I think perhaps we are taking a wrong tack in going for physical
attributes of streets or networks as defining characteristics.
Ruth suggests purpose should help the definition, but even that seems
flawed: whose purpose?
Although I wouldn't disagree too strongly with her analysis of what a
street achieves: to reach and/or be a destination or series of
The "and/or" needs a little clarification: it seems to me that a street
must lead from A to B, and as well has having intervening destinations
along its length (constituted in Ruth's terms). This distinguishes it
from a road or a path (which may simply go from A to B).
When a street becomes a square must surely be a question of how it is
used, rather than any physical attribute of it. Ruth suggests a
street's geometry is linear, I would suggest, a street's usage is mainly
along a single axis. This isn't a criticism of space syntax: it is my
belief that syntax is about propensity for use, rather than as a
predictor of use, although, if we looked, we might well find that
squares that are called squares have different relationships to the rest
of the network than those that are not (or maybe not).
To finish: to judge citiness by a physical attribute (e.g. density) is
surely just as flawed as to judge streetness by physical attribute. It
is interactions and engagements that make a city. Not that density is
not a useful indicator of citiness (just as physical attributes of an
animal might suggest their genus).
Stephen Marshall wrote:
> I still think it all depends on the purpose of what you are analysing,
> and the conclusions you intend to draw from the analysis.
> You could define and analyse
> - the public street network (as defined legally) - this may include
> 'fat' named spaces such as squares - for example in UK traffic
> regulation orders would typically include a combination of the named
> street/square and the physical extent (e.g. running from a to b) where
> the entity so defined need not be linear;
> - all private networks that are publicly accessible (with all the ramps
> and yards and royal parks)
> - all the private sections that are not publicly accessible;
> - all named streets / addresses (including courtyards, housing estates,
> - all axial lines
> - all numbered roads, etc.
> ...and measure properties of each of these netowrks individually and in
> combination and get different numbers, that will tell you different things.
> The problem of comparability of networks across cultures would seem no
> more or less difficult than the problem of comparing anything, for
> example, cities. (If comparing London Paris Brasilia, etc., how do you
> decide what to count as consituting the city?).
> (What is a city?)
> At 12:12 02/06/2007, you wrote:
>> We should not be interested in the LEGAL STATUS of places but whether
>> or not there is actual PRIVATE PHYSICAL CONTROL over their access at
>> any time. If there is, sorry, they are out of the analysis AS PUBLIC
>> PLACES, no matter that thousands of people love to interact WITHIN
>> shopping centres or any other kind of "non-places" (Auge) - very
>> typical of present day societies by the way.
>> If encounters in a particular society happen predominantly in private
>> spaces, this is indeed a cultural trait that has to be taken into
>> account, but this is another matter altogether, it has nothing to do
>> with the study of the structure of the public realm, and the study of
>> the street belongs here.
>> Sorry, syntax again...
>> Frederico de Holanda
>> Cond. Vivendas Colorado 1, Mod. J, Casa 1
>> 73070-015 Brasília DF
>> Fone / Phone: (0xx61) 34859641 / +556134859641
>> Celular / Mobile: (0xx61) 99861724 / +556199861724
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: Rui Carvalho <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
>> To: [log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Saturday, June 02, 2007 6:36 AM
>> Subject: Re: What is a street?
>> On Fri, 1 Jun 2007 12:00:52 -0300, Frederico de Holanda
>> <[log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>>
>> >In making axial maps, we use a very simple and unambiguous
>> procedure to
>> identify a STREET - and plot it in the axial map: it must be
>> PUBLIC, i.e.
>> there are no obstacles (any sort of PHYSICAL control) preventing
>> from accessing it from urban space at large.
>> >"Streets" in CLOSED condominiums are ignored and are NOT ploted
>> in the
>> >axial map - no matter how large the condominiums are (and they
>> can be
>> >quite large in Brazilian cities). And we did not need "semantics"
>> to it -
>> >this is pure syntax... After all, concerning streets, we are
>> studying the
>> >structure of the PUBLIC OPEN URBAN SPACE, aren't we?...
>> Well I thought you were studying the space where social
>> interaction can
>> happen (the social logic of ...?)... and in the UK that does not
>> need to
>> be public? The parks in London, for example, aren't they owned by the
>> Royal family? Aren't they private? What about the square around
>> Abbey in
>> Euston Rd? Great (private) place to eat your lunch if you work in the
>> area... BTW, I've had great social interaction on the ramp of
>> The point here is that the concept of public or private is
>> cultural: what
>> is considered private in one country may not be private in
>> another. So
>> looks like you DO need semantic information after all...
>> Try again ;)
>> >If we are to consider "private streets" I suggest we add to the
>> axial map
>> of London the axial map of the internal spaces of the British
>> Museum, the
>> Tate Gallery, The Royal Festival Hall, the residential towers in the
>> >Frederico de Holanda
>> >Cond. Vivendas Colorado 1, Mod. J, Casa 1
>> >73070-015 Brasília DF
>> >Fone / Phone: (0xx61) 34859641 / +556134859641
>> >Celular / Mobile: (0xx61) 99861724 / +556199861724
>> > ----- Original Message -----
>> > From: Lucas Figueiredo
>> > To: [log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
>> > Sent: Friday, June 01, 2007 9:17 AM
>> > Subject: Re: What is a street?
>> > On 01/06/07, Hoon Park <[log in to unmask]
>> <mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote:
>> > > So, if applying this 'rule' and rephrasing my question, can
>> we say
>> that a
>> > > little droop in the lower-tail of an observed degree
>> distribution may
>> > > reflect the incompleteness of the data in keeping a
>> consistent mapping
>> > > resolution? Or consequently, if continuity aggregation, or
>> any other,
>> > > makes the power-law hold better, can we say it is therefore a
>> > > of representing a street network? Or else, is a 'street'
>> perhaps any
>> > > linear aggregation of spaces that entails a power-law degree
>> > > at the higher-order level?
>> > It can reflect both things. The experiment is not independent
>> from the
>> > scientist. The lower-tails may be a problem with the data or
>> just the
>> > real phenomenon, why discard this hyphotesis? On the other
>> hand, the
>> > scientist may be well 'tweaking' the aggregation process, not to
>> > 'observe' the phenomenon, but to 'create' it.
>> > Apparently, as scientists does not care anymore to explain what
>> > are assuming before the experiments, being allowed even to
>> ignore the
>> > existence of whole fields such as space syntax, it is difficult to
>> > judge what is the phenomenon and what is simple play with different
>> > methods that will generate the phenomenon.
>> > Are we observing things or simulating things?
>> > Are we starting from questions or from answers?
>> > Best Regards,
>> > Lucas Figueiredo
>> > http://www.flickr.com/photos/lucasfigueiredo/
>> > Mindwalk
>> > http://www.mindwalk.com.br
>> > __________ Informação do NOD32 2304 (20070601) __________
>> > Esta mensagem foi verificada pelo NOD32 Sistema Antivírus
>> > http://www.nod32.com.br
>> __________ Informação do NOD32 2305 (20070601) __________
>> Esta mensagem foi verificada pelo NOD32 Sistema Antivírus
Course Director MSc Adaptive Architecture and Computation
Academic Director EngD VEIV Programme