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Multivariable measures of plot systems: describing the potential link between urban diversity and spatial form based on the spatial capacity concept.

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Multivariable measures of plot systems: describing the potential link between urban diversity and spatial form based on the spatial capacity concept.

Abstract and Figures

Urban diversity is a widely recognized concept used to describe vitality in cities and is often associated with cities that perform successfully both from an economic and social perspective. The concept of urban diversity was introduced to the broader public by Jane Jacobs, later inherited by the New Urbanism movement and has been extensively used in contemporary urban discourse. While theoretical definitions of urban diversity are manifold, measures that allow for a description of a more rigorous kind are less developed (Talen, 2006, 2008). The aim of this paper is to identify fundamental variables of spatial form that could potentially contribute to urban diversity and socio-economic performativity. In particular, the paper investigates the concept of spatial capacity, that is, the impact of plot systems (i.e. land division) on urban diversity (Marcus, 2000, 2010; Sayyar & Marcus, 2013) While the link to urban diversity is presented here as an essential starting point, the aim of this paper is to develop purely morphological measures of plot systems and to test if these measures can identify the difference among particular urban contexts. The study of the direct relation between spatial form and socio-economic performance is beyond the scope of this paper and will be presented in forthcoming studies. The first part of the paper presents a theoretical framework to establish the fundamental morphological parameters of plot systems that can potentially contribute to urban diversity. The second part of the paper describes an empirical study of selected areas in Stockholm, Sweden, where essential morphological aspects of plot systems are explored and measured, using the proposed parameters of the plot systems. Importantly, the plot systems are measured here in geometric terms, capturing size, openness and compactness of plots, and also in configurational terms through accessible number and diversity of plots using the Place Syntax Tool (Ståhle, 2008). The paper is set within the framework of a bigger project aimed at developing and testing sound methodologies for measuring central variables of spatial form: density, diversity and distance (Berghauser Pont et al. 2017; Berghauser Pont & Marcus, 2015; Marcus & Berghauser Pont, 2015).
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Proceedings of the 11th Space Syntax Symposium
47.1
MULTIVARIABLE MEASURES OF PLOT SYSTEMS:
Describing the potential link between urban diversity and spatial form based on the spatial capacity concept.
#47
MULTIVARIABLE MEASURES OF PLOT SYSTEMS:
Describing the potential link between urban diversity and spatial form based on
the spatial capacity concept.
EVGENIYA BOBKOVA
Chalmers University of Technology
evgeniya.bobkova@chalmers.se
LARS MARCUS
Chalmers University of Technology
lars.marcus@chalmers.se
META BERGHAUSER PONT
Chalmers University of Technology
meta.berghauserpont@chalmers.se
ABSTRACT
Urban diversity is a widely recognized concept used to describe vitality in cities and is often
associated with cities that perform successfully both from an economic and social perspective.
The concept of urban diversity was introduced to the broader public by Jane Jacobs, later
inherited by the New Urbanism movement and has been extensively used in contemporary
urban discourse. While theoretical denitions of urban diversity are manifold, measures that
allow for a description of a more rigorous kind are less developed (Talen, 2006, 2008).
The aim of this paper is to identify fundamental variables of spatial form that could potentially
contribute to urban diversity and socio-economic performativity. In particular, the paper
investigates the concept of spatial capacity, that is, the impact of plot systems (i.e. land division)
on urban diversity (Marcus, 2000, 2010; Sayyar & Marcus, 2013)
While the link to urban diversity is presented here as an essential starting point, the aim of
this paper is to develop purely morphological measures of plot systems and to test if these
measures can identify the dierence among particular urban contexts. The study of the direct
relation between spatial form and socio-economic performance is beyond the scope of this
paper and will be presented in forthcoming studies.
The rst part of the paper presents a theoretical framework to establish the fundamental
morphological parameters of plot systems that can potentially contribute to urban diversity.
The second part of the paper describes an empirical study of selected areas in Stockholm,
Sweden, where essential morphological aspects of plot systems are explored and measured,
using the proposed parameters of the plot systems.
Importantly, the plot systems are measured here in geometric terms, capturing size, openness
and compactness of plots, and also in congurational terms through accessible number and
diversity of plots using the Place Syntax Tool (Ståhle, 2008).
The paper is set within the framework of a bigger project aimed at developing and testing
sound methodologies for measuring central variables of spatial form: density, diversity and
distance (Berghauser Pont et al. 2017; Berghauser Pont & Marcus, 2015; Marcus & Berghauser
Pont, 2015).
Proceedings of the 11th Space Syntax Symposium
47.2
MULTIVARIABLE MEASURES OF PLOT SYSTEMS:
Describing the potential link between urban diversity and spatial form based on the spatial capacity concept.
KEYWORDS
Urban diversity, plot systems, spatial capacity, area-based measures, location-based measures.
1. INTRODUCTION: THE FORGOTTEN VARIABLE OF DIVERSITY
Urban diversity is a widely recognized concept used to describe vitality in cities and is often
associated with cities that perform successfully both from economic and social perspectives.
However, it is not always clear whether diversity in this context refers to diversity in the
spatial form of cities or diversity in socio-economic processes. This paper will briey review
various theories about urban diversity and then address how certain properties and attributes
of spatial form may create and support socio-economic diversity. Based on the hypothesis
that conguration of plot systems can potentially have an impact on urban diversity, several
measures of spatial form will be proposed and demonstrated that can potentially grasp the
dierences among particular urban contexts and contribute to establishing a rmer link
between spatial form and socio-economic performance.
The morphological measures discussed here are set within the framework of an international
project called SMoL1 (Berghauser Pont et al. 2017) which aims to develop and test sound
methodologies for measuring spatial urban form, focusing on the variables of density, diversity
and distance that correspond to fundamental elements of urban space: buildings, plots and
streets. (Berghauser Pont & Marcus, 2015; Marcus & Berghauser Pont, 2015) (Figure 1). Theory
and techniques supporting such measurements related to distance and density are well
developed and found rst in Space Syntax (Hillier 1996), and second in Space Matrix (Berghauser
Pont & Haupt, 2010). However, this is not the case with diversity. The point of departure is earlier
research focused on the spatial capacity concept, arguing that land division into plots typically
inuences the number of owners of space within an area, which in extension also inuences
the number of owner strategies, which ultimately is likely to inuence the diversity of land uses
within an urban area (Marcus, 2000; 2010).Urban diversity is discussed here as an essential
theoretical basis for the proposed morphological measures of plot systems, which is the aim
of this particular paper. Further, this paper shows the test results using these measures and
discusses whether they can identify dierences among particular urban contexts. The relation
between plot systems and socio-economic diversity is a next step of a more extensive study and
will be explored in forthcoming papers.
1 Spatial Morphology Lab (SMoL) is a three year project nanced by Chalmers foundation, led by Lars Marcus and
Meta Berghauser Pont
Figure 1 - Three variables of urban form, corresponding to three basic elements
of urban space and that can be measured using spacematrix, Space syntax or the
concept of Spatial capacity. (Marcus & Berghauser Pont, 2015)
Proceedings of the 11th Space Syntax Symposium
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MULTIVARIABLE MEASURES OF PLOT SYSTEMS:
Describing the potential link between urban diversity and spatial form based on the spatial capacity concept.
The rst part of this paper presents a brief overview of urban diversity theories and a theoretical
framework that allows for the establishment of the fundamental morphological parameters
of plot systems that can potentially contribute to urban diversity. The second part describes
an empirical study of selected areas in Stockholm, Sweden, where essential aspects of the
plot systems are explored and measured with the proposed parameters. The concluding part
summarises the results of empirical study of the proposed measures and lays the ground for
future research: developing plot systems typologies and co-relating plot system congurations
with socio-economic data in order to arrive to a more substantial theory about relation between
spatial form and urban diversity.
2. THE CONCEPT OF URBAN DIVERSITY: CURRENT DESCRIPTIONS
The importance of a closer look at the variable of diversity in urbanism is demonstrated by
the inconsistent use of denitions found within the literature. The idea of urban diversity was
rst introduced to the general public by Jane Jacobs (1961), who primarily looked at it from an
economic point of view. It was extensively built on by the New Urbanism movement (Krier, 1984;
Duany, Speck, & Lydon, 2010; Calthorpe & Van der Ryn, 1986), though rather in terms of how
to create urban quality and attractiveness. Emily Talen (2006; 2008) presents an academic and
thorough review of aspects of urban diversity, covering themes such as place vitality, economic
health, social equity, and sustainability, and discusses alternative measures of diversity.
