果,而在这城市中心的经济活力中并未得以重视。
But it’s not how cities have been planned for the past century, where the car has been king and people have been increasingly disconnected, with terrible results for physical and mental health, not to mention the economic vibrancy of urban centres.

8  街道
Slide 8       Streets

Slide08

我丝毫不怀疑我们是否可从智慧交通技术中获益。然而,我们也需要伟大的街道,既为车辆服务,也与人性化尺度的步行相得益彰。伟大街道包括兰布拉大街和香榭丽道大街。
So I’ve no doubt that we can benefit from intelligent mobility technologies. But we also need great streets for those vehicles to drive along in the company of people on foot. Great streets like the Ramblas and the Champs Elysées.

问题是世界各地的规划师逐步不再设计伟大街道。
The trouble is that planners worldwide are generally not designing great streets.

9  人本交流
Slide 9       Human transaction

Slide09

我们最终需要跳过对步行、车行和停车场的思考,而转向思考城镇真实的目的。这将推动人与人之间的交流,包括社会和经济交易。
And we ultimately need to move beyond just thinking about walking, driving and parking – to thinking about the real purpose of towns and cities – which is to facilitate transactions between people. Social and economic transactions.

我们坐在小汽车中进行的创新远比我们坐在桌子旁边与朋友和陌生人聊天形成的创新更为少。
We innovate much less when we’re in cars than when we’re sat around tables with friends and strangers.

因此,如果无人驾驶需要跟高效地利用道路空间,那么我建议街道空间容纳更多吃喝的静态活动,而不是充斥更多无人车辆。
Therefore, if autonomous vehicles can use road space more efficiently then I suggest that we repurpose that road space for stationary activities like eating and drinking rather than leaving it be filled up with more autonomous vehicles.

10  黄线
Slide 10     Yellow lines

Slide10

然而我期望未来的停车自动化,我们不必看到街道上画满了错误应用的黄色停车线,让街道变得更为无比污垢。
But I do look forward to a future where parking can be automated and we won’t see the appalling defacement of our streets with badly applied yellow paint.

11    从坑洞到盆栽
Slide 11     Pot holes to plant pots

Slide11

作为结尾总结,我们希望,我们的聪明才智可借助电子技术,提升开车水平 ,为街道留下一些空白地区,用于街道设计的独创性,并还能保障汽车还能再其中行驶。
And so in summary I hope that in our cleverness to apply digital technologies to the advancement of driving we will also leave some space for ingenuity in the design of the streets in which those vehicles drive.

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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.

3. A massive opportunity. Reason to turn.

4. Lessons from the past eg Pompeii, Brindley Place.

5. Examples from the present eg Darwin, London SkyCycle, Birmingham Charette.

6. UK government: Smart & Future cities agenda is a sustainability agenda.

7. Social inequalities dimension of sustainability.

8. Need to act at all scales simultaneously ie there’s work for all of us to do.

9. Challenge for modelling.

10. Challenge for research.

11. Challenge for practice: design, development & real estate investment.

12. Already being acted on. The supertanker is turning.

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 working on projects in London and around the world, including here in China.

As you heard from Professor Hillier, the relationship between academic research and practice is fundamental. Practice provides an opportunity to apply Space Syntax techniques – and it also provokes new research questions. Continue reading Past, present & future_Space Syntax in practice

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 cities in terms of their physical stuff: their buildings. Perhaps also in terms of their roads and rails. But for me the success of any city can be seen and measured in terms of its flows, the flows of:

  • energy
  • water
  • data

and, most important of all, the flows of:

  • people: in cars, on public transport, on bicycles and on foot.

Each of these flows is impacted by urban development: how much of which land uses are placed where, and how they are then connected to each other. Flows impact on other flows.

Sometimes these impacts are positive, sometimes negative. They have enormous social and economic implications.

Urban planning is as much about designing flows as it is designing buildings.

We live in an age of unprecedented computing power – this gives us the ability to better predict the nature of these impacts.

This is especially important to avoid the unwanted effects of urban development: congestion, air pollution, social isolation and unsustainable stresses on natural resources.

