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 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.

Leeds, Trinity
So what Space Syntax did is they analysed the existing environment, helped us understand where consumers were coming from, the directions they were taking into the city, so that we could engage with them in the correct way. It gives you accurate information and data that stands rigour and informs your decision taking.”

“Our role as a company building on a research group is to analyse the connections between people and places and advise on where those connections can be strengthened, where the problems lie, what the best solution is to them in terms of the design of streets and public spaces that create the everyday places for human contact and then human transaction because all cities are about transaction between people: people coming together and trading, whether that’s social trade or economic trade.

When cities work well they provide the conditions under which economies and societies can flourish.”

“Our analysis can identify stationary activity potentials: which spaces have the potential to attract larger groups of people to meet there and interact in public space. We can also look at different kinds of movement in terms of which structures support city centre activities in bringing efficiently people from the residential areas in the city into the centre.”

Paul Murrain, Urban Designer
“Space Syntax explain and analyse and demonstrate the fundamental qualities of all settlements – cities, towns, villages – why they are the way they are, how they work for us and therefore how they contribute enormously to sustainability in our future.”

“Our mathematical analysis of space is translated into colours where the best connected – the most embedded – streets are coloured red and then orange and then yellow and green until we get to the least well connected places in blue.”

The City of Jeddah
“When we first got involved with the City of Jeddah, the city was faced with major questions. We identified in the hierarchy of the spatial network of the city that there was a problem with the growth to the north from the city centre, which marginalises the historic city centre. We then used our spatial model to test different strategies, spatial strategies, to improve the connectivity patterns of the city, integrating the historic centre better into this overall structure.”

Elephant & Castle
“The Elephant is an example of post-war planning in not its finest hour: buildings that turn inwards, away from the street, buildings that face aggressively out onto the street.”

Jon Abbott, Development Director, London Borough of Southwark
“The road and the subways effectively severed the communities to the north, south, east and west one from each other. The project we worked on with Space Syntax was intended to try and re-knit together the communities and the heart of the Elephant & Castle with the surrounding environment.”

“We carried out an exercise of observing. We identified the parts of it that were working well: the parts of it we should keep and then the parts of it that weren’t working well, where more attention was needed to reconnect.”

“They would point out how – and demonstrate very graphically – as a result of us doing something in one particular place, making a new connection or two/three new connections, we were also facilitating the development of the town in other places a considerable distance away.”

“Working that way – observing and analyzing before you then start designing – is, if you like, the look before you leap approach to urban planning.”

“Space Syntax fundamentally helped us to understand the way in which people use the area at the moment and then how we could promote a scheme to Transport for London which would help transform that completely and provide much better connections and public realm for the residents and the people that we want to attract into the area in the future.”

University College London
“The relationship with UCL is fundamental. I think one of our best decisions as a business has been not to let go of the university connection.”

Neil Viner, Director, Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council
“Space Syntax was founded out of the results of research that we sponsored and continues to develop on the basis of research that we continue to support.”

“We have a two-way process of co-creation going on here where we access latest research from the university and, in return, the university accesses the projects, the data, the questions that we can bring from the world of practice.”

“It allows the company to continue to develop in ways that it wouldn’t be able to do otherwise.”

“It’s an amazing and, I think, unique resource for a small company like ours to have access to a world top ten university as our research and development arm.”

“The thing that’s most significant to me about Space Syntax is the increasing number of organisations and cultures and people who are beginning to understand the significance of their work.”

“We are forever looking for new and better ways of understanding how the design and the planning of buildings and cities can influence people’s lives for the better.”

“Space Syntax is: creating successful places.”

“Space Syntax is: scientific, expert and innovative.”

“I think Space Syntax has an enormously important role in making the urban environment of the future a human one.”

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