Cities as Accessible Densities and Diversities – Adding Attraction Variables to Configurational Analysis
Paper in proceedings, 2017
The central variables in any urban model are distance and attraction (Wilson 2000). Space syntax research has contributed to the development of new geometric descriptions and measures of distance that have proven successful when it comes to capturing pedestrian movement (Hillier & Iida 2005). However, the description and measurement of attractions has not been central to the field. An important exception is the development of Place Syntax analysis, which concerns new methodologies and software that opens for analysis not only of different kinds of accessibilities in the street network in itself, but also analysis of the accessibility within the network to different forms of attractions, for instance, residents or retail (Ståhle et al 2005). Importantly, these analyses are able to use the novel distance measures developed in space syntax.
Place Syntax analysis is a generic form of analysis, why we may choose to analyse the accessibility to particular socio-economic attractions, such as residents or retail, but we may also conceive of a model of ‘pure’ spatial form – a kind of architectural model of the city – where we substitute socio-economic attractions for attractions of spatial form. For instance, Place Syntax analysis has been applied in different kinds of density analysis, transforming density measures from area-based measures to location-based measures (Ståhle 2008). Such density analyses can concern density of socio-economic attractions such as residents or retail. But it can also concern analysis of density of built form, for instance transforming densities of floor space to accessibility to floor space (Ståhle 2008, Berghauser Pont & Marcus 2014).
In this paper, we extend such spatial attraction to not only include the variable of density but also diversity. Earlier empirical studies have shown strong indications that there is a correlation between the degree of land division into parcels (plots) and the diversity of socio-economic content, such as residents and retail. This can be measured as area-based measures, such as parcel density (Marcus 2000, 2001), but also as location-based measures, such as parcel accessibility (Marcus 2005). Importantly, in the latter case this can be analysed using place syntax analysis and space syntax measures of distance.
Finally, we present preliminary results from an empirical study of Stockholm, Sweden, where we test these measures both combined and individually, paving the way for more substantial empirical investigations.