Friday, April 22, 2011

Exploring Multi-layered Hyper Dense Urban Environments through Spatial Analysis

by Stephen Law and Yunfei Zhao

With ever increasing pressure on space and natural resources, the planning and design of hyper dense urban environments may become a reality for many city authorities. As a result, studies in hyper dense environments proves valuable for practitioner and academics a like. Space syntax is a spatial analysis that studies the relationship between spatial configuration and pedestrian behaviour in urban environment. The analysis has been described to only partially capture the distribution of movement in areas with heterogenous distribution of population density. Henceforth, the study of hyper dense urban environments raises a number of challenges for existing space syntax methodologies. This paper tests the degree to which public realm simulations are able to decode the distribution of pedestrian movements in hyper dense environments, namely in a district of central Hong Kong. Beyond this the paper explores additional urban design parameters for assessing multi layers environments towards more accurate representations. The paper finds that while two dimensional spatial modelling techniques provide an intuitive description of spatial structure in such environments, certain techniques accounting for other urban design parameters are needed to aid existing methodologies in deconstructing formal structure at a higher resolution and provide solid correlations with indicators such as pedestrian movement distributions. The results of the study was positive with the space syntax measures achieving a positive correlation (r-square=0.48). In the end, the factor of proximity to number of plots(morphological differences) and influences on elevation(elevation differences) were concluded to have strong combinatorial influences on pedestrian movement distribution in this area of the city. These additional parameters were tested as binary factors (0 and 1) in a multiple variate correlation that gave a strong correlation. (r-square =0.80) The evidence suggests further research is needed to address the degree to which these additional factors can have on the patterns of pedestrian movement distribution as well as testing the methodology in other parts of the city.

more Space Syntax papers:

Planning a Deep Island: introducing Space Syntax to an urban planning process for Phuket, Thailand

New Developments in Space Syntax Software

Modeling street connectivity, pedestrian movement and land-use according to standard GIS street network representations: A Comparative Study

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