In Section 1 I
will be discussing the methodological framework of Kim Dovey’s interpretation
and the space syntax method pioneered by Bill Hillier and Julienne Hanson.
Section 2 will
rationalise the concept of Habitus, the resulting social behavior from which individuals perceive the social
world around them.
3 Case study Barcelona
4 Case study Nottingham
Section 1 – Analytical
Space Syntax is the theory of space
(Dursun, 2007:4) pioneered by Professor Bill Hillier and Professor Julienne
Hanson in the 1970s (Space Syntax Network, 2017: np) and will be used as a
baseline to form urbanistic parameters that are adapted to better suit this
essay. It was initially developed as an instrument for urban planning to
understand the relationship between humans and the space around them,
subsequently creating efficient environments adapted to its users (Weilguni, 2011: 15). The development of the syntactical method later on resulted in the
use of computer software where they could analyse larger urban systems (Weilguni,
2011: 16). In the analysis, space
syntax will be combined with other methods of analysis as there are dimensions
of the method that cannot be used.
Hillier and Hanson’s research investigates
the relationship between the spatial layout and social occasions, portraying
how the architecture of the city is held together by a network of space. (Space Syntax, 2012). The key methods used in their research that I have chosen to use are
movement patterns, human activity, and social interaction studies. (Space
Syntax Network, 2017: np). In order to broaden the scope of Space Syntax, memory studies and
identity of space will be used to complement the existing methodological
Movement – generic function of
street spaces (Al Sayed et al, 2014: 11) axial representation reveals local
network structure of street spaces (Al Sayed et al, 2014: 12).
Human activity & social interaction
There are restrictions in using
all characteristics that Hillier and Hanson have set out in their Space Syntax
approach, hence only choosing the limited methods named above. Such data that
is collected by their scientific technology is not accessible with the
resources available, therefore, cross referencing against Kim Dovey’s framework
will allow creation of my own hybrid analytical framework.
Methods of spatial syntax analysis
represent an attempt to reveal a deep social structuring of architectural
space. The Syntax analysis translates the plan into a diagram of how life and
social encounter is framed within it (Dovey, 2009: 106). The action within this
space is structured and shaped by the walls framed by the decisions of
designers, thus, built form constructs and frames meanings (Dovey, 2008: 1). FRAMING
Kim Dovey, in his ‘Framing Places’, (2008: 18)
expresses how Hillier and Hanson are seeking to uncover deep socio-spatial
structures, the ‘genotypes’ of architecture. Genotypes are clusters of spatial
segments structured in certain arrangements, the foundations of how we perceive
the space. Dovey sets out his own key
characteristics of an urban space, a format that can be used for analytical
observations. Dovey states that the ideas do not constitute to a theory and
should not be read as deterministic because you cannot predict the events of
humans in a space. Orientation, Public/Private, Access, History, Identity,
Scale and Place are a selection of the rules that establish Dovey’s list of
pragmatic analytical methods that are detailed below.
The orientation of the
architecture guides people through spatial framings of life, realigning our
attention and perceptions (Dovey, 2008:18). The arrangement of axes controls
the movement of people, governing the chosen paths through the space.
Publicity and privacy are
segments of space that act as routes through a place moving from actions under
surveillance to private actions. This can be shown in the precedent Ospedale
degli Innocenti in Florence, a renaissance foundling hospital designed by
Filippo Brunelleschi. (Moughtin, 2007: 103) Starting outside the building in a
public area, you move up the stairs through a set of arches into a semi-public courtyard
space and then entering into the private space of the building.
Cities are combinations of
buildings held together by a network of spaces flowing in-between the
blocks (Al Sayed et al, 2014:7). Access to a place establishes boundaries that
can segregate spaces by status, gender, race, culture, class and age, creating
pockets of community and amenity (Dovey, 2008:18).
This can be seen in === where
there is direct access between contested zones which are used on mass by
History is highlighted through the
representation of the building. Historically constructed meanings can be naturalized
to legitimize authority.
Identity – from an architectural perspective
identity arises from the belonging to a particular place. Through this attachment
to places, individuals derive a sense of belonging that gives meaning to their
lives. (Wennberg, 2015: 7-8)
Scale – A dominant built volume signifies
Place – the experience of place
has the capacity to ‘ground’ our being, and renders it vulnerable to the
ideological appropriations of power.
