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.
On Tuesday afternoon, 3rd September, I led a walking tour of built projects by Space Syntax.
Royal Festval Hall
One New Change
New Bloomberg Headquarters (under construction)
30 St Mary Axe
Heron Plaza (under construction)
Liverpool Street Station retail concourse
Broadgate, Exchange Square
Barbican Arts Centre Continue reading Space Syntax City Projects Walk
Old Street Roundabout is a heady intersection of urban movement flows: on foot, on cycles and in vehicles, including the Tube. But it is currently a mess, out of place within the surrounding network of generally convivial streets. In order to appreciate the severely negative condition of the place you only have to walk to Old Street Roundabout from a few hundred metres in any direction to witness the sudden, dramatic degradation of public space, the increase in traffic speeds and the disappearance of pedestrians into subways.
Yet, as a nexus of movement, the Old Street junction has the urban design foundations – the DNA of urbanism – to be a great public space, serving the local area as well as acting as a global emblem of Tech City. Not a valley, glen or vale but a truly urban object: a forum, a plaza, a piazza, a market place a square: Old Street Square. Or even, in keeping with the open source/open access aspirations of many in the technology community: Old Street Commons. For this to happen, the public realm of the Old Street junction needs to be overhauled. Radically. Continue reading Old Street – putting the genie back in the bottle?
Tim Stonor, Managing Director, Space Syntax
“The population of the world is increasing and, as it increases, more and more of us are living in cities. As cities have grown in the 20th century they have often grown to disconnect people.
Space Syntax has discovered that many of these problems in cities – disconnection, lack of contact between people, lack of access to jobs – come down to the way in which the city is planned as a layout of space.”
Ronan Faherty, Commercial Director, Land Securities
“As a developer, the most important thing for us is understanding the consumer and anything that assesses the consumer and helps us understand them provides real value. When you’re putting down a new property into an existing space we want to understand where consumers are coming from and then how they should engage with the property: where we should put escalation and movement and flows. Continue reading A short film about Space Syntax
Groups of rioters:
1. Motivators – of rioting
2. Aggressors – towards police
3. Late night shoppers
Riots gave people unusual opportunities for power and control. Abnormal empowerment.
David Lammy MP
The risks of social & economic liberalism. Hyper individualism. The selfishness of greed. Poverty, choice, ethics, morality & vulnerability.
A policy idea for London
TS: reconnect London at its grass routes by focusing on disconnected housing estates – spatial exclusion. Work with local communities to educate those who have been given authority to direct their influence towards the right places. Not only the high streets but the catchments of the high streets: the housing estates.
Article 25 is a charity that designs, builds, and manages projects to provide better shelter wherever there is disaster, poverty, or need. Its latest event “10 X 10” is an auction of 100 architects’ drawings of the City of London.
My drawing “On London Wall” is an attempt to capture the kinetic character of everyday human activity.