Using space syntax to regenerate the historic centre of Jeddah

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UIA WORLD CONGRESS Tools for governance Turin, 2nd July 2008 Prof Bill Hillier University College London Tim Stonor & Dr Kayvan Karimi Space Syntax Limited Using space syntax to regenerate the historic centre of Jeddah or why we need architectural models of whole cities Using space syntax to regenerate the historic centre of Jeddah UIA WORLD CONGRESS Prof Bill Hillier University College London

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UIA WORLD CONGRESS Tools for governance Turin, 2nd July 2008 Prof Bill Hillier University College London Tim Stonor & Dr Kayvan Karimi Space Syntax Limited Using space syntax to regenerate the historic centre of Jeddah or why we need architectural models of whole cities

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My presentation today is about how we can use a new architectural technique called space syntax, invented at University College London and exploited by its spin-out company, Space Syntax Limited, to masterplan the regeneration of the declining historic city centre of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. The technique integrates architecture, urban design, planning and transport planning in a unique and powerful way. I have two core arguments. The first is is that you cannot separate the problem of the historic city centre from its much larger context, and even from the structure of the whole city. The centre is a multi-scale. The second is that we need architectural techniques – that is, spatial and physical design techniques - at the larger urban scale we normally associate with planning, if we are to solve problems like these.

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The form of the presentation will be that we will: first explain the space syntax technique, and how it has given rise to a new theory of the city as a self-organising system, which we call the city creating process and a new conception of the good city then explain how the technique can be used to resolve a multi-scale problem such as the historic city centre of Jeddah.

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Space syntax is about going from this… to this…

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Cities are large collections of buildings held together by a network of space: the street network. The network is the largest thing in the city. It is what holds it together. It has an architecture, that is a certain geometry and topology, that is, a certain pattern of connections. What is space syntax ? It starts with the spatial architecture of the city

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Urban models were planning based and back-grounded the network In the past, little attention has been paid to this network by theory or research, because nobody knew how. Urban models, for example, have taken a planning view and divided the city up into areas to analyse it. Such models have their uses but they are insensitive to the architectural level at which decisions are taken in real projects. And they led traffic engineers to believe, and us to be persuaded, that movement was independent of place – perhaps the cardinal C20 error.

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Space syntax is an architectural approach to modelling cities Space syntax is a new architectural way of modelling cities, for both research and design, by looking first at the architecture of the street network. It starts at the level of the segment of the street between junctions and uses some simple mathematics to analyse its geometry and topology and to establish what movement each segment would carry if people moved from all parts of the grid to all others. It measures these movement potentials for different scales of movement, from local to global, and makes different assumptions about how people judge distances in selecting routes and destinations. So it gives us a rich matrix of network measures to structure explore and function in cities.

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The analysis identifes structures, global and local, in the space network The analysis identifies different kinds of structures, global and local, in the network, and makes them visible by colouring segments red for high movement potentials through to blue for low. On the left we see the movement potentials of each of the 285,000 segments of London within the M25 for large scale movement. It predicts the real main movement arteries. On the right we see a much finer-scale structure for local movement potentials up to 750m. The red pattern you see is essentially London’s ‘urban villages’ and the links between them.

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A new discovery: the architecture of the network shapes movement This ‘network first’ approach has led a key discovery about cities: that in an of itself the architecture of the network shapes movement flows. Research shows that between 60% and 80% of the movement flows on streets are due to the structure of the network, that is to the potential flows identified mathematically. This does not mean that space determines individual movement. It means that if people go under their own volition from everywhere to everywhere else, some spaces get more used than others. A new discovery: the architecture of the network shapes movement This ‘network first’ approach has led to a key discovery about cities: that in and of itself the architecture of the network shapes movement flows. Research shows that between 60% and 80% of the movement flows on streets are due to the structure of the network, that is to the potential flows identified mathematically. This does not mean that space determines individual movement. It means that if people go under their own volition from everywhere to everywhere else, some spaces get more used than others.

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The grid-movement relation is the key to self-organisation in cities But by examining real movement patterns in cities, we have shown that people move by reading the angular geometry of the network, not actual metric distances. This means we can approximate movement potentials from the architecture of the network and of course for new designs inserted into the network. But, more importantly, once the influence of the grid on movement is understood it opens then way for a new theoretical understanding of the city as a self-organising system through what we call the city-creating process.

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Self-organisation works through a generic city-creating process It works like this. Because the network structure shapes flows, it also shapes land use patterns, in that movement-seeking land uses seek locations that the grid has already made movement-rich, while others, often including residences, migrate to less-movement rich parts of the network. Economic values follow this process. With feedback and multiplier effects – once one shop appears, others follow -this is the fundamental ‘city creating process’ by which cities evolves from collections of buildings to living cities, with busy and quiet zones, often in close juxtaposition, and with differentiation of areas according to the detail of how they are embedded in the larger scale grid.

