5th December 2014

Integrating urban planning and local area development

Contemporary urbanism is confronted with the challenge of integrating different scales of planning into a single, coherent approach. Planning decisions made on regional and metropolitan levels cannot be conceived without understanding the impact they have on the local transformation of urban areas. <br>

Local planning strategies are most effective when they contribute to a wider strategy. Combining these approaches to harness their different strengths is a complex task, but one that offers a route to create greater benefits and shape the planning paradigm of our time.

Our ongoing work in Jeddah and around the world continues to present us with opportunities to investigate this challenge in different ways.

We wish you all Season’s Greetings and best wishes for 2015.


Dr Kayvan Karimi



Sub-regional Plan, Structural Plan and Local Plans for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Working in collaboration with AECOM, Space Syntax is playing a key role in a two-year planning project for the development of the Jeddah Sub-regional, Structural and Local plans for the Municipality of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. We are providing research, quantitative modelling, design and planning advice. Commissioned in February 2013, the first two parts of the project, the Sub-Regional and Structural Plans, are now completed and the final part, the Local Plan, is expected to conclude in March 2015.

The project will produce plans of the city for the next 20 years, affecting millions of current and future residents of Jeddah. The key contribution of Space Syntax to the project includes a highly advanced ‘integrated urban model’ of the city which creates the basis for the precedent studies, baseline research, option assessments and option development at all scales of the project.

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Jeddah Strategic Plan

The Municipality of Jeddah


Project Directors
Dr Kayvan Karimi, Director
Ed Parham, Associate Director

2013 – ongoing

Transdanube, Romania

Together with Mila 23, the Association founded by former Olympic athlete Ivan Patzaikin, Space Syntax Romania has helped develop a sustainable transport strategy for Romania’s Regional Development Agency, as a component of the European project Transdanube. This strategy builds on the work presented by the group at an event in the London office more than a year ago. Space Syntax Romania has since developed proposals for a more sustainable, network-based concept for public transport and tourism operators, as well as regulation and management tools for all modes of transportation.

The Line – a sculpture walk for London

Space Syntax has joined The Line, a Community Interest Company set up by Megan Piper and Clive Dutton. We are contributing to the spatial development of a ground breaking sculpture walk in East London which is connecting the O2 centre in North Greenwich with the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford. Artists, galleries and collections are proposing art works for inclusion to an independent selection panel. The Line will create a permanent outdoor exhibition space with new works introduced every year.

Knowledge dissemination on Space Syntax’s evidence-based approach in China

Dr. Kayvan Karimi travelled to Guangzhou, South China to give a lecture at the South China University of Technology (SKUT), on the application of analytical and evidence-based methods of space syntax and their applications to Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE). It was followed by a joint research workshop on POE studies with Professor Alexi Marmot of UCL, Professor Wu and his research group at SKUT. At a separate event Dr. Karimi gave a lecture, titled: ‘Space Syntax Methodology and Commercial Planning’ to senior managers and staff of Yuexiu Property, one of the largest urban development companies in China.

ASLA 2014 conference in Denver with Land Collective

Anna Rose spoke at the ASLA 2014 in Denver, Colorado. She contributed to a panel discussion on ‘Empathy-driven design and 21st century social spaces’, alongside landscape architect David Rubin, principal of Land Collective and sociologist Stephane Tonnelat, fellow at the Center for International Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences (CIRHUS), based at New York University.

2014 ASLA Professional Honor Award given to Union Square, National Mall

We are delighted that the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has awarded Gustasfson Guthrie Nicholson one of the 2014 Professional Honor Awards in the category Analysis and Planning, for their competition winning proposal ‘Unified Ground: Union Square National Mall’ for the Trust for the National Mall. The competition design emphasised two aspects—the monumental and the daily lived experience—which are essential components of a healthy and engaged public. Space Syntax has contributed to the design by effectively embedding Union Square in the pedestrian network of this important part of the National Mall and the surrounding city.

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Darwin City Centre Masterplan wins excellence award

The Darwin City Centre Masterplan has won the Victorian Planning Institute of Australia’s Planning Excellence Award. Space Syntax has played a significant role in the development of the masterplan design, collaborating closely with the Melbourne-based lead urban designer, Design Urban. The project is now expected to move onto detailed design stages.

HCA multidisciplinary panel framework

Space Syntax is part of two teams, one led by AECOM and one led by Savills, which have been successfully appointed as HCA multidisciplinary panel members for 2014 – 2018. Space Syntax has recently been working for the HCA on a number of projects, including the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone project.

Leading the SMART approach in the area of spatial planning and design

Space Syntax has been contributing to the worldwide discussion on Smart Cities and Future Cities by sharing our evidence-based techniques and experience in spatial planning and design.

Tim Stonor gave a keynote speech at the Nikkei Smart City Week conference in Yokohama, Japan, in October 2014. His presentation is summarised on his blog. His recent thoughts on smart cities/future cities are also summarised in a Japanese architectural magazine a+u: “Space Syntax: A SMART Approach to Urban Planning, Design and Governance“.

Bill Hillier delivered the opening speech for the Smarter London Exhibition opening at the NLA. A short film on our SMART approach (Sensing, Mapping, Analysing, Reacting and Testing) is being shown at theexhibition, which runs until the 18th December 2014.