Although the denitions of urban diversity in the literature are manifold, we repeatedly nd
them mixing morphological dimensions of diversity with socio-economic dimensions, where
morphological dimensions often refer to small blocks and a mix of housing types, while socio-
economic dimensions contain such parameters as a mix of uses/activities, and social/ethnical
mix.
Hence, while fully recognizing that socio-economic dimensions such as mixed use may in
themselves further generate urban diversity, it is essential, from the point of view of urban
design, to understand how spatial form may inuence and even generate urban diversity. We
propose here that based on the concept of spatial capacity, that is, the division of land into
dierent plots, we can bridge spatial form and socio-economic diversity. The ability of any
spatial form to accommodate various uses over time, will here be understood as closely related
to urban diversity as it enables diversity over time.
3. THE CONCEPT OF SPATIAL CAPACITY: THE ABILITY OF SPATIAL ARTEFACTS TO
CARRY CATEGORICAL DIFFERENCE
The concept of spatial capacity, introduced by Marcus (Marcus, 2000, 2010; Sayyar & Marcus,
2013) describes the impact of land division, i.e., plot systems, on urban diversity. It proposes
that the conguration of plot systems has a direct impact on the potential to host diverse owner
strategies, and, consequently, uses (Figure 2). While here discussed on the urban level, we may
see the principle at work in any artefact aimed at storing people, things or functions, whether
they be cities, buildings or cupboards. The more such artefacts are divided into separate spaces,
the more they create the opportunity to sort people, things or functions into a greater number
of categories. As for any spatial form, this is not a deterministic relation but a conditional
relation; we may not choose to sort people, things and functions according to this spatial form,
but the conditions to do so are there.
Proceedings of the 11th Space Syntax Symposium
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MULTIVARIABLE MEASURES OF PLOT SYSTEMS:
Describing the potential link between urban diversity and spatial form based on the spatial capacity concept.
Related to this is the idea that a greater variety in size of plots can also have an impact on
the degree of categorical diversity, due to dierences in size of the things or functions. For
example, in a vibrant central neighbourhood we usually nd a diversity of activities that also
vary in scale: a small grocery shop, an oce building with middle-size companies and even an
opera house. The same goes for a cupboard: a small drawer may be sucient for the category
socks, but a large one is needed for the category shoes, while small drawers would exclude
certain categories, thus restraining diversity.
4. THE AMBIGUOUS CHARACTER OF PLOT SYSTEMS: STRADDLING INSTITUTIONAL
AND SPATIAL SYSTEMS
The importance of the plot (also often referred to as ‘property’, ‘parcel’ or ‘lot’) as a fundamental
element of urban form is well recognized within the eld of urban morphology (Moudon, 1994;
1997; Whitehead, 2001). Conzen (1960) described the plot (not the block) as the basic element
in the pattern of land division that works as the organizational grid in his ontology of urban
form (Moudon, 1994). He also reected on the dual character of the plot, being both a physical
and a legal entity (Kropf, 1997). Furthemore, he introduced the concept of ‘burgage cycle’,
that is the evolution over time of the built space bound by the spatial and legal framework
of the plot – a concept directly related to the idea of adaptivity of urban form over time. The
modication of plot and block patterns over time has been extensively studied by Siksna (1998)
and Vialard (2012). According to Vialard (2012): there are certain block sizes that are more
resilient to land use modications over time than others. Smaller blocks within regular grids
can better absorb changes, but at the same time, their geometric parameters do not allow for
certain types of buildings and land uses because of their particular shape and size. Large-scale
blocks are capable of accommodating a great variety of dierent uses, but their fragmentation
or amalgamation caused by land use change can have a negative eect on the street network,
because the size and complex shape often leads to the formation of dead-ends, incisions and
blocks within the block (Vialard, 2012). Though Siksna and Vialard mainly discuss blocks, the
hypothesis put forward here is that these observations may be relevant also on the scale of
plots.
French typomorphologists also recognize the plot as one of the primary elements of urban
space, along with buildings and streets (Moudon, 1994). Panerai et al. (2004) emphasize that
the urban block should not be understood as a separate architectural element, but as a group of
interdependent building plots. They stress the importance of a dialectical relationship between
the plot and the street network (Panerai et al., 2004). The French school of urban morphology
also discusses the role plot systems play in providing spatial and legal conditions for the
evolution of built space over time (Panerai et al., 2004).
While the idea of the plot is ubiquitous in studies on urban form, its denition is often ambiguous;
blending its dierent meanings of legal unit of control, land use unit and physical entity (Kropf,
1997). What is more, dierent countries have dierent property registrations, for example, in
the United Kingdom no cadastral system exists and legal rights of use are organised instead
in a system of freehold and leasehold properties. So, while recognizing the importance of the
Figure 2 - Illustrative diagram of the concept of Spatial capacity.
Proceedings of the 11th Space Syntax Symposium
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MULTIVARIABLE MEASURES OF PLOT SYSTEMS:
Describing the potential link between urban diversity and spatial form based on the spatial capacity concept.
plot as the entity that provides a legal and spatial framework for action, it is necessary to dene
what the essential properties of a plot are that make it such an important element of urban
form. A more general denition of a plot would be useful so that it could be applied to any
urban context, taking into account fundamental properties of the notion of plots, while dealing
with local dierences separately.
Overall, we can dene three basic aspects of plots. First, as a basic unit of control, the plot
provides a fundamental link between spatial and non-spatial medium (Marcus, 2000; Kropf,
1997). Second, because a plot binds a building to a movement network, it serves as a connection
between built space and space of movement (Panerai et al., 2004). Third, the plot provides the
framework for building evolution over time (Conzen, 1960; Panerai et al., 2004).
All the above aspects are usually related to the idea of the plot as a private or privately owned
space, corresponding to the common division of urban space into private or public, where plots,
generally speaking, are private spaces, used for stationary uses supported by buildings, while the
surrounding space, constituting the street network, is public, and primarily used for movement
(Marcus, 2000). In reality it is not always that clear cut. For example, built plots can also be
publicly owned and used for public facilities. Further, streets and what we perceive as public
spaces are not necessarily publicly owned: they can be simultaneously privately owned and for
public use. There are also cases where built plots can be transformed into public spaces as well
as the other way around. Hence, dividing urban space into public and private and referring the
latter to the system of plots is not always accurate.
The ontology of urban form used in this paper is based on the concept of generic function as
introduced by Hillier (1996), which divides urban space into a continuous and publicly accessible
space of streets and squares, primarily used for the generic function of movement on the urban
scale, whether it be by car, public transport or on foot , and a discontinuous space constituted
of blocks divided into plots that generally but not always are inaccessible to the public and
primarily used for the generic function of long term occupation (Marcus, 2000).
5. METHODOLOGY FOR MEASURING PLOT SYSTEMS
5.1 CRITICAL ASPECTS OF PLOTS MEASURED THROUGH AREA-BASED AND LOCATION-BASED
MEASURES
We will now discuss how to measure the plot systems as discussed in the prior sections, aiming
for a method that eectively captures their morphological aspects that potentially can be
related to socio-economic diversity. The aim is to develop a method both eective and tting
the adage of Occam’s razor: “Whenever something can be described in more fundamental
terms, it should be done so” (Berghauser Pont & Haupt, 2010, p. 99). These measures need to
capture the essential qualities of the plot systems as listed above: the potential to carry diverse
owner strategies, the connection to movement space, and the framework for building evolution
over time (Figure 3). We will proceed by testing potential measures one by one.
Figure 3 - Essential aspects of plot systems and related measures.
Proceedings of the 11th Space Syntax Symposium
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MULTIVARIABLE MEASURES OF PLOT SYSTEMS:
Describing the potential link between urban diversity and spatial form based on the spatial capacity concept.