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A new definition of the good city: the city of pervasive centrality This leads us to a new definition of the spatial form of cities. Cities in general – and not just ‘organic’ cities - self-evolve into a foreground network of linked centres at all scales, from a couple of shops and a café through to whole sub-cities, set into a background network of largely residential space. Good cities, we suggest, have pervasive centrality in that centrality functions diffuse throughout the network. The pattern is far more complex than envisaged in theories of polycentrality. Pervasive centrality is spatially sustainable because it means that wherever you are you are close to a small centre and not far from a much larger one.

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So, what can a space syntax model do? A space syntax model of a city gives you: a way of researching site and context to establish existing dynamics a means of approximating movement patterns at the design stage a theory capable of building the city-creating process into design. And above all perhaps: a way of working across scales from local to global with the same tool a way of integrating data of all kinds into a functionally intelligent model for the city. FURTHER READING Hillier & Iida 2005 Network and psychological effects in urban movement (.pdf version  1.2 MB)

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So let me persuade you that this all makes sense and that we are identifying meaningful structures in the urban grid by looking at Jeddah. Above left we see one of the unplanned areas of of Jeddah with all the shops marked in red, clearly the result of the kind of process we have described. On the right we see one of our spatial measures of movement potential – essentially it measures passing trade potentials using least angle change routes – calculated up to a radius or 2.5 kilometres, so only allowing for trips up to this length. The agreement between the two patterns is not quite perfect, but it is remarkable. The city-creating process in action

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Applying the method and theory in design So this is the method and the theory. How can we apply all this in design? Essentially, the procedure is this: - we build a model of the site and its context, usually the whole city these days - we test the model against existing movement flows and land use patterns - we can then use the verified model to test out designs by inserted them into the model and re-running the analysis, - and suggest new design ideas from the analysis.

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The case study: reversing the decline of Jeddah historic centre So now let us look at our case study: how to reverse the decline of the historic centre of Jeddah. Our aim is to show how we can use space syntax modelling - to clarify design and planning problems - to make design intuitions into testable propositions - to show how different aspects of the city – building conditions, densities and so on inter-relate to each other and to space - to show how critical the interdependence of scales is in this case. The case study Reversing the decline of Jeddah’s historic centre

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We cannot do justice to this large and complex study in a few minutes, so my aim is to show how the syntax method can be used: - to solve the spatial connection problems that contribute much to the current decline of the historic centre - to show how other hard factors (land uses and densities) and soft factors (surface treatments, addition of markers to spaces) can be related to the spatial issues and so generate an overall, more synthetic and evidence-based approach to design. Solving spatial problems first

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The historic centre The Historic Core is the oldest part of the City of Jeddah and represents the nucleus of development for the entire city. Jeddah thrived as an important crossroads of major sea and land routes, including routes linking the port to Madinah and the Holy City of Makkah. Madinah Road Makkah Road

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Makkah Road Waterfront Area Central Unplanned Areas Old Airport Site Historic Core Madinah Road The current context In addition to its remarkable historic and cultural assets, the modern day historic core is surrounded by a combination of prime developable land and dense, unplanned settlements – so a classic problem for design and planning to combine sensitivity to history with future needs and pressing social problems. Makkah Road

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Growth 60 years ago the centre was a kilometre across

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51 km Rapid urban expansion Since then, rapid urban expansion means the city is now 51 kilometres from north to south.

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Drivers of growth As the city expanded over time it was driven by two competing forces, radial growth around the historic core and linear growth along the Makkah and Madinah Roads.

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Old airport & unplanned settlements Barriers to radial growth In the 1960s and 1970s, car driven growth along the Makkah and Madinah corridors outstripped radial growth around the centre. The first Jeddah International Airport acted as an barrier to growth in the north eastern direction. Major ring roads were introduced during this period that pierced the increasingly dense unplanned areas to the east and south of the historic core. As these settlements grew denser and more impoverished, they began to act as a barrier to growth and investment, which only increased the incentive to develop to the north and east. Old airport Unplanned settlements Unplanned settlements Unplanned settlements

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Unplanned settlements are mixed-use and have an internal structure At the same time, the unplanned areas around the historic centre have a remarkable blend of mixed land uses, including some of the highest residential densities in Jeddah - nearly 500 people per hectare – and as we will see, each has a strong internal structure. Al Hindawiyah As Sabil Historic Core Al Amariyah Al Kandarah An Nazlah Al Baghdadiyah Ash Sharafiyah As Sahifah

