Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Exploring ambiterritory: no-man's-land in post-war morphologies, confusing users and complicating maintenance
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Architecture.
2007 (English)In: Proceedings, 6th. International Space Syntax Symposium, 2007Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Although territorial issues are typically not part of space syntax research, territorial issues have always been part of spatial configurations. Already The social logic of space highlights the fundamental differences between the interior and (private) and the exterior (public). This paper expands this straightforward scheme by investigating a very particular territorial phenomenon in urban open space. When territories are contradictory or blurred, an ambiterritory (a no-man’s-land) is created. GIS-analyses show that ambiterritory is mostly found in post-war modernist morphologies.

A theoretical framework defines two types ambiterritory. Goods ambiterritory (Type A) are the mismatch of lived and perceived space in terms of the divergence of private and public territorialities defined by intervisibility and use. Territorial human actions are translated into material actants in space and create disturbed public ambiterritory (A1) and disturbed private ambiterritory (A2). Legal ambiterritory (Type B) appears when use value and property owner do not match. This creates public pseudo-property (B1) and private pseudo-property (B2).

A GIS-study was applied to the framework in ten city districts in Stockholm: three urban grid areas, one postmodern area, three villa areas, and three post-war modernist areas. The results are clear and unambiguous. Post war modernist areas and in-fills create extensive ambiterritory. In the modernist areas, 4-8% of open space (A1), 7-12% of public property (B1), or 14-15% of private property is lost to ambiterritory. These findings where confirmed by interviews with experienced professionals in public open space management. Ambiterritories are hence used by no one, left by management, creating an uncertain void that makes it costly for society.

The framework presented in this paper must be considered as an initial theoretical sketch, far from being complete. There are still many factors left out and uncorrelated. A fundamental difficulty is the limitations in getting quantitative empirical data. Hypotheses and preliminary findings nonetheless indicate that what has been called ambiterritoriality ought to be something worth further investigation and that GIS can be a very useful tool. There is also a need for problematizing the debate on public space and margins. Take for example the concepts so commonly used in urban research and urban design practice “semi private” and “semi public”, which clearly lack distinction. Space syntaxtheory has great potential to put territoriality into new light.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Territoriality, Ambiterritory, Public space, Private property, Urban design, Urban management
National Category
Architectural Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-24494OAI: diva2:351046
QC 20100913Available from: 2010-09-13 Created: 2010-09-13 Last updated: 2010-09-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Compact sprawl: Exploring public open space and contradictions in urban density
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Compact sprawl: Exploring public open space and contradictions in urban density
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

Twentieth century urbanization has left a tremendous footprint on the globe. It is generally speaking a spread out fragmented suburban and exurban landscape continuously growing according to what has been called sprawl-like development, increasing energy and automobile dependency, challenging urban sustainability. Recently urban growth has also turned inwards because of economic and political change. Thus one of the main challenges for future urban design will be to ‘compact sprawl’. This thesis, set in the field of urban morphology, explores the spatial conditions for suburban densification by looking at administrative and user-related measures of density, public open space, and pedestrian accessibility. If we consider useful open space, it would not decrease density, but rather increase spatial compactness. So would also a well-connected street network, if we consider accessibility as part of density. The thesis’ first four papers explore new measures that contradict ordinary notions of density and the last three papers examine densification scenarios on different urban scales in collaboration with urban planners in practice.

The paper Place syntax explores a possibility to combine the space syntax description of cognitive accessibility, axial line distance, with place attraction into a combined attraction-accessibility analysis model. Empirical investigation shows that place syntax analysis captures pedestrian movement and can be used for new types of location density analyses.

Sociotope mapping describes the theoretical body of a new urban planning tool called the “sociotope map” (sociotopkarta) developed in Stockholm planning practice. The map emphasizes that the same public open space can have different direct use values for different people and thereby assesses qualitative open space area.

Exploring Ambiterritory investigates the notion of (sub)urban no-man’s-land. Densification most often means increased open space use, which naturally leads to an increase of potential conflicting territorial interests. However, the reduction of vague user space and unclear legal territories by densification can increase the size of useful open space.

More green space in a denser city investigates whether little public green space means low accessibility. User questionnaires and GIS-analyses in ten city districts in Stockholm correlate and show that it is possible to have more accessible green space in a denser city.

Strategic exurban landscape densification investigates different municipal location strategies and development rates in the municipality of Kungälv. Results show that location strategies create the biggest landscape impact and not development rates.

Greening metropolitan growth analyzes the density landscape in Stockholm county region and finds some correlations with health and socioeconomic variables. Growth scenarios in the regional plan for 2030 show decreasing compactness and spaciousness in inner suburbia.

Compact sprawl experiments use the measures developed in the former papers on four densification scenarios in two suburbs in Stockholm. The results show how it is possible to efficiently compact modernist sprawl, particularly the inner suburbs.

It is likely that we will be more dependent on walking, bicycling, and public transportation in the future. Street networks and public open spaces are then key issues today just as they were at the end of the nineteenthcentury, creating compact, sustainable, liveable, equitable, and more competitive cities. In fact, many compact urban cores such as in Stockholm, London, and Manhattan have through the 20th century persistently stood up to the competition against more sprawling cities. The thesis shows that compacting inner suburbia seems to be the new frontier many cities and planners are facing. In fact, this is a vast unexplored field that needs further attention in urban studies and urban morphology in particular.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH, 2008. 79 p.
Trita-ARK. Akademisk avhandling, ISSN 1402-7461 ; 2008:6
Spatial morphology, Urban design, Public open space, Urban density, Landscape planning
National Category
Architectural Engineering
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9193 (URN)978-91-7415-119-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-10-28, Sal F3, Lindstedsvägen 26, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Stadsform och hållbar utveckling
QC 20100913Available from: 2008-10-15 Created: 2008-10-02 Last updated: 2012-03-12Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

6th. International Space Syntax Symposium

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Ståhle, Alexander
By organisation
Architectural Engineering

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Total: 157 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link