Firstly, related to the ability to carry dierence, we will measure the number of plots and their
diversity in terms of sizes. Secondly, related to the ability to connect buildings and the street
network, the degree of openness of each plot will be measured, where the notion of plot frontage
is essential, referred to as “plot or block face” by Vialard (2012), that is, the portion of the plot
boundary where transition from the plot to the street network takes place (Vialard, 2012). This is
measured as the relationship between plot frontage and total plot perimeter. Thirdly, based on
previous ndings of Siksna (1998) and Vialard (2012), it is suggested that the ability of the urban
fabric to adapt to land use changes is related to the degree that plots are able to amalgamate
into bigger plots or to divide into smaller ones. We assume that the degree of regularity of the
plot is of importance for this adaptivity which we propose to measure as plot compactness.
These measures will be applied in two conceptually dierent ways: rst, as area-based
measures and second, as location-based measures (Ståhle, 2008) (Figure 4). Applying area-
based measures, plots are measured geometrically in relation to each other, and each plot only
stores information about its own parameters. Applying location-based measures is sensitive to
the surrounding context and can be described as more life-like, since plots here are measured
closer to how they may be perceived by moving agents; and each plot is here described by
contextual information taken from surrounding spaces. Hence, this measurement does not
concern only a particular geographical unit, such as a plot or a block, but the area accessible
within a certain radius from a particular geographic unit1. Location-based measures are here
measured as accessibility through the street network, using the Place Syntax Tool2.
Applying area-based measures, we measure and classify plot sizes, degree of plot openness to
public space and the degree of plot compactness. Plot sizes are dened with GIS using the data
classication method “geometric interval” which allows for a more ne-grain dierentiation of
plot sizes within urbanised areas. The degree of openness is measured as the ratio of total plot
frontage divided by the total plot perimeter. The degree of plot compactness is calculated as
the ratio of plot area divided by the area of minimum rectangular bounding of each plot. Plots
with shapes closest to rectangles are regarded as the most compact (Figure 5).
1 For density, this mode of measurement has been extensively discussed (Berghause Pont & Marcus, 2014).
2 PST is a plugin application for the desktop software Mapinfo that combines space syntax with regular accessibility
analysis in one tool.
Figure 4 - Number of plots as measured per blocks (on the left) or within 500m walking distance radius reach (on the
right) Diagram illustrates the principal dierence between area-based and location-based measures.
Proceedings of the 11th Space Syntax Symposium
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MULTIVARIABLE MEASURES OF PLOT SYSTEMS:
Describing the potential link between urban diversity and spatial form based on the spatial capacity concept.
Figure 5 - Area-based measures of plot size, openness and compactness. Size categories are dened using
natural breaks and geometric interval classication methods. Openness index rises to 1 when a plot does not
have any neighbouring plots and falls to zero when a plot does not have any connection to movement space.
For the compactness, index 1 shows the highest degree of compactness.
Applying location-based measures, we measure the accessible number of plots and the
accessible diversity of plots meaning how dierent are plots in terms of sizes within certain
reach. In order to calculate accessible diversity, plots are classied into several categories by
size, after which accessibility to each category within 500m reach is measured. Finally, accessible
diversity is calculated using the inverted Simpson Diversity Index1 (Figure 6).
1 In the Simpson Diversity Index the bigger the value of D, the lower the diversity. To make it more intuitive the
value of D is subtracted from 1, so the values cloest to 1 mean higher diversity.
Figure 6 - Location-based measures of plots accessibility (on the left) and accessible
plots diversity (on the right).
Proceedings of the 11th Space Syntax Symposium
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MULTIVARIABLE MEASURES OF PLOT SYSTEMS:
Describing the potential link between urban diversity and spatial form based on the spatial capacity concept.
5.2 DESCRIPTION OF CASES
In this paper, the proposed measures of spatial form are not related to socio-economic data, but
a comparison is made between regularities in the plot systems captured by our new measures
with known facts and characteristics of dierent urban areas. The investigation is made on the
scale of the entire city of Stockholm, but a set of smaller areas with distinct morphological and
socio-economic characteristics is chosen for comparison. These are: Östermalm, representing
the city centre close to the CBD (case 1), Stureby, suburban single-family housing area (case 2),
Årsta, a modernist multi-family housing area (case 3) and Slakthusområdet, a small-industry
area (case 4) (see Figure 7).
The data on the plot systems used in the analysis is received from the Swedish Land Registry
(www.lantmateriet.se). Because land plots from the Land Registry cover all types of land,
including streets and water, the particular plot types have been extracted based on Bill Hillier’s
concept of generic function (1996), where we dened the plot systems of interest to be ‘land
used for long term stationary functions’ (according to the discussion above).
The comparative investigation between our new proposed measures in the chosen cases of
distinct morphological and socio-economic character will begin with area-based measures and
proceed to location-based measures.
Figure 7 - Map of a section of Stockholm showing accessibility to plots within 500m walking
distance with the case studies marked. Data source: Swedish Land Registry.
Proceedings of the 11th Space Syntax Symposium
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MULTIVARIABLE MEASURES OF PLOT SYSTEMS:
Describing the potential link between urban diversity and spatial form based on the spatial capacity concept.
6. DEMONSTRATION OF PLOT SYSTEMS MEASURES BASED ON COMPARATIVE CASE
STUDIES
6.1 AREA-BASED MEASURES
Geometrical properties of the plots are analysed by classifying them into plot sizes, plot
openness and plot compactness (see gure 8).
Simple comparison of plot sizes gives an overview of the principal dierences between the four
areas. The grain of the plot systems in Östermalm (case 1) is generally very ne but increases
gradually towards the CBD to the South-West, where more “global” functions are located,
reecting the common trend in such areas for larger properties and land owners. Stureby (case
2) has a ne-grained pattern similar to Östermalm but its character is more isotropic. Årsta (case
3) and Slakthusområdet (case 4) show a great variety of sizes. In both cases groups of smaller
plots are surrounded by large chunks of land creating ‘islands’ of smaller plots segregated from
their surroundings, which contrasts with Östermalm, which demonstrated a gradual change in
plot size from smaller to bigger. This similarity in plot sizes and their conguration in areas of
very dierent land-uses is interesting to note.
Figure 8 - Area-based measures of plot systems in the four cases. Plot sizes (a),
plot openness (b) and plot compactness (c).
Proceedings of the 11th Space Syntax Symposium
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MULTIVARIABLE MEASURES OF PLOT SYSTEMS:
Describing the potential link between urban diversity and spatial form based on the spatial capacity concept.
The parameter plot openness is measured as the ratio between total length of street frontage
of the plot and total perimeter of the plot. When a plot is located within another plot without
direct connection to movement space, openness index falls to zero, and when a plot does not
have any neighbouring plots, its openness index rises to 1. Groups of plots located next to each
other and connected to movement space then have various average openness values. It is
important to note that these indices are more applicable to plots in urbanised areas, and also
more intelligible when analysed together with plot size. Stureby (case 2) has average ratios of
this kind that gravitate towards 0,1, from which we can conclude that they have a relatively
small proportion of street frontage. Östermalm (case 1) exhibits average values of openness
between 0,5-0,6, which indicates a higher proportion of street frontage. Again, both Årsta
and Slakthusområdet (case 3 and 4) demonstrate a high degree of plot openness, which may
indicate a negative eect on the constitution of public space. A high degree of plot openness (
close to 1,0) is reasonable when it concerns publicly accessible spaces, such as parks, but when
such spaces are over-represented (typically in modernist areas) or fenced o (industries), their
spatial openness may be described as overused, as in case 3, or underused, as in case 4.
In regard of plot compactness, we can clearly see that Östermalm, built following an orthogonal
grid, is demonstrating the highest values of plot compactness. This means that this type of plot,
according to the author’s hypothesis, in principle has the potential to be divided or merged
to accommodate land use of dierent scales. Slakthusområdet, like many industrial areas, is
delineated according to principles of broad functionality and the need of adaption, and also
demonstrates a high degree of compactness. Stureby has average values in plot compactness,
which can be explained both by the topography of the area, being rather hilly, and the “romantic”
intentions of the architect behind the plan. Årsta, lastly, with the greatest variety in plot size,
demonstrates the least compact plots grouped into highly complex patterns, which again may
reect the rather hilly landscape, but possibly also a low concern for the exibility of the plot
systems in the modernist era, driven by large public projects. However, the latter is something
that would need further study.
