Yet Another Urban Blog

Using Space Syntax for Decision Making in Urban Planning

During the past few months I’ve been getting heavily involved with my new planning consultancy called Planet. This initiative focuses on Spatial Potential Analysis (SPA) to support and improve decision making processes with regard to all aspects of urban planning such as transportation, land use and so forth. This work provides me a seat at the decision making forums.

While there is great satisfaction in the actions we are carrying, we also help in changing the planing processes themselves. In line with our vision to steer the planning profession toward a more analytical and informed direction we also publish paper intended for the wider community in practice and academia. This past summer we have traveled to the bi-annual Space Syntax Symposium in Lisbon, where we presented two papers – the first focused on decision making processes using SPA and the second focused on rail planning (and I’ll discuss it in a future post).

The paper which I will expand on here (and which can be downloaded here) deals with three different projects. The first project was for Dov Airfield quarter which is a mixed-use quarter planned on an airfield that is scheduled to shut down in two years and is located at the northern part of the city of Tel Aviv. In this project we analyzed the planned street network to identify the potential centers of the new quarter and focus and planning and design efforts on the street segment with potential for lively urban functions. The second projects deals with improving the center of Rishon Letzion – a large suburb of Tel Aviv metropolitan area with a somewhat deteriorated center. In this project we identified the specific street segments where improvements will carry the most benefits for the city. The last project dealt with assessing regional roads on the northern fringe of Tel Aviv metropolitan area.

Our work in these projects show that SPA can help planning teams focus on the dynamics of the street network and the ways in which this network has an impact on transport planning and land use formation. I am confident that this field of practice will grow and help make urban planning better. In the picture below – part of the work done for Dov Airfield in order to identify the street segments and intersections with the highest urban potential. As mentioned before, the entire paper with all the explanations can be found here.