Identity – when people know what it is used for
Dominant – scale
· Movement patterns shaped by layout
· Security and insecurity affected by layout
· Spatial segregation & social
· Buildings create more interactive
From the studies of space syntax,
architects are able to simulate effects of their designs thus allowing for
development and new ideas for future designs (Space Syntax Network, 2017, np). These
designs can be used to determine the actions of humans and how they perceive
Buildings are composed of a series of spaces; each space has at least
one link to other spaces. The structural properties that comprise these spaces
and links might have an embedded social meaning that has implications on the
overall behaviour of human habitat. (Al Sayed et al, 2014:7)
Bourdieu’s focus on the social world has always
been a drive in sociology. This uses a variety of rules such as social
interaction, everyday life and social behaviour (Jenkins, 2002: 67)
Habitus is a system of embodied
dispositions, tendencies that organize the ways in which individuals perceive
the social world around them and how they react to it in certain ways
(Bourdieu, 1990: 52). Habitus is not a result of free will nor is it defined by
the structures but a result of the connection between both; dispositions are
both shaped by past events and structures which affect the condition of our own
perceptions. (Bourdieu 1984:170). Additionally, the disposition is often shared
with the community rather than the individual alone.
In relation to Space Syntax, Bourdieu
argued that the Habitus acquired through the imitation of the reflected group
culture with mixed personal histories, shaped the body and the mind and in the
process shaped social actions (Mupepi, 2017:79).
1. Barcelona wall
Barcelona’s urban characteristics
and tourist assets are the result of a long and complex evolution.
Barcelona has been a historically
contested urban environment and has often been the centre for social unrest (Casellas, 2009: 816).
In the mid 1800’s the population of Barcelona increased by 40 percent.
Therefore, to accommodate this growth the Madrid Government were compelled to
give permission for the removal of the Barcelona wall, opening up possibility
for urban expansion. (Casellas, 2009: 819).
The again in 1940 the population increased by 61 percent and
subsequently this unplanned urban growth was accompanied with social
segregation and urban conflict. (Casellas, 2009: 827).
The present structure of the city is divided into defined sections, the
Ciutat Vella District and the L’Eixample (Casellas, 2009: 816).
2. Eixample and old city
The first district is the medieval area of
winding streets and ancient buildings of the Ciutat Vella, the old city,
district. The second district is the L’Eixample, a residential and service
district that consists of nineteenth and twentieth century extensions of the
city under Ildefons Cerda’s plan of 1859. (Casellas, 2009: 816).
The contrast between L’Eixample and Ciutat
Vella is vast with the smaller winding streets of the Old city having no symmetrical
or geometrical patterns compared to the structured layout of L’Eixample. Figure
— shows L’Eixample to the west of Plaça de Catalunya and Ciutat Vella to the
East, highlighting the key structural differences.
The Ciutat Vella is the oldest part of Barcelona
including 5 districts with the southern area bordering the sea. It homes the
famous La Rambla street which was laid out in 1766, connecting Placa de
Catalunya to the port vell.
L’Eixample, the core of the city, features
a grid like layout with structured streets and blocks, designed by Ildefons
Cerdà with the commencement of the Cerdà Plan. The Cerdà Plan is a prominent
part in the history of urban planning, regarded as a scientific approach because
of the Space Syntax method (Porta, 2011:1473).
The central government of Madrid commissioned Ildefons Cerda to study the
extension of Barcelona and the renovation of the old city – the Cerda Plan.
The planning design resulted in octagonal blocks with chamfered corners
allowing the streets to open up to 20 meters wide (Casellas, 2009: 819).
The attempted vision for the project was to create gardens and green spaces in
every block through the city, but this was not supported due to the power of
conservative members who had a strong influence on the council’s decision. This
resulted in the rejection of the green spaces on the valuable real estate land (Casellas,
2009: 819), mainly allowed by Porcioles in the 1960’s during his time in office
The street structure created from the Cerda Plan is still visible almost
150 years after its commission even though the spatial consideration has run
its own course not conceived by the original planner (Porta, 2011:1474). Despite only having 90 percent of the
newly constructed housing complying with Cerda’s guidance, the connection of
the districts was successful with direct links between the L’Eixample and the Ciutat
Vella with Plaça de Catalunya at its heart.
