Space Syntax provides creative expertise in architecture & urban planning. Operating worldwide, we combine global design experience with advanced digital technologies that forecast the social, economic & environmental impacts of development.
We help shape policies, planning strategies & design proposals that benefit people, property & the environment.
Our service offer
From individual buildings to entire cities, we create compelling visions of the future that enhance the lives of the people that use them.
With over 30 years of global experience, we assemble & lead expert teams, covering all aspects of urban planning & design and building on rigorous research foundations.
We deliver expert urban planning & design advice at all stages of the project lifecycle: from site assessment & policy review to design evaluation & in-use appraisal.
Our focus on people & place adds value to planning & design strategies. We support projects with evidence rich insights that guide decision-takers.
We train individuals & organisations in the use of the Space Syntax approach: from executive training events to advanced-user courses.
Our training packages cover the urban planning & design principles we work to, as well as the computational tools we employ in professional practice.
Through in-house research, as well as partnerships with academic institutions worldwide, we investigate the fundamental issues that will shape the future of buildings & urban places.
With a focus on the climate emergency, health & social inequalities, we address the questions raised by global practice.
We develop digital modelling tools to forecast the social, economic & environmental performance of buildings & urban places.
Our work addresses the ‘smart cities’ technology challenges of delivering low carbon performance, healthy living & access to opportunities.
“I know that these techniques work from the tough environment of practice. I love the world of analysis, observation, of research, but also passion, imprecision, the hunch. Space Syntax is the testing of the interaction of these opposing worlds.”
Experience & expertise
We are a practice of architects, urban planners, policy analysts, data scientists, digital developers, project managers, communications, operations and finance specialists.
“A natural solution made commercially obvious.”
Simon Harris & Co.
Working with public, private and community organisations, we apply a range of science-based, digital modelling tools to the process of architectural design and urban planning, taking a principled, human-focused approach. From strategic spatial models that provide a rapid, robust picture of mobility and location hierarchy, to micro-simulations and Integrated Urban Models that use AI techniques to explore social, economic and environmental datasets, our objective is always the creation of thriving life in buildings and urban places. In doing so, we help people see, in clear and straightforward terms, how space can be designed to optimise its human performance.
Through a historic programme of internal research and an international network of university collaborations, we continuously develop our digital technologies and design methods. This process of incremental improvement is peer reviewed, published and presented at significant academic events. We have found that the live-testing of new ideas is an accelerator of innovation.
In parallel with project-based applications, we disseminate the Space Syntax Approach through multiple free and paid-for channels. We provide training that is tailored to client needs, ranging from short CPD sessions to multi-year programmes. These courses are supported by the Online Training Platform, a free-to-use resource that acts as the instruction manual for the Space Syntax Toolkit, our open source software suite. We also make spatial modelling datasets available, on a fee-based and open basis, the latter including the OpenMapping model of the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. Our goal is to embed the Space Syntax Approach in urban planning and design practice.
Our core values
To create Thriving life in buildings and urban places: enhancing the social, economic and environmental performance of building and urban places by applying, developing and disseminating a unique, science-based and human-focused approach to their planning, design and operation.
A built environment in which life thrives. This requires the right balance of connectivity, movement, awareness, encounter and exchange at every scale of placemaking.
To provide knowledge, leadership, tools and support to all involved in the creation of buildings and urban places.
Our science-based, human-focused approach unites what professional disciplines often divide. We lead or support multi-disciplinary teams, acting as a bridge between economics, planning, architecture, transport, landscape, engineering, stakeholder engagement, heritage and other disciplines. Space Syntax is expert, independent and widely respected for the support we provide to public, private and community-based decision takers. Our work is supported by internationally significant academic research.
Why space matters
The spatial layout of buildings and urban places exert a powerful influence on human behaviour. The way that people move, interact and transact is directly influenced by how they connect as networks of space.
Space connects or segregates; brings people into social and economic relationships or keeps them apart; helps people save time or consigns them to carbon-intensive lifestyles; enhances real estate value or damages investments; increases safety or encourages criminal behaviour. Well designed spatial layouts produce safe and vibrant places and, in doing so, create enormous levels of social, economic and environmental capital. Poor layouts risk functional failure, loss of investment and social harm. The urban landscape is littered with failed development, much of it caused by misunderstanding how spatial layout affects human performance.
Space Syntax provides a science-based and human-focused approach to the urban planning and design process. We help people to see, in clear and straightforward terms, how buildings and urban places can be designed to optimise their functional performance.
Our unique contribution is in the discovery of fundamental links between spatial layout decisions and the social, economic and environmental performance of places. The Space Syntax approach provides insights that demonstrate how spatial layout directly affects:
mobility – we analyse pedestrian, cycle and vehicle movement patterns and forecast future flows
land use – we evaluate how land use performance is deeply influenced by spatial location
safety – we identify, mitigate and avoid risk so that safer places can be created
land value – we demonstrate the influence of spatial networks on property economics
carbon emissions – we highlight the contribution of spatial planning and design to environmental impacts.
Space Syntax works to de-risk property investment decisions, showing how the spatial layout of places can be optimised to enhance the social, economic and environmental value of developments.
Using a highly graphic, data-rich and audience-engaging set of techniques, we help our clients achieve powerful results quickly.
“The perspective you brought to our campus masterplanning exercise was invaluable. Space Syntax is the best thing we’ve come upon in a long time.”
Executive Vice President of Auraria Higher Education Center in Denver
The Space Syntax approach adds value to projects in three key ways:
1. Revealing unseen opportunities & creating better ideas
This is the key strength of the Space Syntax approach. Our reputation is based on a highly creative use of technology to identify the essential design features of urban and building design projects. These are typically aspects of the location, linkage, layout, land use and landscaping of projects that influence human activity and, in doing so, drive the social, economic and environmental performance of places. By carefully recording and systematically analysing how buildings and urban places work we generate insights that unlock problems and inspire designs.
2. Measuring & improving the likelihood of success
The Space Syntax approach is built on a set of science-based methods that forecast whether proposed policies, strategies, plans, and designs will work to create the social, economic and environmental benefits that they are expected to.
We give stakeholders and decision-makers reassurance when a design is developing in a favourable way, or we alert them when it is in danger of going off track and they need to act.
In the latter case, our approach helps to reduce or mitigate the risk of functional failure. In every case, the Space Syntax approach aims to boost ‘returns’ of many sorts: land value, rental income from, for example, enhanced footfall in retail areas, safety in streets and buildings, and increased interaction between people in buildings.
Our evidence-based approach quantifies key performance characteristics of buildings and urban places. Our methods forecast future outcomes, allowing planning and design strategies to be optimised towards desired goals.
3. Facilitating communication on project teams & with stakeholders
We speak a common language of spatial planning and human performance design that bridges across disciplinary boundaries. We translate the objectives of planners, designers, transport engineers, economists, developers, investors and members of the public in such a way that they can be understood by all and organised into meaningful, practical frameworks for action.
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