Proceedings . 3rd International Space Syntax Symposium Atlanta 2001
A series of recent papers (Hillier et al 1993, Hillier 1996b, Hillier 2000) have outlined a genericprocess by which spatial configurations, through their effect on movement, first shape, andthen are shaped by, land use patterns and densities. The aim of this paper is to make thespatial dimension of this process more precise. The paper begins by examining a largenumber of axial maps, and finds that although there are strong cultural variations in different regions of the world, there are also powerful invariants. The problem is to understand how both cultural variations and invariants can arise from the spatial processes that generate cities.The answer proposed is that socio-cultural factors generate the differences by imposing acertain local geometry on the local construction of settlement space, while micro-economicfactors, coming more and more into play as the settlement expands, generate the invariants.
Movement: the strong force
The urban grid, in the sense used in this paper, is the pattern of public space linking thebuildings of a settlement, regardless of its degree of geometric regularity. The structure of a grid is the pattern brought to light by expressing the grid as an axial map
and analysing it configurationally. A series of recent papers have proposed a strong role for urban grids increating the living city. The argument centres around the relation between the urban grid andmovement. In Natural movement (Hillier et al 1993), it was shown that the structure of theurban grid has independent and systematic effects on movement patterns, which could becaptured by integration analysis of the axial map.
. In Cities as movement economies(Hillier 1996b) it was shown that natural movement - and so ultimately the urban grid itself - impacted on land use patterns by attracting movement-seeking uses such as retail to loca-tions with high natural movement, and sending non-movement seeking uses such as resi-dence to low natural movement locations. The attracted uses then attracted more movement to the high movement locations , and this in turn attracted further uses, creating a spiral of multiplier effects and resulting in an urban pattern of dense mixed uses areas set against abackground of more homogeneous, mainly residential development. In Centrality as aprocess (Hillier 2000) it was then shown that these processes not only responded to well-defined configurational properties of the urban grid, but also initiated changes in it by adapting the local grid conditions in the mixed movement areas in the direction of greaterlocal intensification and metric integration through smaller scale blocks and more trip-efficient, permeable structures.
A Theory of the City as Object
Or, how spatial laws mediate the social construction of urban space
Univesity College London, UK
Keywords:Society, city design,axial maps, formaltypologies, culturalinvariants andvariationsProfessor Bill Hillier Space SyntaxLaboratory, TheBartlett School of Graduate Studies (1-19 Torrington Place),University CollegeLondon, London WC1E6BT United Kingdomtel. +44 (0) 171 3911739fax. +44 (0) 171 firstname.lastname@example.org