From the rst observations, through the combination of these parameters, a rich and
informative description of the areas can be gathered, where certain things are as expected but
others are surprising. For instance, while plots in Stureby and Östermalm are relatively similar
in size, perhaps surprising and informative in itself, the latter are more compact and have
greater openness, which suggests greater exibility in terms of land use change and higher
potential for interaction with public space, important for instance for retail. In Slakthusområdet
and Årsta, on the other hand, it is surprising and informative that these are similar in the sense
that both demonstrate a high variety of sizes and a high degree of openness; though plots in
Slakthusområdet are more compact, which may allow for a greater exibility.
In summary, it seems that although the measures presented above might be dicult to interpret
when analysed separately, there is a potential for formulating multi-variable geometrical
measures that enable a full description of the qualities of the plots. It is suggested that, similar
to the multi-variable measures used in the spacematrix tool, developed for built density
(Berghauser Pont & Haupt, Spacematrix: Space, Density, and Urban form, 2010), informative
and revealing descriptions of plot systems can be arrived at.
6.2 LOCATION-BASED MEASURES
While the area-based measures of plot systems explored above capture the individual properties
of each plot, location-based measures can describe plot systems in a more comprehensive
manner. We here measure accessibility to plots, or, more precisely, how many plots can be
reached within a certain radius (in this case 500m walking distance), and accessibility to diversity
of plots, or, more precisely, how dierent in terms of size the plots are, again accessible within
500m walking distance (gure 9). It is important to note that the accessibility of plot systems
of this kind, captures something dierent from, for instance, accessible built up area (i.e.
accessible footprints). In order to make this clear, the accessible built-up area is shown along
with the maps representing the accessible plots and accessible diversity of plots.
Proceedings of the 11th Space Syntax Symposium
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MULTIVARIABLE MEASURES OF PLOT SYSTEMS:
Describing the potential link between urban diversity and spatial form based on the spatial capacity concept.
As seen from the overall map of accessible plots (gure 7), Östermalm and Stureby have the
highest levels of accessible plots, where in the latter area this is equally distributed, while in
Östermalm has a more hierarchical character emphasizing the centre. Slakthusområdet,
although it generally has bigger plots, demonstrates a medium value in plot accessibility, which
may be due to its rather regular grid structure which increases accessibility. Årsta, although it has
plots similar in size to Slakthusområdet, demonstrates the lowest degree of accessibility. Based
on the hypothesis that higher accessibility to plots may support higher economic diversity,
we may tentatively conclude that this seems to be supported by the diverse central area of
Östermalm, but not by the suburban single-family area of Stureby. It appears that something
more is needed for socio-economic diversity than accessibility to plots. Interestingly, the great
land use diversity of the industrial area Slakthusområdet seems to some degree to be captured
by accessibility to plots, and the less diverse in terms of land use area of Årsta, also seems to
conrm the hypothesis. However, these are very premature conclusions. The point rather is
that we see how these measures start to capture some interesting properties of areas that call
for further study.
Figure 9 - Location-based measures of the four chosen case studies. Accessible
number of plots (a), and accessible diversity of plots (b) within 500m walking distance,
are compared with accessible built-up area (c), in order to show principal dierences
between conguration of plot patterns and built form.
Proceedings of the 11th Space Syntax Symposium
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MULTIVARIABLE MEASURES OF PLOT SYSTEMS:
Describing the potential link between urban diversity and spatial form based on the spatial capacity concept.
When it comes to accessible diversity of plots, the results are, in a way, inverted. Generally
speaking, Årsta and Slakthusområdet demonstrate high values of accessible diversity, which
is understandable given the complexity of the patterns earlier observed. Stureby, on the other
hand, has the lowest values, while in Östermalm, the value increases towards the CBD. We
have, however, reason to be a bit critical about this measure as it becomes apparent, and this
might be problematic, that an area with 1 big plot, 2 medium sized plots and 20 small plots are
considered as less diverse than an area with one plot in each category. The issue is that Simpson
Diversity index ‘weights’ all the categories equally. So, translating this to urban functions, this
would mean that an area with 1 theater, 2 banks and 20 shops will be considered as less diverse
than an area with 1 shopping mall and 1 café.
7. CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION
Based on these preliminary tests of new measures we see reason to develop multi-variable
measures that enable a full description of the qualities of plots that described the potential of
urban space to aord dierence. While this relation, using socio-economic data, will be tested
in following papers, this paper already supports the general idea and also gives hints on how to
evaluate the dierent measures. Size, compactness and degree of openness to public space, all
appear important when the individual qualities of plots are described. If the aim is to understand
performance of whole neighbourhoods, accessibility to numbers of plots and accessibility to
diversity of plots may be more eective. Equally important is the impact of what is measured,
be it number or diversity of plots, as well as the scale of the investigation, that is, which radii are
measured, and lastly, comparison between dierent scales. Many of these issues we will return
to after the testing with socio-economic data in upcoming papers.
We do know that city centres usually perform as diverse and vital areas (socio-economically),
since several scales are nested through the overlapping of local and global networks (Read, 2009),
and fail in this respect when the local scale is insuciently treated. It can then be assumed that
while a high number of plots is necessary for establishing a fertile ground for socio-economic
diversity to emerge, a greater variety in size is needed when local areas are scaled up from local
to more globally performing centres. In other words, high accessibility to diversity of plots is
important in situations of high plot accessibility, but makes less sense in situations with low plot
accessibility. This again calls for the development of multi-variable measures, but also puts the
question of the Simpson diversity index discussed earlier high on the agenda for further study.
The lack of acknowledgement in the measure of the total amount of large or small plots in the
whole system needs to be looked into. The development of a normalized Simpson Index, which
would deal with these scalar issues and would be adapted to the specicities of urban spatial
analysis, could be an interesting path to follow.
Within the bigger project, within which this paper is positioned, several goals are described that
partly are based on the methodology and empirical studies introduced in this paper: developing
a plot typology, relating the plot systems measures to other attraction measures (Marcus et al.,
2017) and, studying the relation between these spatial variables and socio-economic data, in
order to establish more fundamental theory linking use of space with spatial structures.
A plot typology including dierent variables as introduced in this paper can be developed using
clustering analysis as proposed by Berghauser Pont et al. (2017). It could show, for instance,
that small plots with low openness index and low accessible diversity index, are often found
in certain urban areas and that non-compact plots of various sizes and with low value of plots
accessibility are grouped in other urban areas. In a next step this could be related to socio-
economic performativity where the rst type might show low socio-economic diversity.
Besides relating to socio-economic data, we will also relate the measures presented in this
paper to distance and density measures. Congurational properties of the street networks and
building density have earlier repeatedly been demonstrated to play a decisive role in generating
particular socio-economic outcomes, including socio-economic diversity. Including analyses of
plot systems, as suggested here, may enhance these ndings and add greater precision when it
comes to the vital notion of diversity in cities (Marcus et al., 2017).
Proceedings of the 11th Space Syntax Symposium
47.13
MULTIVARIABLE MEASURES OF PLOT SYSTEMS:
Describing the potential link between urban diversity and spatial form based on the spatial capacity concept.
Studying the statistical co-relations between these spatial variables and socio-economic
data, may also help to better distinguish which spatial variables are more important for socio-
economic diversity and in what combinations.
Proceedings of the 11th Space Syntax Symposium
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MULTIVARIABLE MEASURES OF PLOT SYSTEMS:
Describing the potential link between urban diversity and spatial form based on the spatial capacity concept.
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... From an urban morphology perspective, spatial diversity can be related to spatial variation (size, shape, location) in urban form elements, such as buildings, plots, blocks and streets at a given scale (Bourdic et al., 2012: 595). Examples of diversity metrics include experiential diversity (Samuelsson et al., 2019), plot diversity and accessible plot diversity (Bobkova et al., 2017), block diversity (Garcia and Vale, 2017) and network diversity (Sardari Sayyar and Marcus, 2011). However, land use diversity is likely the most common type of diversity studied within the literature. ...
