Tuesday, April 26, 2011

THE STREETS OF INNOVATION: an exploratory analysis of knowledge transfer in the public realm

by Pete Ferguson

This paper investigates the possible mechanisms by which spatial structure can affect patterns of networking and knowledge transfer in the public realm. Drawing on the work of ‘The space of innovation’ (Penn, Desyllas, Vaughan 1999) into the distribution of interaction inside individual office buildings, the research translates a selection of their methodologies to the public realm of central Birmingham and the City of London. Gate counts and extended observations are undertaken to identify the spatial distribution of gross pedestrian flow, interaction whilst walking and encounter. These results are then related to various spatial measures for analysis.
The research reveals that the level of gross pedestrian flow or static activity in space is not always an indicator of the vibrancy of interaction in the public realm. Analysis reveals that interaction while moving appears to relate strongly with spatial measures even when gross pedestrian flow does not and that levels of encounter in space increase as a proportion of pedestrian flow as spatial accessibility increases. As a result, small stretches of pavement aside busy road environments are often shown to be the most conducive to networking activities and that high levels of activity in less accessible public spaces are not accompanied by an increased level of encounter.
The paper concludes that the level and consistency of interface between different scales of movement affects the efficiency of networking and knowledge transfer both externally and internally to organisations. The concept of radial constancy is used as a means of describing the equality and consistency of access to space for different journey distances and consequently, a spaces ability to create opportunities for encounter and interface between scales of movement.
Considerable further research is required to validate research findings in alternate locations and to directly test radial constancy values against the spatial distribution of recorded observations.

other posts about Space Syntax:

An integration of space syntax into GIS for modelling urban spaces


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

Space Syntax and Transit Networks

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