Spatial layout Category

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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Move, interact, transact – the human dimension of Smart Cities

http://youtu.be/U63hMTIQW8I Speaking at the invitation of the organisers of the British Business Summit, Istanbul, Turkey.

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UK Spatial Infrastructure Model

This is a model of the spatial infrastructure of Great Britain (and will soon include Northern Ireland to become a model of the United Kingdom). It allows us to zoom in and out on cities, towns and villages as well as the connections between them. It also lets us understand the hierarchy of connections at […]

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SkyCycle – elevated but not remote

The comparison between SkyCycle – a proposal to create a network of strategic cycling routes above London’s radial railway lines – and the City of London’s much maligned network of (unbuilt or demolished) upper level walkways is one worthy of attention. 1.         The City of London “Pedways” often paralleled routes at street level. When they […]

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A definition of “Smart” – screens, signs and shop windows

“Smart” is too often, too narrowly defined in terms of the benefits of digital technology. Of course, digital technology can help cities to be smarter. But being smart means much more than that. My own preference is to define “smart” by focusing on three factors: 1. people 2. the information that people receive 3. the […]

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Spatial Planning and the Future of Cities

How might cities be planned in the future? This is not only a question of how they might look but also, and more importantly, about how they might be laid out as patterns of buildings and spatial connections. Laying out a city means answering two key questions: “what goes where?” and the “how does it all connect together?” […]

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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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The importance of grids

The natural shape of the network is a grid, not a tree. Trees focus on singular points – grids share the burden. The natural shape of the city is a grid, not a tree. The evidence of history tells us as much. Rectilinear grids pervade the historic record – in the Middle East, Latin America, East […]

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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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Smart cities – why, what, how, how?

Some advice for people promoting a Smart City approach. Prepare your answers to the following questions: 1.      Why do we need “smart” and do we even need cities any more? First, provide a clear and simple explanation of why cities are important ie what they do that is special: they arrange physical buildings within spatial […]

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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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Are streets the answer – yes, but…

Yesterday’s launch by think tank Policy Exchange of a report calling for the removal of inner-city high rise estates and their replacement with streets is a welcome contribution to discussions about the design of future cities. The report, authored by Create Streets, concludes that high rise estates are unsafe, antisocial and economically substandard. By proposing […]

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Old Street – putting the genie back in the bottle?

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 […]

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Smart Cities World Expo – speaking notes

Spatial layout influences Human behaviour: 1. Movement 2. Awareness 3. Interaction 4. Transaction. Spatial layout benefits 1. Economy – productivity – innovation – building & campus performance 2. Health – active travel – access to healthcare – building & campus performance 3. Social cohesion – the spatial network creates the social network 4. Safety – property theft – personal attack […]

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Going to “work” is actually going to “interact”

Why is people movement important in buildings? In a knowledge economy, the key role of buildings is the production and dissemination of new knowledge to drive innovation. Awareness leads to interaction leads to transaction. Spatial layout works with management style to create a “spatial culture”. Corner offices v corridors People should sit based on need […]

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A short film about Space Syntax

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 […]

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This town is big enough for the both of us

Independent newspaper, UK I am standing at the junction of two of the busiest streets in central London – High Holborn and Shaftesbury Avenue. In one direction is Centre Point and the start of Oxford Street; in another Leicester Square; to the south-east is Covent Garden; behind me is Bloomsbury and the giant hulk of […]

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