Page T2.1 . 30 October 2002                     
ArchitectureWeek - Tools Department
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  • Pedestrian Simulation

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    Pedestrian Simulation

    by Don Barker

    Spatial network design applied to infrastructure planning models may sound like a complex concept. But this form of computer analysis of human behavior in architectural spaces is such a simple idea that you may wonder why no one was using it sooner.

    It is so effective, in fact, that since the early 1990s the method has been used on building and urban design projects by British architects Richard Rogers, Norman Foster, Terry Farrell, Michael Hopkins, Nicholas Grimshaw, and Zaha Hadid.

    The idea originated with Bill Hillier, a professor at the The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London (UCL), who, some 20 years ago, wanted to find out why social housing of the 1960s and 70s in the United Kingdom was not working; why a sense of community had not developed. He wanted to find a means of describing and analyzing how the housing layouts interacted with the space available.

    Lines of Sight

    The general concept is that in an urban environment, "lines of sight" guide patterns of movement. The idea assumes that most people, most of the time, will take the simplest route to their destination. That route tends to involve the fewest changes of direction. The more changes of direction, the more complex the system, and therefore the more ineffective or inefficient the network design becomes.   >>>



    ArchWeek Image

    Strategic design of movement from above London's British Museum looking south towards Princes Square.
    Image: Space Syntax Limited

    ArchWeek Image

    An analysis of pedestrian flows inside galleries of Tate Britain, London.
    Image: Space Syntax Limited


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