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Progressive spatial isolation of the centre with growth The historic core is close to the key routes, the Makkah Road & Madinah Road. But they bypass it and leave it as a relatively isolated area in the centre of Jeddah. This level of isolation in the centre is quite unusual for such a central area in the city. Historic Core Madinah Road Makkah Road

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The current spatial isolation of the centre Zooming in, the figure to the left clearly demonstrates the structural segregation of the historic core from its surroundings. This can be seen in the dense concentration of green and blue lines in the area, which represent streets that are more difficult to get to and less likely to be passed through, and so less integrated into the network than those coloured in red or orange. Historic Core

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Existing New plan Former plan We can show the structural isolation of the historic centre in two more ways First we analyse the whole structure of Jeddah as it has evolved. We see the ‘integration core’ of Jeddah has moved to the north and east of the old centre, which is now a green patch rather than a focus of red and orange lines. We then expand the analysis to include all current plans for extending the city. And re-run the analysis. We see that the structure of the city has moved even more decisively north and east and the old centre has become blue as well as green. In other word, current plans will exacerbate the structural problems of the city Effects of growth on the centre show former plans are unsustainable Historic Core Historic Core

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We can show this dramatically by colouring up all the street segments in Jeddah according to how much urban integration each gains by the planned new developments. Red means high. We see that all the gains are away from the old centre, and none are in the centre itself. The plans would make the structural problems of the city worse rather than better. Historic Core

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The centre becomes weaker as the scale of context increases 400 metres from each segment 2000 metres from each segment 10000 metres from each segment The whole of Jeddah from each segment At 10,000m east-west links fade. We can see how the structure of the core changes with increasing radius. At 400m a complex of centres and sub-centres. At 2,000m, only the main centre. At 10,000m the east west links fade and, for the whole of Jeddah, even the north-south line fades. The centre becomes weaker as the scale of context increases At 400m we see a pattern of centres and sub-centres. At 2000m the centre appears but not the sub-centres.

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Makkah Road Waterfront Area Central Unplanned Areas Old Airport Site Historic Core Madinah Road Makkah Road So the problems of the centre are glocal not local So the problems of the centre are rooted in history, but they are structural – and space syntax enables us to see how they are so. We have also seen that the old centre has a structure, but it has become over-localised and disconnected form the city. The task then is not so much to re-design the old centre as to reconnect it. So the problem of the old centre is linked to two other key planning aims of the Jeddah authority: - to re-integrate the unplanned settlements into the urban and social structure of the city; and - the development of key adjacent sites, such as the harbour, the waterfront area and the old airport.

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The unplanned settlements have good internal, but not external, structures So what might we mean by aiming to re-integrate the unplanned settlements into the urban structure ? If we analyse them syntactically, we find that although at the global scale each forms a relatively isolated patch in the urban structure, if we analyse them locally, we find in all cases that the settlements have strong internal structures which relate well to patterns of public activity and land use – as we saw in the example we showed. This can provide our starting point.

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Globally important routes Connecting locally routes Realignment and extension of intermediary routes Intermediary important routes Roads Locally important routes Using syntax to re-integrate settlements while preserving internal structures Analysis Intervention We start with the existing local structures in each settlement and first improve their connection to the links to the larger scale network. We then relate these links to the larger scale network. We use space syntax simulation at every stage to check the effects of each step.

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Transformability index Linking space to other factors Public Realm index Utilities Realm index We can also use the space syntax model to relate non-spatial factors, such as building condition, which we call the ‘Transformability Index’, the provision and quality of public space, which we call the Public Realm Index, and the availability of utilities and services, which we call the Utilities Index. By building these into the syntax model, all these factors can integrated into the design process. For example, there is often a choice between two alternative reconnection or road widenings, and this allows us to take the option with the least economic and social cost.

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Adapting the network WATERFRONT OLD AIRPORT THE SOUTH We can then transform selected local alignments to form a network of larger scale streets, which both connect to the main entry points of the old city but also form a secondary network to link the unplanned settlements to each other.

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Historic core Parking/Mixed use 25-50% Non-Residential 0-25% Non-Residential 75-100% Non-Residential Linking space structure to land use patterns And we can use our knowledge, including the local knowledge we acquired during the analysis phase, of the interdependence of land uses and space structure to assign land uses to the new network. Much of this will happen, of course, after the initial changes are made to the network though the city creating process..

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Linking space structure to densities Historic core The syntactic values which approximate likely movement rates and establish the relative importance of each alignment at different scales can also be used to govern building heights and densities. This will establish a relation between building heights and public activity in each space, and this in turn will enhance public activity.

