Addressing distance in the space syntax syntactical model

M Salheen, Leslie Forsyth

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper discusses pedestrian movement and the criteria pedestrians use when selecting a route. The source of the material was an investigation into the pedestrian environment in the city centre of Cairo. Resulting from this investigation the paper seeks to provide a model for pedestrian movement using the attributes suggested by Space Syntax and transportation planning literature. Both of these fields attempt to understand and predict pedestrian movement, but they diverge in their selection of the factors that have a major effect on route choice. Space Syntax uses the number of changes in direction as a key factor, whereas transport engineering focuses mainly on the criterion of distance. The paper reviews the main issues considered in both fields before examining the results from a questionnaire used in Cairo that asked pedestrians to identify their reasons for route choice. A graphic model (the Metric Axial Model) was developed based on the concept of axial lines (Hillier and Hanson, 1984) but including modifications to account for distance. The resultant model (MAM) requires further research to explore its validity and potential use. However, from the evidence presented, it appears to offer an empirical method to measure the variable of Universal Distance in movement related models. Universal Distance was first proposed by Hillier (1996), but to date has not been developed beyond the hypothetical simplified model that Hillier used in his proposal.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)93-110
    Number of pages18
    JournalUrban Design International
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2001


    • Pedestrian movement
    • Space syntax
    • Spatial analysis and models
    • Transportation planning


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