The Uses of Space Syntax Historical Research for Policy Development in Heritage Urbanism

  • Garyfalia PalaiologouEmail author
  • Sam Griffiths
Part of the The Urban Book Series book series (UBS)


The application of space syntax methods to heritage-related questions has a long track record both in the field of space syntax research and beyond, for example in archaeology. These studies deploy the theories and methods of space syntax to explore the sociocultural dimension embedded in spatial systems of historic and archaeological significance. Space syntax analysis provides a link between the material and immaterial aspects of ‘spatial’ culture. It offers a critique of built environment typologies defined in terms of stylistic periodisation by advancing an understanding of the role of spatial configuration in the production and reproduction of space–time events. In the context of urban heritage studies, this means looking beyond the value of buildings as individual objects to buildings as elements in emergent arrangements of social space. Building on the comprehensive review of the disciplinary interface between urban history and space syntax historical studies provided by Griffiths (The use of space syntax in historical research: current practice and future possibilities, 2012), this chapter advances ‘heritage urbanism syntax’ with the aim of orientating this body of historical research towards contemporary issues of urban heritage. It identifies three kinds of heritage urbanism syntax: (1) conservation areas; (2) street scales and (3) spatial cultures in order to assist critical reflection on the application of this perspective to urban heritage contexts. The chapter highlights how a diachronic understanding of spatial cultures enables an integrative approach to heritage urbanism that situates heritage within both historical and contemporary urban landscapes. It describes the potential contribution of space syntax to inclusive bottom-up definitions of heritage and resilient heritage futures.


Space syntax Heritage History Historical research Spatial cultures 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Architecture, Civil and Building EngineeringLoughborough UniversityLoughboroughUK
  2. 2.Space Syntax Laboratory, The Bartlett School of ArchitectureUniversity College LondonLondonUK

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