Space Syntax: a method to measure urban space related to social, economic and cognitive factors

Akkelies van Nes, Claudia Yamu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Configurational analysis represented by the method of space syntax allows the modelling of a city that links intuition and science, and it can be used for designing and planning cities, as well as in research (Hillier 2009). Developed by Bill Hillier and his colleagues at the University College London, it has been applied in urban studies since the 1980s. This method consists of calculating configurative spatial relationships in built environments. According to Hillier, space syntax demands four elements in urban analyses. First, space syntax means operating with a concise definition of urban space. Second, it offers a family of techniques for analysing cities as networks of space are formed by the placing, grouping and orientation of buildings. Third, it involves a set of techniques for observing how these networks of space relate to functional patterns, such as movement, land use, area differentiation, migration patterns, and even social wellbeing and malaise. Fourth, based on the empirical results arising from the first two aspects, space syntax makes it possible to develop a set of theories about how urban space networks relate in general to the social, economic and cognitive factors which shape them, and how they are affected by them (Hillier et al. 2007). Recently, the space syntax toolkit has been integrated into the open source geographic information system known as QuantumGIS.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Virtual and the Real in Planning and Urban Design
Subtitle of host publicationPerspectives, Practices and Applications
EditorsClaudia Yamu, Alenka Poplin, Oswald Devisch, Gert De Roo
Place of PublicationOxon, UK / New York, USA
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis group
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-315-27024-1
ISBN (Print)978-1-138-28348-0
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameRoutledge Research in Planning and Urban Design

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