Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Compact Sprawl Experiments Four Strategic Densification Scenarios for Two Modernist Suburbs in Stockholm

by Alexander Ståhle and Lars Marcus

One of the biggest challenges for future urban design is to cope with suburbia and sprawl. This paper investigates how sprawl can be compacted in terms of spatial morphology. New 'user-related' location density measures, like spaciousness and compactness, are introduced that integrate floor area, axiality of pedestrian network, and public open space. These and 'administrative' area density measures are applied to two modernist suburbs in Stockholm, Björkhagen and Rågsved (1946-1957), and four strategic densification scenarios: 'New urbanism', 'New regularism', 'New conservatism', and 'New modernism'. The results show that the suburbs can increase by 100% in Floor Area Ratio in the first two and but only 20-40% in the other two. Floor area accessibility, however, is influenced by network accessibility more than plot density. Public open space is needed to uphold spaciousness and compactness. To conclude, tree-like morphologies seem rational in peripheral low density suburbs with a lot of public open space, but when densified the grid becomes more necesary to uphold compactness. Even though densification by 'New urbanism' or 'New regularism' in modernist suburbia is improbable due to political reality, they point out possible ways to compact more efficiently modernist sprawl as well as the need for further research.

more posts about Space Syntax:


Agent-based Simulation of Human Movement Shaped by the Underlying Street Structure

Space Syntax and Transit Networks

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