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Spatial capital and how to measure it: An outline of an analytical theory of the social performativity of urban form
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Architecture, Urban Design. (Spatial analysis and Design (SAD))
2007 (English)In: Proceedings, Sixth international space syntax symposium / [ed] Kubat, A., Özhan, E., Guney, Y., Eyuboglu, E, Istanbul: Istanbul Technical University, 2007, 5.1-5.11 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Space syntax is often presented as a configurational theory of architecture. This tends to hide the more fundamental claim that it also is an analytical theory, that is, that it is not an ideologically founded or normative theory, as so much of architectural theory, but a scientifically founded theory.

What it is proposed in this paper is an outline of exactly such an analytical theory in urbanism, that tries to incorporate into space syntax areas in urban morphology that earlier has not been directly part of space syntax analysis. If one allows for some simplification, one can say that the main variable of urban form that is analysed within space syntax is accessibility. In this paper the introduction of two other variables are suggested. On the one hand density, which is the dominating variable in geographic analysis of urban space, and therefore very influential both when it comes to the development of knowledge on urban space and when it comes to the practice of urban planning. On the other hand diversity, which, at least since Jane Jacob’s writing of  ‘The death and life of great American cities’, has been one of the most asked for qualities in cities, but one at the same time most difficult to plan.

In a study of an urban area in Stockholmmost convincing correlations have been found. First, between integration and movement, second, between accessible building density and population, and third, between accessible plots and diversity indices such as amount of age groups and amount of lines of businesses. Whereas the first is not very surprising in the context of space syntax research, and the second interesting on the most part due to its original measuring technique, the third must be considered highly surprising and an original finding.

It is proposed that these modes of measurement of the variables movement, density and diversity could be combined into a more general analytical theory of urban form, directly stemming from space syntax analysis but in important respects widening the scope of space syntax into a more general urban morphology. It is furthermore proposed that these measurements capture something that can be called spatial capital, whose use-value and exchange-value represent new and promising fields of research that also can engage adjacent scientific disciplines

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Istanbul: Istanbul Technical University, 2007. 5.1-5.11 p.
Keyword [en]
Urban form, analytical theory, social performativity. urban accessibility, urban density, urban diversity, spatial capital
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-53316ISBN: 978-975-561-304-8OAI: diva2:469880
Sixth international space syntax symposium
QC 20120117Available from: 2012-01-17 Created: 2011-12-27 Last updated: 2012-01-17Bibliographically approved

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