And computing can help create the positive impacts that are needed to support the essential purpose of cities: to be:

  • machines for human interaction
  • crucibles of invention
  • factories for cultural creation.

The last decade has seen the emergence of Integrated Urban Modelling. My company, Space Syntax, is a leader in the field: one of the UK companies referred to by the Chancellor as contributing to China’s growth and development. Working, for example, with the China Academy of Urban Planning and Design across China in Suzhou and Beijing.

Integrated Urban Models link the data generated by the multiple flows and reveal the interactions that help architects and urban planners create sustainable plans. Space Syntax has identified the essential role of spatial layout as the principal influence on urban performance. Spatial analytics are at the heart of our approach to Integrated Urban Modelling and we have made our discovery open source and openly available so that others can benefit too.

The Space Syntax Online Training Platform is a freely available, web-based resource through which urban practitioners, policymakers and local residents can equip themselves with information and skills to create more sustainable urban futures.

I’m pleased to announce that this platform is currently being translated into Chinese so that the Space Syntax’s discoveries and experiences can be more readily disseminated here in China.
_____________

Integration, balance, glue, pivot: space
In many ways, urban planning is the integration and balancing of multiple flows. Integration needs glue and balance needs a pivot. Spatial layout provides both.

 

Connected Cities Conference

Notes for the Connected Cities Conference, London, 15th September 2015.

How long has Space Syntax been going?
Space Syntax was established as a consulting company in 1989.

Why did you set it up?
Space Syntax was set up to exploit academic research at University College London: computer-based methods of analysing space in buildings and cities and predicting human behaviour. I joined the company to practise a new kind of architecture: one more attuned to human needs and one powered by new analytic capabilities that de-risk an otherwise data-light and judgment-heavy spatial planning process, one which has a history of social and economic failure. Continue reading Connected Cities Conference

What did the Romans ever do for us? Pompei’s 5 lessons for placemaking…

Download the presentation

Tim Stonor_Future mobility 15.001

In looking forwards it is important to learn the lessons of history.

Look at Pompei. A city built for efficient mobility. 

A model of the 1st century with lessons for the 21st century. 

Tim Stonor_Future mobility 15.002

The grid – no cul de sacs. Built for mobility. Built for commerce. 

More or less rectilinear – not labyrinthine. A layout that brains like. Easy to wayfind. Hard to get lost in.

Tim Stonor_Future mobility 15.003

A Main Street with shops – no inward-looking shopping malls. Active frontages. About as much surface for pedestrians as for vehicles – the right balance for then. Perhaps also for now?

Tim Stonor_Future mobility 15.004

And shopkeepers of great wealth! It was not a compromise to open onto a Main Street. It was a sound commercial investment. Who would turn their back on the flow of the street?

Tim Stonor_Future mobility 15.005

Pedestrian crossings! The deep kerbs channel water when it rains, flushing the dirt from the road and keeping it clean. Integrated infrastructure.

Tim Stonor_Future mobility 15.006

Pedestrian crossings that are aligned with pedestrian desire lines – not following the convenience of traffic engineers’ vehicle turning arrangements. Pedestrians first because its the pedestrians that carried the money, not the vehicles.

Tim Stonor_Future mobility 15.007

A small, pedestrian only zone in the very heart of the city. No bigger than it needs to be…

Tim Stonor_Future mobility 15.008

…unambiguously signed that this is where you have to get out of your chariot and onto your feet. 

Tim Stonor_Future mobility 15.009

Pompei: a city of great streets – great street sense.

Tim Stonor_Future mobility 15.010

But in recent times we lost our street-sense. 

Look at Birmingham then…

Tim Stonor_Future mobility 15.011

And now. What happened to our street sense?

Tim Stonor_Future mobility 15.012

And Birmingham was not alone. 

Look at US cities:

What they were…only 60 years ago – recognisably like Pompei: simple, rectilinear grids.

Tim Stonor_Future mobility 15.013

Then what they became…

We became entrapped by traffic models. 

And a love-affair with the car. 

We need to regain our street-sense. 

Tim Stonor_Future mobility 15.014

Fortunately this is happening. 

Trafalgar Square,

Nottingham.

