The space syntax field of research is grounded on the pioneering work of Bill Hillier, Julienne Hanson and colleagues, developed in the early 1970’s at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London.
Space syntax is commonly seen as a set of methods to analyze urban and architectural spaces of all kinds and sizes, and to foresee their functional outcomes. However, it is also much more than that. It is an overarching theory and research framework, based on rigorous geometrical and mathematical descriptions and quantifications of human spatial systems and on insightful inferences about their social meaning and impact, which provide a coherent and robust form-function model of the human built environment.
This embracing, but also always precise, character of space syntax, has made it a field of research that has become relevant to disciplines other than architecture or urban planning and design. Indeed, space syntax has found application in fields as diverse as sociology, psychology, archeology, criminology, transport planning, economics, risk management, information technology and computer science.
Today, the space syntax research community is highly diverse, integrating members from all these fields, coming from all over the world. Besides its pure research applications, space syntax’s capability of providing reliable forecasts of the functional outcomes of architectural and urban projects, has made it also an obviously useful practical tool, being today used world-wide by a growing number of consultancy and professional practices.
The International Space Syntax Symposia were founded in London, in 1997, and since then have been held every two years in cities around world, as London, Brasilia, Atlanta, Delft, Istanbul, Stockholm, Santiago and Seoul. Space syntax symposia provide the forums where the space syntax research network comes together to present and discuss new work and to debate the future of their discipline.