... Here the focus is specifically on the variation in form, size and shape of plots and buildings. The approach taken by Bobkova et al. (2017), in what they call accessible plot size diversity, is to divide the plots of a study area into different categories based on the plot area. 3 The access to each plot category is then calculated and the Simpson Diversity Index (Eq 5.22) is then applied to calculate the diversity of plot area. ...
... While the accessible plot size diversity proposed by Bobkova et al. (2017) only looks at plot diversity through the lens of area, it is possible to incorporate more of the physical characteristics of plots or buildings into this classification method. This allows for an assessment of diversity of the geometric characteristics of a location which is not only limited to variations of area. ...
Thesis
Full-text available
Cities are one of humanity’s crowning achievements. However, as cities and regions grow, they become more interconnected and complex while adapting to an ever-changing social, political, and natural environment. More recently, cities have to deal with increasing uncertainty which is brought about by radical changes such as social, economic and political instability, climate change, environmental degradation and global health crises. Under such circumstances, urban planners and designers have realised that the current planning and design approaches are often inadequate to deal with the rapidly changing and increasingly complex environments (Hes and Du Plessis, 2015). In response to these challenges, resilience thinking has been proposed as an alternative paradigm to challenge the current ‘business and usual approach’ (Walker and Salt, 2006). Resilience thinking embraces uncertainty and encourages planning with and for change. Moreover, because of these qualities, urban resilience is rapidly being viewed as one of the critical factors to achieving the goals of sustainable urbanism (Salat, 2011; UN Habitat, 2016a). Consequently, the rate at which urban resilience concepts have been included in many plans, strategies and assessments has steadily been growing (Zhang and Li, 2018). However, despite the growing acceptance of urban resilience in the urban discourse (Coaffee and Lee, 2016), the spatial aspects of urban resilience have been neglected. More specifically, there is still very little understanding of how the physical form of cities impacts their overall capacity to adapt to change, and therefore, their potential resilience (Feliciotti, 2018; Garcia and Vale, 2017; Romice et al., 2020). In response to this gap in our knowledge, this study investigates the relationship between the urban form and the manifestation of resilience in cities through addressing four research objectives. First, this study explored how urban form impacts and contributes to the potential adaptive capacity of cities. Secondly, it sought to develop and test a methodological protocol that can describe and assess the potential spatial adaptive capacity of any location within a city. Third, through the application of the protocol on case studies, this study set out to extract a range of typologies that reflect the morphological traits most likely to improve a city’s spatial adaptive capacity. Fourth, using the created typologies, this study proposed a range of urban design principles to promote urban forms that can contribute to more spatially resilient urban settlements. To address these research objectives, six directives for spatial resilience, which contribute to the formation of spatial-morphological resilience, were derived from a review of urban resilience and urban design literature. Additionally, the conceptual relationships between the directives were explored using a conceptual framework. To operationalise the framework a Spatial Resilience Assessment (SRA) protocol was proposed. The SRA protocol included two sub-protocols which incorporated new and existing methods and metrics that are used to (a) assess, at multiple scales, the extent to which each spatial resilience directive is present for any location within a study area; (b) to evaluate the relative spatial adaptive potential of a location and (c) to extract the morphological typologies that are most likely to improve the potential spatial adaptive capacity of a study area. Through the application of the proposed SRA protocol in two case studies, Manhattan (NYC) and Hong Kong, this study not only identified which locations within each case study had higher spatial adaptive potential but was also able to extract the morphological qualities of the best performing areas though the creation of the spatial adaptive urban types for each case study. Through the application of the protocol, this study produced over 100 maps per case study as both a quantitative assessment of the quality of the adaptive potential of an area, but also as a means of visually exploring the physical manifestation of the concept of spatial resilience through the morphology of the city. The results from both case studies suggest that variation in the size, shape and configuration of the constituent elements of urban form can greatly impact the potential adaptive capacity of a location. In addition to geometric and configurational characteristics, the relative position of a location (plot or building) within the broader urban context also plays a role in the locations multi-scale adaptive potential within a city. The finding of this study were summarised into a set of spatial resilience urban design principles that, could be used to guide the development and transformation of urban settlements to be more spatially resilient.
... These broader concepts of narrative and capital are drawn from the literature on morphological studies of buildings and cities, where the former describes how the formation of space incorporates aspects of cultural meaning and collective knowledge (Peponis and Hedin, 1982;Psarra, 2009), and the latter suggests that space, according to its attributes of accessibility, density and diversity (of forms and uses), is endowed with a capacity or capital that generates movement and induces certain types of occupations (Hillier et al., 1993;Hillier, 1996a;Marcus, 2010Marcus, , 2017Bobkova, 2019). ...
... The understanding of the building as a resource to be used by the exhibitions, in turn, led to the identification of studies that, to a certain extent, understands the space from a simultaneously configurational and economic perspective, motivated by the idea of understanding the building as spatial resource. Such studies refer to the notions of economy of movement, natural movement, spatial capital, spatial capacity and natural occupation (Bobkova, 2019;Bobkova et al., 2017;Hillier, 1996a;Hillier et al., 1993;Marcus, 2010), as well as studies on buildings intended for the exchange of things (Chen and Shi, 2011;Kalff et al., 2010;Koch, 2007). ...
... The main studies in this field seem revolve around the generic functions of space (Hillier, 1996b), movement and occupation, since: 1) one of the main studies in this regard proposes a theory of natural movement (Hillier et al., 1993), which derives from a study on the notion of cities as movement economies (Hillier, 1996a); 2) and one of the most recent proposes a theory of natural occupation (Bobkova, 2019), which in turn is the unfolding of the notions of spatial capital (Marcus, 2010(Marcus, , 2007Marcus et al., 2019) and spatial capacity (Bobkova et al., , 2018(Bobkova et al., , 2017Marcus and Bobkova, 2019). ...
Thesis
Thesis available at: https://repositorio.ufpe.br/handle/123456789/44263. This thesis proposes the concept of spatial mediation as a configurational strategy for the exchange between people and things, which is particularly evident in exhibition spaces – whose main function is precisely to foster these exchanges. In contrast to other types of mediation, spatial mediation occurs not through educators or technological devices, but through the system that structures the interaction between displayed contents and its visitors. This concept is characterized by a double-faceted logic that concerns the very definition of exhibition spaces – settings for exchange that operate through the display of artifacts, for cultural and economic purposes. These two facets are made up of pairs of concepts that address the following issues: 1) discourse and narrative – which describe how things are arranged in space and how the messages embedded in this arrangement can be interpreted through spatial navigation; 2) commodity and capital – which represent the syntactic and semantic role of the building in defining a system of material and symbolic exchanges. These two facets are objectively represented by the short-term layout of the exhibitions and the long-term layout of the building that houses it. This phenomenon is investigated at the Bienal de São Paulo (BSP), an expression that designates both a building (designed by Oscar Niemeyer in 1954), and a set of exhibitions (with 34 editions, 31 of which held in the same pavilion). This long overlap between building and exhibitions provides robust evidence for the proposed discussion, which was obtained through exploratory diachronic studies (on 30 BSP, from 1957 to 2018) and through specific case studies (on 9 BSP). These studies allowed us to delimit: a) the territory in which spatial mediation takes place – a spatial system open enough to support a multiplicity of occupations, but closed enough to minimally structure the movement; b) how it works – by transforming a spatial system that is simultaneously complex and generic into a system that is highly specific. The first aspect required the development of three representation models – complex, generic, and specific, to describe the spatial systems of buildings and exhibitions based on different criteria, thus generating different levels of network descriptions. And the latter enabled the characterization of two types of spatial mediation, mediation as a means and mediation as an end, whose characteristics describe how the attributes and elements of the exhibition layout are situated in relation to those of the building layout, whether within its limits or beyond them – the former related to the notion of commodity and the latter to a process of commodification. This approach, which is essentially based on the distinction between perennial and ephemeral layouts, can provide new perspectives of morphological thinking for the design and study of uses and internal arrangements of other types of buildings and spaces.
... This question is addressed in Paper 1 ( Bobkova et al., 2017a). ...
... In most cases, it is used in rather narrow case studies related to a particular context, or in combination with other components of urban form. In this thesis, both measures (plot size and accessible number of plots) are used to analyse the five case-study cities ( Bobkova et al., 2017a). ...