Tim Stonor_Future mobility 15.015

At the Elephant & Castle, this design puts the pedestrian crossings on the pedestrian desire lines – just like those crossings in Pompei. We’ve talen pedestrians out of subways and given them their proper place at street level, next to the shopfronts. We’ve made the humble crossing an object of beauty, spending many different budgets (landscape, planting, pedestrian, cycling, highways) on one project so that each budget gets more than if it had been spent separately.

Tim Stonor_Future mobility 15.016

This new approach – a rediscovery of street sense – has been made possible through advances in science that have made us see the errors of previous ways.

Tim Stonor_Future mobility 15.017

The more we look into this the more we find of value: for example, how connected street grids create higher property values in the long run.

Tim Stonor_Future mobility 15.018

And Birmingham has pioneered this science:

Brindley Place – the bridge on the straight east-west route – a lesson from Pompeii! It may seem obvious today – because it’s a natural solution – but it wasn’t obvious to some people at the time, who wanted the bridge to be hidden round the corner because, they said, there would be a greater sense of surprise and delight! What nonsense. We had to model the alternatives and show just how powerful the straight alignment was.

We still have to do so today. Many urban designers and transport planners have been slow on the uptake. The average pedestrian gets it immediately. What does that say for our professions?

Tim Stonor_Future mobility 15.019

Now cities all over the world are recovering their street sense, creating plans for their expansion that are street-based, not mall-based.

Tim Stonor_Future mobility 15.020

In time to accommodate a new, two-wheeled chariot: the bicycle.

Tim Stonor_Future mobility 15.021

SkyCycle – a new approach to urban mobility. Creating space for over half a billion cycle journeys every year. Constructed above the tracks, allowing smooth, predictable, junction-free movement between edge and centre. Developed by a consortium of Exterior Architecture, Foster + Partners and Space Syntax.

Adding to cycling at street level – not taking it away.

Tim Stonor_Future mobility 15.022

Recently, at the Birmingham Health City workshop,a discussion about the location of healthcare facilities quickly became one focused less on hospitals and wards and more on streets and public spaces. On “free”, preventative public health rather than expensive, clinical curative care. Free in that it comes as the byproduct of good urban development. 

Tim Stonor_Future mobility 15.023

Rob Morrison’s drawing of the Birmingham Boulevard…

Tim Stonor_Future mobility 15.024

…an idea to turn the Inner Ring Road into an active street.

Tim Stonor_Future mobility 15.025

And to achieve this there are clear principles to follow:

1. Connected street layouts.

2. Mixed mode movement – not separated by tunnels and walkways.

3. Active streets ie lined with street shops not mall shops.

4. Pedestrian crossings on desire lines, not where it’s most convenient for traffic turnings.

5. Limited pedestrianisation of the most important civic areas.

A thought – yes Pompeii was a city of commerce but the houses of the city are filled with references to literature, poetry, music: the arts. 

Huge cultural value. 

After all, this is the important, aspirational aspect of living in cities that comes with the efficient mobility that results from pragmatic planning: the grid, mixed modes, active frontages on main streets and special, limited, high intensity, pedestrian only places. 

When we get this right we have time to truly enjoy ourselves in the arts and sciences. In culture. That is truly great urbanism.

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Technology by necessity

Notes for today’s talk at the NLA’s conference on “How do we build a smarter London

The London context:

– more people (growing population)
– more data (sensors everywhere)
– more sophisticated computing.

Strategic problem: how to handle it all.

Space Syntax’s experience: address the problem via “the questions of reality”.

The commercial application of Space Syntax research was catalysed by approaches from London residents in the early/mid 1980s eg Limehouse Basin, South Bank, King’s Cross: citizens groups opposing property developments they saw as being alien to London life. Today we work for those developers as well as community groups. Developers have learned to “get it”.

Data and computing create an art of the possible (sometimes the seemingly impossible too eg the wonderful Pigeon Sim). Pass the art of the possible through the filter of reality/market demand. Then it’s possible to make sense of it all – to know what to do.

The questions asked by our clients are the necessary filter.

Then evolve the technology according to new and difficult questions.

This is what we had to do to understand Trafalgar Square – we’d never studied such a complex open space before.

Technology by necessity.