Good point. I am also intrigued by your addendum on the website. The
comparison between your VGA approach and Braaksma and other's approach makes
sense. It perhaps also raises an important question: "whats the more
suitable approach?" for understanding the influence of built structure on
human cognition. After all, that's where it all ends and remains the
"selling point" and challenging aspect of the experiment. In my opinion,
Braaksma and other's approach is perhaps a true but difficult and direct
approach on understanding the influence of built-structure, well at least it
makes an attempt. The open-space based VGA is more simpler and hence more
popular. I raised the issue in the following editorial.
Dare I say that perhaps we need to propose a new term for all
techniques/tools that use non-conventional SS methods for understanding the
structure of space?
Sent: 27 January 2004 13:45
Subject: Re: Space Syntax and Benedikt
We were discussing "what makes a tool a space syntax tool", not "what is
I am sure Bill will answer, but space syntax itself has never been defined
in terms of the tools it uses. The theory to attempts to understand the
links between society and spatial configuration, at whatever level, be it
of village settlements, the layout of a tribespeople's hut, or an entire
city. The findings of space syntax researchers have been that these links
tend to be made through the relationships of 'spaces' to each other, and
hence a space syntax tool is one, as Bill says, which regards the
'extrinsic' measures of relationships between spatial entities (as he says,
isovists, points, etc).
As for Braaksma and Cook: no, this is not space syntax. Why not? Because
it regards the relationship of the built elements, not the configuration of
space. For this reason, other graphing representations, though clearly
related, are not space syntax (for example, de Floriani et al mapping
visibility graphs of transmitters, and so on).
I have added a paragraph on the visibility graph analysis page at UCL on
Jake Desyllas wrote:
> Professor Bill Hillier wrote:
> >Dear Jake - Space syntax is the application of 'configurational' measures
> >to spatial systems represented as sets of discrete geometrical elements,
> >whether points, lines, convex elements, isovists, or whatever.
> >'Configurational' means 'extrinsic' measures of the relations between
> >geometrical element and all others, or well-defind subsets of them. So
> >Benedicts isovists are not space syntax, but Depthmap is. This is the
> >set out in 'The Social Logic of Space' and it seems to cover the ground.
> Dear Bill,
> Thanks for this, it is a very clear and useful definition. However, do
> you think it might become a bit limiting to define the research in terms
> of the tools being used, rather than the social questions that are of
> interest? Isn t there some shared research field that both Benedikt s
> work and your work might be said to contribute to?
> By the way, what do you think about Braaksma and Cook s work on
> visibility graphs? Would you say that it is part of space syntax
> research or would you call it something else?
> Kind regards,
> Dr. Jake Desyllas
> Intelligent Space Partnership
> 81 Rivington Street
> EC2A 3AY
> t: 020 7739 9729
> f: 020 7739 9547
> e: [log in to unmask]
> w: http://www.intelligentspace.com
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