Housing Layout and Space Use. A Study of Swedish and Chinese Neighbourhood Units
Housing layouts designed as neighbourhood units are often assumed to be able to perform various practical and social functions. But whether the spatial pattern of the planned neighbourhoods itself can be given some explicit theoretical foundation and be subjected to functional formulation, is a problem which has been hardly tackled by architectural research.
This dissertation is a study of the spatial layouts of some Swedish and Chinese neighbourhood units. It focuses on the morphological structures of these built forms and their relation to patterns of pedestrian movement. The purpose is to explore if and how far the spatial dimension of the neighbourhoods has any broad relevance to aspects of residential life, and how far this dimension can be also established as a well-defined problem of design. Space syntax theory and method are the major analytical tool used in the exploration.
The results of the study are considered to have important implications for understanding the relationship between neighbourhood spatial form and function. Despite the substantial cultural and geometrical dissimilarities displayed by the sample of Swedish and Chinese cases, the planned neighbourhoods are found to possess a few common configurational properties which define these built forms as a particular class of layout. The spatial structures of the neighbourhoods are also found to have describable relations to patterns of pedestrian movement and encounter. These facts suggest strongly that the spatial structure of neighbourhoods is a relevant quality for indicating strategic differences and similarities between different layout patterns.
More importantly, these results seem to have fundamental implications not only for a better understanding of neighbourhood morphologies and their relation to function, but also for the development of the knowledge-base of urban design. An attempt is made to link the key findings of this research to design. This leads to an exploration of the scope and possibilities in applying space syntax analysis to the evaluation of plan design and to the formulation of design choices themselves.
neighbourhood spatial layouts