Urban integration (Space Syntax models at Macro-meso-micro)

Space Syntax provides techniques for evaluating the interchange location concerning the street accessibility hierarchy on all levels: what area in the city? What plot in an area? What streets around the plot should include pedestrian accesses?

–          Space Syntax is a theory and methodology developed by Hillier and Hanson in the 1980s. Network analysis is applied to understand spatial accessibility and the hierarchy of spaces within the urban network of streets and public spaces. This accessibility has proved its strong relationship with the distribution of pedestrian flows, location of activities and certain land uses.

–       The tools consist of a software platform in which cartographies of current or alternative project scenarios are analysed. An expert is required during the process and for the interpretation of results.

NODES strategic objectiveContribution
Enhance accessibility and integration ++
Enhance intermodality 0
Enhance liveability ++
Increase safety and security conditions ++
Increase economic viability and costs efficiency ++
Stimulate local economy ++
Increase environmental efficiency 0
Increase energy efficiency 0

Good practice

MESO SCALE: London Olympic Park (link) plan was re-ordered taking this tool into account. Analysis proved that it was of value to improve the scheme of connections with urban surroundings, pedestrian flows distribution and the consistent location of certain facilities.

MICRO SCALE: Trafalgar Square (link) was refurbished after the analysis of alternative proposals and connections with the surroundings.

Application in NODES sites:

The city of Birmingham tested this tool for the case of the Snow Hill interchange: “This is a very good tool, which provides real benefits for the planning and design of larger interchanges; but it does require the support of specialists to carry out the work.”

“To evaluate the appropriateness of a location within a city for an interchange, this can be a useful tool, assuming that the location of an interchange is in doubt or can be flexibly located.”

“The baseline analysis part of the Snow Hill interchange provided a robust evidence base with which future options could be assessed. The analysis highlighted initial areas for improvement in the short, medium and long term.”

The tool was rated by Birmingham as a 4-star (****) tool.



Potential interchange performance improvement

This tool allows the interchange urban integration, guiding pedestrian in/out flows and access to be improved in a coherent, proper way according to the spatial configuration of urban spaces and the interchange design. This might be quantified as:

–   Higher demand for travel, due to better spatial accessibility and traveller’s attraction and comfort.

–   The better business performance of retail and services at the urban context of the interchange interface, which might form the base for a better business revenue process.

–  Reducing the number of users who become lost, and providing the necessary information and direction signs through improved direction-finding.

–  Improved performance of transport services and facilities: information desks, signs and panels, security, publicity, retail shops, waiting areas, etc.



–   An expert is required during the process and for the interpretation of results.

–   Software is currently open for free use.

–   Costs assigned to authority in charge of physical planning/design.

–   All costs are usually assumed by the transport authority, planners or consultants in charge of the study.


www.spacesyntax.com (consultancy)

www.spacesyntax.org (academic research)

www.spacesyntax.net/software/ (software, free)

A concise explanation of this tool can also be found in NODES Deliverable 3.2.2. (pages 35-36).