3. Plaça de Catalunya
Plaça de Catalunya is the connection
between the Ciutat Vella (Old City) and the 19th century modernist
L’Eixample (Oh Barcelona, 2010), and was created in 1925-1927 by Puig I
Cadafalch (A View on Cities, 2017). Originally
the square was the demolition site to one of the many city walls before the construction
of housing. The housing was eventually bought by the local council along with
the land for the creation of Plaça de Catalunya. The square is now a hub of transport and the main
link connecting to the most famous streets in Barcelona, and for this reason it
is considered the heart of the city and point of reference in order to
orientate round the city.
Some of the cities most important streets and avenues meet at Plaça
de Catalunya, for example Passeig de Gracia, Rambla de Catalunya, La Rambla and
Portal de l’Angel. In total, the square has a connection to 9 streets with the
most famous being La Rambla. :32
South of Plaça de Catalunya, there are the
boulevards that run down to Port Vell on the Mediterranean Sea, commonly known
as La Rambla. This provides a main link to the centre of the city, and also
connects 2 regions of the Ciutat Vella. Las Ramblas is vibrant with many shops
and cafes, a very commercialised street, where the shops thrive off how the
street has become so pedestrianized and full of tourists. The connection of
this to the Plaça Catalunya provides a huge opportunity for people to filter
through the square and so providing access
The Plaça does not literally take the form
of a square, with a skewed edge on the South pointing to Las Ramblas.
Public & Private
large compass rose marks the centre of the square, framed by characteristic
buildings surrounding it.
ingles and the bank
The one-way street on the North East of
the square, Ronda de Sant Pere, passes all the way through the Plaça towards
the West leading straight down to the University, allowing traffic to run
easily minimalizing congestion. The
half pedestrianised street of Passeig de Gràcia runs North West from the square
being one of the most prominent avenues in Barcelona. The avenue contains some
of Barcelona’s most valued pieces of architecture and most prestigious shopping
thus being the central part of L’Eixample. Plaça de Catalunya connects all the
important avenues and routes, therefore allowing people to commute around the
city at ease.
All the roads
passing through the square have pedestrian pavements of similar size adjacent
to them. This establishes the pedestrianized environment that Place de
Catalunya strives to create. The square is entirely pedestrianized with no
vehicular access through the middle. STRUCTURE OF SQUARE.
square are a multitude of buildings that frame the Plaça. Much like Kim Dovey
suggests (2008:18) built form orientates how we see a space, reorienting its
subjects through spatial framings of everyday life. The large scaled buildings
that overlook the square channel our views to the centre of Plaça de Catalunya,
placing people and our actions under surveillance. The channelling of people
into the square enhances social encounter, bringing a variety subjects such as
social status, gender, race culture age and class. The primary research
undertaken at Plaça de Catalunya shows that the majority of people were between
the age of 16-35, with an equal split in gender. Noticeably, pushchairs were
situated around the square highlighting that infants were present too.
Old Market Square stands at the
centre of Nottingham, an area introduced by William Peveril, and later
redesigned by Architect Thomas Cecil Howitt, as a neutral ground for the 2
boroughs of Nottingham. Additionally, Old Market Square was used on occasion for
seasonal activities originally hosting the Goosefair up until 1927 and the
daily market until 1928 where it was repositioned in the Victoria Centre to
allow for redevelopment of the square (BBC Nottingham, 2008). The Council House
stands at the head of Market square, a building once known as The Exchange
before it was deemed the Civic Government Headquarters of Nottingham
(Nottingham City Council, 2016).
The council house depicts a 1920’s interpretation of
neoclassical design (Teece, 2007) with the Exchange arcade housing
a Neo-Baroque style (The Exchange, 2016). Neoclassicism was predominant
in European architecture from the late 18th century to the early 19th
century, including styles from Ancient Greece and Rome. An order appeared in
neoclassicism (Visual-arts, 2016) and to provide a sense of balance and harmony
the elements were arranged symmetrically (Serenbetz,
2016). It is the revival of classical
architecture, and is characterized by the magnificence of scale, and simplicity
of the geometric forms (Encyclopedia, 2013). The neoclassical style was a
symbol of national pride and achievement, usually reflecting the political
nature of their function (Cole, 2014).
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