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Adding a new transport structure to the adapted network Shared space (pedestrians / buses) Pedestrian Priority area Secondary public transport network Primary public transport network Multi-modal transport interchange Old Airport Site Waterfront Al Balad Khozam Area We can also support this with a new public transport network, designed to enhance the new street network.

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Makkah Road Waterfront Area Central Unplanned Areas Old Airport Site Historic Core Madinah Road Makkah Road Redevelopment of the old airport site We must also take the old city into account in developIng the 1200 hectare old airport site as a new central business district. How to develop the old and new cities so they work symbiotically?

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The syntax analysis suggests a key new linkage Again the space syntax analysis suggests an opportunity in the form of an existing alignment potentially linking the heart of the new Central Business District (CBD) with a major public space on the edge of the historic core. Old airport site Historic core

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WATERFRONT Jeddah Boulevard The new ‘Jeddah Boulevard’ This concept then became the guiding idea for the whole new CBD development: Jeddah Boulevard Old airport site Historic core

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To Al Bay'ah Square/ Central Square “Parkway” boulevards New Midway Square Jeddah Boulevard Old Airport Site Strategic axes prolonged through areas of unplanned development Accessible and integrated street layout To Makkah Jeddah Boulevard in context The plan for the new CBD was then developed around this core idea.

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Again scaling architecture to the syntactic importance of alignments With architecture that reflects the syntactic power of the new alignments.

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Makkah Road Central Unplanned Areas Old Airport Site Historic Core Madinah Road Makkah Road Redeveloping the Waterfront Area Similarly, the relation to the historic city defined to approach to the development of the Waterfront Area of 500 hectares. Waterfront Area

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Syntax identifies key new linkages to the historic centre and other adjacent areas Critical were new bridges, including a pedestrian bridge, in locations which the syntax analysis suggested would optimise their use and so form key linkages between the areas.

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With these redesigns of the contextual areas, the historic core could then be adapted spatially to optimise their effect. This involves relatively minor physical and spatial interventions. Al Bay’ah Square re-design allowing easy access to water’s edge Symbolic visual markers at historic centre edge Link roads between key radial access roads Terminus plazas at gateway points surrounding the Historic Core Controlled vehicular access to Historic Core New footbridge linking Historic Core to waterfront area. Could be combined with Maritime Heritage museum Lagoon landscaping Adapting the historic centre for the new structure: new public space around the edges

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Historic Zone Shared Space Transition Shared space within the Historic Core Parking at edge of shared space zone Symbolic visual markers at Historic Core edge Public space designed at symbolic gateways Public transport node Improved Radial Routes Adapting the historic centre for the new structure:transition to shared space roads within the core Transition zone into “shared space” There are important opportunities to enhance the quality of life in the historic centre though creation of new public space around the historic centre. Again, syntactic techniques allows us to diagnose where this will be most successful, and exactly how it should be done.

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Existing fountain and sculpture retained Shading structure Planting Mosque Jeddah Boulevard Restaurant/cafe Shading structure “Shared space” road treatment Historic Gateway Historic Boat Open Air Exhibition Floating Walkways Improved direct pedestrian access from Historic Core to water’s edge Adapting the historic centre for the new structure: re-integrating Al Bay’ah Square And it includes the redesign of a major pubilc space, the Al-Bayiah square on the northern fringe of the historic core, using the syntactic principles that were used in the UK for the re-design of Trafalgar Square and Nottingham Market Square – both immensely successful spatial redesigns of major public spaces.

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The historic centre in its new context: the glocal view Existing New plan Space syntax analysis shows that the entire central area of Jeddah will be strongly re-integrated, if the development of the unplanned settlements and the development sites are implemented along the strategic guidelines proposed by this study.

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The historic centre in its new context: the global view Existing Old local plans New plan The analysis also shows that if the transformation of the central area is combined with careful planning of the wider area of Jeddah, the whole structure of the city will be drawn back from the east and north towards to historic centre. At the same time, the patches of unplanned settlement will become more integrated into the urban fabric.

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Summary Space syntax is then a new space-based and evidence-based way of bringing architecture, urban design, planning and transport planning together in what people are beginning to call strategic urban design, meaning urban design that works across scales, from the micro to the macro. We have also shown how the modelling technique can be used to integrate different factors into spatial design in a rigorous way. But most of all it allows us to design in such a way as to go with the flow of the city creating processes which are the real sources of the life of cities. This is because the model is based on a theory of the city which can be tested against the hard evidence of observable urban functioning. So let evidence-based design also be theory-based design – and let our theories in future be testable theories.

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