Space syntax has established itself as an academic field, to an extent that many experts consider it as a discipline in its own right. Hundreds of academics across the world are using space syntax in their research and in several universities space syntax is taught rigorously as a course itself or as part of other courses. This success, however, has not been entirely matched by the professional applications of space syntax in urban and architectural design or planning projects. This is a familiar subject to those many individuals, who have tried and failed in their efforts to use space syntax as a leading methodology in design and planning across the world. In this keynote, I will address the difficulties and challenges of adopting space syntax methodology in professional practice, based on the first-hand experience of working on tens of consultancy projects in various parts of the world. This discussion will underpin the barriers and challenges, ranging from the most theoretical to most practical issues, and how they could be overcome. But most importantly, the talk will try to unravel the joys and rewards of such an endeavour, when the methodology succeeds in fulfilling its key role.
Doctor Kayvan Karimi
(University College London, The Bartett School of Architecture, London, United Kingdom)
Planning and design are inherently normative: they propose future states of the world which are held to be, according to some system of values, better than the present states. This has often led to the uncritical acceptance of the inference that if design and planning are inherently normative, the same must apply to the theories of architecture and planning. However, theories of architecture and planning can best serve practice by offering descriptions, accounts and explanations of how things work, and what the principles are, that might help us predict how the implementation of new ideas might work in the future. This has been a formative assumption in the field of space syntax. This session addresses the link between design values, normative ideas and theory at present.
STEPHEN MARSHALL (UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON, UK)
JOHN PEPONIS (GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, USA)
How space is perceived and cognitively integrated by individuals and, in turn, how this is linked to the way space is built and used by them, are central questions in any attempt of putting together an empirically-based theory of the built environment. But underpinning any such attempt, a prior question arises: how to describe and represent space in a way that both encapsulates its structural contents and our spatial cognitive processes? This session, addresses the theme of spatial representations and their links to human spatial cognition and behaviour, reviewing existing approaches and disclosing novel ones.
MICHAEL BENEDIKT (UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN, USA)
RUTH CONROY-DALTON (NORTHUMBRIA UNIVERSITY, UK)
After decades of slow progress and latent skepticism, the endeavour of treating cities as objects of full scientific enquiry, liable of being described and explained by formal models, has been gaining momentum in recent years. Fostered by the development of the complexity sciences and by the ever increasing availability of empirical data, a new ‘science of cities’ is emerging. At its core lie the concepts of complex system, the network and the fluxes it conveys – concepts that are also central to space syntax theory. This session addresses the fundamentals and the latest advances of the new science of cities and discusses how space syntax may contribute to its enterprise.
LUIS BETTENCOURT (SANTA FE INSTITUTE, USA)
ALAN PENN (UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON, UK)