... Siksna, 1998, Figure 4.6). In Paper 1 ( Bobkova et al., 2017a) and following previous findings by Siksna (1998) and Vialard (2012), it is argued that the ability of the urban fabric to adapt to land-use changes is also related to the degree to which plots are able to amalgamate into bigger plots or to divide into smaller ones ( Bobkova et al., 2017a). It is therefore suggested that it is not only the particular plot size, but its divisibility, which is important to creating flexibility in plot systems and allowing for temporal transformation (ibid.) and that this aspect can be captured with the degree of plot compactness. ...
Thesis
Full-text available
Plot systems (or ‘plots’, ‘lots’, ‘parcels’, ‘land divisions’) is a commonly recognised structural component of urban form along with streets and buildings. They play a critical role in understanding urban processes in cities, not least of all because they link directly between the physical world and institutions, such as property rights. The role of plots and plot systems in urban processes is addressed in this thesis as the theory of natural occupation. The theory argues that the structure of plot systems is the driver of a process of economic concentration and diversification of economic activity in cities, as described in the burgage cycle concept (temporal evolution of built form) and the spatial capacity concept (link between plot shape and urban diversity). However, plot systems remain the least studied component of urban form, which this thesis contributes to on two levels. Firstly, by developing more precise quantitative descriptions of plots and plot systems by way of morphological measures and plot types. Secondly, by making use of these descriptions and empirically testing some central ideas in urban morphology, such as urban diversity. The thesis thus contributes to methodological and theoretical development in the field of urban morphology. However, it also demonstrates how these ideas on urban morphology can be a central contribution to theories in other fields addressing urban processes, such as urban planning and especially urban economics. The research design of the thesis involves the development of a generic method to spatially represent plot systems, the identification of three key morphological variables of plots based on extensive literature review in the field of urban morphology, the development of analytical plot types using statistical methods of data-driven classifications and finally, empirical testing of the theory of natural occupation (by correlating the morphological variables and plot types with the concentration and diversification of economic activity in five European cities). The empirical studies provide support for a direct relation between the shape and structure of plot systems and economic processes in cities and are an important contribution to urban design and planning practice.
... It is acknowledged as a basic element in the pattern of land divisions and works as an organizational framework for other elements of urban form. Importantly, it bridges built form with the non-physical parameters of cities, such as patterns of ownership or socioeconomic performance (Bobkova et al., 2017a(Bobkova et al., , 2017bKropf, 2018;Marcus, 2010). ...
... Nonetheless, a consistent set of measures has not evolved. Bobkova et al. (2017aBobkova et al. ( , 2017b have reviewed core properties of plot systems based on theory and studies in urban morphology, primarily related to their fundamental role in urban planning and design (Bobkova et al., 2017a(Bobkova et al., , 2017bConzen, 1960;Marcus, 2010;Moudon, 1994;Siksna, 1998;Vialard and Carpenter, 2015). These fundamental properties are translated into three corresponding spatial measures of plot size, compactness and frontage index (Bobkova et al., 2017a) and summarized below. ...
... Nonetheless, a consistent set of measures has not evolved. Bobkova et al. (2017aBobkova et al. ( , 2017b have reviewed core properties of plot systems based on theory and studies in urban morphology, primarily related to their fundamental role in urban planning and design (Bobkova et al., 2017a(Bobkova et al., , 2017bConzen, 1960;Marcus, 2010;Moudon, 1994;Siksna, 1998;Vialard and Carpenter, 2015). These fundamental properties are translated into three corresponding spatial measures of plot size, compactness and frontage index (Bobkova et al., 2017a) and summarized below. ...
Article
The importance of the plot (also referred to as ‘property’) as one of the fundamental elements of urban form is well recognized within the field of urban morphology. Despite the fact that it is often described as the basic element in the pattern of land divisions, which are essential as organizational frameworks for urban form, studies offering comprehensive descriptions and classifications of plot systems are quite scant. The aim of the paper is to introduce a classification of plot systems into typologies based on five European cities, in order to distinguish particular spatial differences and similarities in terms of their plot structure. The proposed typologies are developed using unsupervised k-means cluster analysis based on numeric attributes derived from central theories in urban morphology. The introduced typologies are essentially configurational, allowing collective systematic properties of plot systems to be captured. Numeric attributes include plot differentiation (or plot size), plot frontage and compactness ratio, corresponding to essential qualities of plot systems such as the capacity to carry differences in space, the ability to operate as interface between street and building and providing a framework for evolution of built form over time. All three attributes are translated into configurational measures in order to capture the context of the plot system, rather than the parameters of individual plots. The combination of these deductively defined variables with algorithmically defined classification methods results in seven plot types that can be used to scale up traditional urban morphological analysis to whole city regions and conduct substantial comparison of patterns within, but also between these regions. Further, it also makes it possible to describe commonly recognized plot patterns and discover new ones.
... (Wei et al., 2016) altered (VFand density values to evaluate how urban morphology parameters affected microclimate variables [28]. Moreover, (Bobkova et al., 2017a) reviewed a theoretical framework to establish the fundamental morphological parameters of plot systems [16], and space syntax has been employed the as an analytical tool for the investigation of the relationships between integration, movement, and accessible building density, and to ascertain the correlation between accessible plots and diversity indicators [29]. Space syntax is a theory developed to study the spatial morphology of building and streets [30]. ...
... Plot indicators are based on the theoretical review introduced by (Bobkova et al., 2017a), who measured the structures using geometric terms such as openness and compactness (area-based indicators) and by the accessible number and variety of plots in configurational terms [16]. P (UMIs) is the second category of UMIs will be explained in Table 3. Table 3 Betweenness centrality indicates how many times a vertex is located on the shortest path between two other vertices [33]. . ...
Article
Full-text available
Urban morphology is a complex topic that can be defined in terms of its spatial relations, properties, and measures using several equations. There are types of urban morphology indicators UMIs to explore the spatial heterogeneity, guiding the spatial morphological design and build a correlation factor between the urban form and urban microclimate. Urban morphology indicators UMIs proposed several morphological correlations (numbers, dimensions, volumes, areas, orientations, and percentages) observed between the discrete elements of urban morphology to describe the built environment's morphology, geometry, and typology. UMIs are used in diverse fields of study. The generation of urban morphology is a complex process that includes several parameters. The collection and classification of generation parameters help architects and urban planners enhance the generation process. This study aims to introduce a classification of UMIs to be suitable for the generation process. The research assumes that the classification of UMIs is an essential process that helps in urban morphology generation. It presents a novel framework of classification of UMIs through the level of implantation in urban generation and the spatial relation between elements, four main categories of UMIs, which are concluded: Streets (UMIs), Building UMIs, plots UMIs, and Open spaces UMIs. Finally, the research will mention subcategories of each UMIs, besides the UMIs at each sub-category. S(UMIs) include connectivity, integration, choice, and permeability. P(UMIs) include Openness, compactness, and diversity. B(UMIs) include V/A, S/V, BDF, GSI, FSI, VHurb, FAI, and Hbuild. O(UMIS) include Po, Si, Oc, SVf, UCI, and Ru
... Adapted from previous studies [45,46], it measures the ratio between the frontage (in meters) exposed to outdoor conditions in the SOS and the total perimeter of the SOS (in meters). ...
... The variable OSR A explained the variations in T a and RH, which may be due to a higher openness to sky and solar radiation, with higher OSR A resulting in higher T a as well as in lower RH. Originally, OSR P was used to measure the degree of openness of a plot calculating the portion of the plot boundary where transition from the plot to the street network takes place [45,46], but in this study this variable was found to be useful for assessing the environmental performance of SOS, showing that the lower the frontage (exposed to outdoors) in relation to the total perimeter of the SOS, the higher the air velocity. It is very likely that a funnel effect that enhances air velocity may be taking place due to a lower OSR P , 'squeezing' the wind through the narrow void. ...
