“Form Syntax” as a contribution to geodesign: A morphological tool for urbanity-making in urban design

Yu Ye, A. Yeh, Y Zhuang, Akkelies van Nes, J. Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Creating vibrant urban places is a challenging task in urban design due to the intangible feature of urbanity. This paper presents Form Syntax, a design analytical tool that is capable of assisting urbanity making in design practices based on understandings of three essential urban morphological elements and their influences on urbanity. Using the geographical information system (GIS), Form Syntax integrates three methods—Space Syntax, Spacematrix, and Mixed-Use Index—to measure the street-network configuration, building density, and functional mix, respectively. These three components can be quantified and combined to represent urban morphological features, thereby providing a classification of the degree of urbanity. Form Syntax contributes to geodesign by combining quantitative tools with traditional, intuition-based design to achieve a clear visualisation of the degree of urbanity of a place, which can subsequently be used to propose spatial strategies for enhancing vibrant urban places. The Dutch city of Rotterdam is used to illustrate how the tool improves the traditional site analysis, idea evaluation, and proposal evaluation phases of urban design. A GIS add-in has been developed to enhance the appeal of Form Syntax among urban design practitioners.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
JournalUrban Design International
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Dec 2016


  • urban morphology
  • urban design
  • geodesign
  • Space Syntax
  • urbanity


Dive into the research topics of '“Form Syntax” as a contribution to geodesign: A morphological tool for urbanity-making in urban design'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this