Economic Category

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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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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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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Permeability & connectivity: a tale of two cities

Notes from a response to questions from the Strelka Institute.  How would you describe the situation with the permeability and connectivity of city spaces today? There is no single state of permeability and connectivity in the contemporary city. Instead we find two main types of urban layout: first, the finely grained, continuously connected street network […]

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SMEs and large businesses

We heard it said this afternoon (UK-China Sustainable Urbanisation Conference) that SMEs need large businesses to help them find work. I have a different perspective, born of twenty years’ experience in creating and running an SME, Space Syntax. First, not all small companies want to become large companies. Bigger is not always better, yet this is […]

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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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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 […]

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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 […]

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The spatial architecture of the SMART city

Download this presentation. Good morning. It is a pleasure and an honour to have been invited to give this presentation today at the Nikkei Smart City Week conference. The subject of my talk is architecture – not only the architecture of buildings but, also, the architecture of public space: the space that we move through […]

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Integrated Urbanism – Massachusetts & the United Kingdom Partnership Forum

Introduction Good afternoon Governor Patrick, visiting delegates and colleagues from the UK. As a recent resident of Massachusetts myself, it is a special pleasure to speak alongside the Governor on the subject of data and cities: and to share some remarks on the common interest in this room: the science of cities. A few words […]

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Building a Smart City modelling team

. Cities planning their future are increasingly turning to the production of Integrated Urban Models. These are tools that bring together various datasets on different asoects of urban performance, from the behaviour of people to the flows of energy, water and other utilities. The aim is to better predict the future of cities by better understanding […]

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What exactly is human scale?

Darwin City Centre Masterplan, Space Syntax For too long, architects and urban planners have pursued the myth that human scale means “local” scale. In doing so, they have downscaled space, thinking that by fragmenting and disconnecting towns and cities into small enclaves they would be creating “community”. They were wrong. Isolated and disconnected, people on inner -city […]

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Centres and Cities

I’m sure you’re right about the link between street morphology and attractiveness to business. Centres seem to do one of three things through time. They either: 1. consolidate and grow (London, Paris) 2. move (Jeddah) 3. implode (Sunderland). Oh, and some places: 4. never have a functioning centre (Skelmersdale, UK New Towns) because they were […]

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Smart City Planning & Design Principles

Smart Cities are smart in two ways. First, they harness technologies to improve the way that urban places are led and managed. Second, they create better outcomes for the people that use them. This two-pronged approach applies to all aspects of Smart Cities. When it comes to the planning and design of Smart Cities, technology […]

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Integrated Urban Modelling – Space Syntax’s approach

I’ve written before about the benefits of using science-based models in the planning and design process. I’ve raised concerns about the frequent lack of objective analysis in urban and building projects, and the risks this creates in decision-taking. Basing important decisions on gut instinct and experience, then willing on success with little more than hype, […]

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Teaching urban design – a sketch for a new approach

Sketch… Space Syntax is keen to play a role in initiatives that embed the Space Syntax approach in everyday urban practice. The watchword is “dissemination”. Our aim is to create a professional landscape that uses Space Syntax as an everyday approach to the planning, designing and general governance of places. Here are some of my thoughts […]

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HS2 – urban connectivity is key to maximising economic impact

This morning’s announcement by the UK government about the preferred route of the proposed ‘High Speed 2’ rail line north of Birmingham raises, quite rightly, the issue of economic impact and its geographic spread. Will the line draw commerce north, or make it even easier to pull southwards towards London’s greater critical mass? One way […]

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