Article
This study delved on the role of semi-outdoor spaces (SOS), as form-based strategies, in providing enhanced, thermally comfortable environments in highly dense urban contexts. A sample of sixty-three (63) SOS was studied, within four different mid-rise and high-rise buildings located in the warm-humid tropical city of Singapore. It was found: (i) that SOS may act as thermal buffer spaces; (ii) that microclimate creation in SOS is linked to form, specifically to geometrical variables such as void-to-solid ratio, height, height-to-depth ratio, height from ground level, green plot ratio and open space ratio, which influence significantly the environmental factors of air temperature, mean radiant temperature, air velocity and relative humidity; (iii) that some aforementioned geometrical variables (height-to-depth ratio and open space ratio) are linked to thermal comfort when estimated with SET* and PMV* thermal indices; (iv) and that thermal comfort (between −1 and +1 PMV*) can be achieved in SOS considering a typical Singaporean outdoor CLO of 0.3, especially for 1 MET (85.7% of SOS). In the context of Singapore, this study demonstrates that incorporating SOS to mid-rise and high-rise building forms promotes the creation of thermally comfortable microclimates suitable for human activity, even during the hottest hours.
... V praxi tedy měří dostupnost jiných typů zástavby z každého místa v Praze, tedy tzv. dostupnou rozmanitost [82]. Dostupnost je pojem, který se flexibilně váže na mód dopravy či jiného pohybu (např. ...
... As for our own terminology, terms such as 'attribute ', 'variable', 'measurement', 'metric', 'index', 'character', 'indicator' or 'proxy' are often used interchangeably in urban morphology to signify the measurable feature of an object (Araldi and Fusco, 2019;Bobkova et al., 2017;Dibble et al., 2017;Schirmer and Axhausen, 2015;Vanderhaegen and Canters, 2017) . In this paper we follow Dibble et al. (2017) where the term 'character' defines 'a characteristic (or feature) of one kind of organism that will distinguish it from another kind' (Sneath and Sokal, 1973). ...
Article
Full-text available
Unprecedented urbanisation processes characterise the Great Acceleration, urging urban researchers to make sense of data analysis in support of evidence-based and large-scale decision making. Urban morphologists are no exception since the impact of urban form on fundamental natural and social patterns (equity, prosperity and resource consumption's efficiency) is now fully acknowledged. However, urban morphology is still far from offering a comprehensive and reliable framework for quantitative analysis. Despite remarkable progress since its emergence in the late 1950s, the discipline still exhibits significant terminological inconsistencies with regards to the definition of the fundamental components of urban form, which prevents the establishment of objective models for measuring it. In this article, we present a study of existing methods for measuring urban form, with a focus on terminological inconsistencies, and propose a systematic and comprehensive framework to classify urban form characters, where 'urban form character' stands for a characteristic (or feature) of one kind of urban form that distinguishes it from another kind. In particular, we introduce the Index of Elements that allows for a univocal and non-interpretive description of urban form characters. Based on such Index of Elements, we develop a systematic classification of urban form according to six categories (dimension, shape, spatial distribution, intensity, connectivity and diversity) and three conceptual scales (small, medium, large) based on two definitions of scale (extent and grain). This framework is then applied to identify and organise the urban form characters adopted in available literature to date. The resulting classification of urban form characters reveals clear gaps in existing research, in particular, in relation to the spatial distribution and diversity characters. The proposed framework reduces the current
Thesis
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In the last century, as parallel to the transitions and paradigmatic shifts in the history of science, urbanism has experienced important theoretical breakthroughs and transitions, as well. At that point, emerging paradigm of complexity theories has come into the contemporary agenda of urban planning and design agenda by representing a dramatic shift from the conception of cities as totally controllable and designed artefacts. In that sense, the complexity-based perspective in urbanism asserts that the settled planning and design approaches conceptualizing the city as a finite and static product of a single mastermind that tends to predict its future state via deterministic projection mechanisms, and designing it with a clear image of an optimal form inescapably fall short to operate effectively. Adoption of complexity theories’ perspective portrays a city which is far from-equilibrium, dynamic, ever-evolving and full of uncertainties. From this point on, it is explicit that designing cities as static and non-progressive physical artefacts by controlling and regulating everything beforehand in accordance with a fixed image makes urban form fragile against the emerging uncertainties and changing spatial needs; and, decreases its capacity to respond different circumstances in a successful manner. For that reason, planning theory and practice should discover and develop a new form of intervention which would be more responsive to the uncertainties by relying on the derived understandings of complexity theory. The most fundamental motivation behind this research is to develop a model approach improving the adaptive capacity of urban form to respond emerging uncertainties and changing needs by operating design within the revealed context of urban complexity. To that end, the research investigates the morphological and programmatic characteristics of an adaptable urban form by revisiting the theoretical implications of the notion of adaptability and examining historical plot-based urbanism examples demonstrating an enhanced capacity of responsiveness. Moreover, two different contemporary urban design and development projects – IJburg, Amsterdam (the Netherlands) and Middlehaven, Middlesbrough (UK) – are examined in detail to develop a better understanding about the kind of design approach which helps to achieve the morphological and programmatic characteristics required to improve the adaptive capacity of urban form.
Conference Paper
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Küresel ölçekte artan kentsel yoğunluk ve karmaşıklık; kentsel gelişim, değişim ve yeni bağlamlara uyumlanma (adaptivity) anlamında mekânsal ve biçimsel yeni zorlukları da beraberinde getirmektedir. Kent mekânının oldukça dinamik, yer yer belirsiz ve kimi zaman da kendiliğinden meydana gelen değişim ve başkalaşım süreçlerine yanıt verecek ölçüde tasarlanması, artan kentsel karmaşıklık düzeyinin getirdiği en önemli ihtiyaçlardan biri olarak karşımıza çıkmaktadır. Öngörülebilirliğin ötesinde ilerleyen, doğrusal olmayan (non-linear) ve oluşsal (emergent) mekânsal düzenlerin önünü açan karmaşık kentsel gelişim süreçleri, biçim ve işlev arasındaki bağıl ilişkiyi de tartışmaya açmıştır. Biçim ve işlev arasındaki bu kırılgan ilişki, geleneksel kentsel tasarım ve planlama anlayışlarının çizmeye çalıştığı durağan, değişime kapalı ve aşırı-belirlenimci (over-deterministic) tasarım çerçevelerinden kaynaklanmaktadır. Bu sorun tanımı bağlamında, kentleri durağanlıktan uzak, ideal bir biçim ve programa sahip olmayan, belirsiz ve dinamik süreçlerden evrimleşmiş karmaşık ekosistemler olarak tanımlayan ‘örgütlü karmaşıklık (organized complexity) kuramı’ (Jacobs, 1961; Alexander, 1965), mekânsal değişim ve bu değişime yanıt verecek biçimsel ve işlevsel uyumlanma olguları için verimli açılımlar sunmaktadır. Karmaşıklık teorisinin şehircilik ve kentsel tasarım disiplini için ortaya koyduğu kuramsal çerçevenin çözümlenmesi (Portugali, 1999; Alexander, 2002; Marshall, 2009; Batty & Marshall, 2012), kent mekânının kapsamlı, baskıcı ve değişmez kontrolünden çok; belirsiz ve değişken koşullara karşı uyumlanma ve yanıt verme yetisini artıracak açık uçlu, esnek ve evrilebilir mekânsal düzenlerin önünün açılmasını öğütler. Bu bakış açısı içerisinde, araştırmanın en önemli kaygısını ‘kentsel mekânın değişim ve başkalaşım süreçlerine uyumlanmasını sağlayacak morfolojik nitelikler (biçimsel ve işlevsel) nelerdir’ ve ‘bu nitelikler ne tür bir tasarım yaklaşımı ile geliştirilebilir’ soruları oluşturmaktadır. Araştırma kapsamında, ‘kentsel uyumlanma yetisi’ dirençlilik (resilience) ve esneklik (flexibility) kavramlarının sentezi üzerinden, disiplinlerarası bir yazın taraması ile kentsel morfoloji alanına kazandırılmış ve ‘kentsel değişime olanak sağlayacak biçimsel ve işlevsel tercih çeşitliliğinin sunulması’ ilkesi ile pekiştirilmiştir. Bu kavramsal çerçeve dahilinde, şehircilik ve mimarlık yazınında özellikle uyumlanma, dirençlilik, evrim ve değişim gibi kavramlara atıfla ele alınan ve gelişkin uyumlanabilirlik dersleri sunan uluslararası örnekler (Edinburgh-New Town, Barcelona-Eixample, San Francisco-Alamo Square) tartışılmış ve kentsel uyumlanma yetisini artıracak morfolojik nitelikler somutlaştırılmıştır. Her bir örnek üzerinde yapılan temel plan analizleri ve kentsel evrim sürecinin morfolojik değişim üzerinden okunması ile uyumlanma yetisini koşullayan mekânsal nitelikler tespit edilmiş (modülerlik, çeşitlilik, geçirgenlik, artıklık) ve bunların mekânın uyumlanma sürecini nasıl kolaylaştırdığı (dağıtık/merkezi olmayan tasarım kontrolü) ortaya koyulmuştur. Bu bağlamda, tüm mekânsal kararların önceden verildiği, durağan ve değişime kapalı geleneksel tasarım yaklaşımlarının aksine (deterministic place-making), kentsel formun uyumlanma yetisini geliştirmek için gerekli olan bakışın ‘duyarlı koşullama’ (responsive condition-making) olarak kavramsallaştırılan yeni tasarım yaklaşımıyla işlevsel kılınabileceği vurgulanır. Araştırmanın çizdiği kuramsal çerçevenin ve kentsel uyumlanabilirliği öncülleyen morfolojik ölçütlerin çözümlenmesi, kentsel değişim olgusu ve kentlerin değişim süreçlerine uyumlanabilirliği konusunda yeni bir kuramsal çerçeve ve alternatif tasarım yaklaşımları sunmaktadır.
