Spatial Configurations and Walkability Potentials: Measuring Urban Compactness with Space Syntax

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    This contribution demonstrates how space syntax methods on various scale levels can be used to identify and describe the spatial features of a compact city. Firstly, the term urban compactness is discussed. A short discussion of some writings on the compact city are elaborated. As it transpired, urban compactness can best be approached from a spatial topological point of view, since compactness is a topological property. Secondly, urban compactness will be reconsidered in spatial configurative terms through the use of space syntax and urban micro scale tools. Examples from car-, pedestrian-, and public transport-based centres in Oslo and Bergen will be used throughout this contribution. Discussions of the examples in this contribution are discussed with references to other space syntax research results. As the case studies show, enhancing compact neighbourhoods with good walkability potential from a spatial perspective relies on spatial interaccessibility on all scale levels. Accessibility depends on spatial configurative compactness. Seemingly, it depends on the following complex set of sufficient conditions: a spatially integrated street network on all scale levels, short urban blocks and streets with building entrances with windows and doors on the ground floor level.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number5785
    Number of pages25
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


    • urban compactness
    • space syntax
    • walkability potentials
    • sustainable urban centres
    • street safety
    • building–street interfaces


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