Where We Walk Is What We See: Foundational Concepts and Analytical Techniques of Space Syntax

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The most difficult issue in writing a methods paper on Space Syntax is that it is not simply a method. It is a theory on which a methodology has been built. In the 40 years since introduction, both its theory and its methods have advanced, including the creation and development of computerized software. Essentially Space Syntax investigates layouts, seen in plan drawings; but this is done from mature theoretical arguments about function in those spaces. While theories of society were at the genesis of Space Syntax, it has branched into cognition, transportation, economics, and so on, and has been used to investigate buildings, cities, and regions. In the last decade or so, Space Syntax has been used in different ways to investigate healthcare facilities. This article concentrates on explaining the analytical techniques of Space Syntax. The theoretical underpinnings are minimally described—just enough for the reader to understand the basis of the methods. All examples provided are based on the same hypothetical hospital floor layout for ease of comprehension and comparison. Also, all Space Syntax concepts are italicized for identification. Since the theoretical aspects are not treated in detail, the reader is advised to pay particular attention to the citations for advanced comprehension. This cannot be overemphasized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-25
Number of pages15
JournalHealth Environments Research and Design Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Space Syntax
  • evidence-based design
  • layout analysis
  • spatial measures
  • visibility–accessibility


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