Conference Paper
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It has been argued that different urban configurations-planned vs. organic, treelike vs. grid like-perform differently when it comes to the intensity and distribution of pedestrian flows, built density and land uses. However, definitions of urban configurations are often rather abstract, ill-defined and at worse end in fixed stereotypes hiding underlying spatial complexity. Recent publications define morphological typologies based on quantitative variables (e.g. Barthelemy, 2015; Serra, 2013a; Gil et al., 2012; Berghauser Pont and Haupt, 2010) and solve some of these shortcomings. These approaches contribute to the discussion of types in two ways: firstly, they allow for the definition of types based on multiple variables in a precise and repeattable manner, enabling the study of large samples and the comparison between both cities and regions; secondly, they frame design choices in terms of types without being fixed and so open up for design explorations where the relation between the variables can be challenged to propose new types. This paper explores the typologies defined by Serra (2013a) and Berghauser Pont and Haupt (2010) further, as these target two of the most important morphological entities of urban form, namely the street network and the building structure. The purpose is to gain a better understanding of how types are composed and distributed within and across different cities. The method is based on GIS and statistical modeling of four cities to allow for a comparative analysis of four cities: Amsterdam, London, Stockholm and Gothenburg. For the street network, we process the Road-Centre-line maps to obtain a clean network model, then run segment angular analysis to calculate the space syntax measures of betweenness at different metric radii, defining the " centrality palimpsest " (Serra, 2013a). For the building structure, we process elevation data to obtain building height, then run accessible density analysis for all building density metrics (FSI, GSI, OSR, L) using the Place Syntax Tool (Berghauser Pont and Marcus, 2014). The street and building types are defined using cluster analysis (unsupervised classification), following a similar approach to Serra (2013a). The result is a typology of street (´paths´) and building types (´places´), with different profiles of centrality and density across scales. The spatial distribution and frequency of these types across the four cities gives an objective summary of their spatial structure, identifying common as well as unique traits.
Conference Paper
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This paper was prompted by a very basic question. What is a plot? Or, to what does the term plot refer? The same questions apply, of course, to the term lot. There are both theoretical and methodological dimensions to these questions. On the one hand it raises the further question of what sort of description gives us the clearest picture of the formation and transformation of human settlements. On the other hand, there is the question of just what we are looking at when we analyze a map or plan such as an Ordnance Survey map? What do the lines and figures actually represent and how should we interpret them?
Article
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Although space syntax is often presented as a configurational theory of architecture, this tends to hide the more fundamental claim that it is also an analytical theory, a theory based on analytical science rather than on the normative or ideological claims normally found in architectural theory. This article proposes an extension of such an analytical theory in the context of urbanism by using space syntax areas in urban morphology that earlier have not been directly part of space syntax analysis. If one allows for some simplification, one can say that the main variable of urban form analysed in space syntax is accessibility. This article introduces two other variables: density and diversity. Density, the dominating variable in geographic analysis of urban space, is fundamental for the development of knowledge about urban space and in the practice of urban planning. Diversity, at least since Jane Jacob's writing of The Death and Life of Great American Cities, has been another focus for urban analysis and urban planners, yet one that has proven to be more difficult to address. A study of an urban area in Stockholm identified three convincing correlations: 1.) a correlation between integration and movement; 2.) a correlation between accessible building density and population; and 3.) a correlation between accessible plots and diversity indices such as number of age groups and lines of businesses. Whereas the first correlation is not very surprising in the context of space syntax research and the second correlation is interesting mostly because of its original measuring technique, the third correlation must be considered surprising and an original finding. The present study proposes that the three ways to measure the three variables accessibility, density and diversity could be combined into a more general analytical theory of urban form, directly stemming from space syntax analysis, significantly widening the scope of space syntax into a more general urban morphology. In addition, it is proposed that these measurements capture something that can be called spatial capital, that also can engage adjacent scientific disciplines.
Conference Paper
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This paper aims to contribute to a better understanding of the relation between space syntax and the adjacent field of urban morphology. We believe that this can benefit both fields in their further development and more specifically, this paper will show how typical approaches in urban morphology can be helpful in explaining variations in correlations between space syntax measures and pedestrian movement. That these correlations vary is shown by various scholars and the reoccurring argument is missing data input such as, amongst others, density, land use and public transport. We also see a problem in space syntax analysis in that there seems to be little consistency in exactly how pedestrian movement is best captured, that is, with what measure and at which radius. Hillier and Iida (2005) show for instance in their study of four London areas that the 'best radius' can be found with a radius of analysis varying from 12 to 102 segments. This is troublesome, especially if we are not able to explain why this is the case. In this paper we propose to use two typo-morphological approaches to explain such variations: the classification system for street morphologies developed by Marshall (2005) and the integrated density approach 'Spacemate' developed by Berghauser Pont and Haupt (2009; 2010). The results presented in this paper show that different neighbourhood types, in terms of density and street morphology, indeed have different patterns driving pedestrian behaviour and following that, ask for tailored spatial analysis. It is shown that in denser and more 'griddy' street patterns, the betweenness centrality measure is able to capture pedestrian behaviour, but in other neighbourhood types pedestrian behaviour is better captured when also closeness centrality and the distribution of attractions is included. Further, it is shown that what may be called the 'scale of operation' of each neighbourhood plays a crucial role which needs to be considered when choosing the radius of analysis. This paper shows further that a first indication of pedestrian intensity and pedestrian distribution can be arrived at by using two relative simple spatial measures: 'accessible density' and 'attraction betweenness' respectively. Although this study is just a first tentative exploration in combining urban morphology with space syntax, we suggest that we based on these preliminary results can see many advantages in pursuing research in this direction.
Book
Since The social logic of space was published in 1984, Bill Hillier and his colleagues at University College London have been conducting research on how space features in the form and functioning of buildings and cities. A key outcome is the concept of ‘spatial configuration’ — meaning relations which take account of other relations in a complex. New techniques have been developed and applied to a wide range of architectural and urban problems. The aim of this book is to assemble some of this work and show how it leads the way to a new type of theory of architecture: an ‘analytic’ theory in which understanding and design advance together. The success of configurational ideas in bringing to light the spatial logic of buildings and cities suggests that it might be possible to extend these ideas to other areas of the human sciences where problems of configuration and pattern are critical.
Chapter
This chapter focuses on the issues in current city planning and rebuilding. It describes the principles and aims that have shaped modern, orthodox city planning and rebuilding. The chapter shows how cities work in real life, because this is the only way to learn what principles of planning and what practices in rebuilding can promote social and economic vitality in cities, and what practices and principles will deaden these attributes. In trying to explain the underlying order of cities, the author uses a preponderance of examples from New York. The most important thread of influence starts, more or less, with Ebenezer Howard, an English court reporter for whom planning was an avocation. Howard's influence on American city planning converged on the city from two directions: from town and regional planners on the one hand, and from architects on the other.
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