How is urban function described and measured?

Space syntax analysis is applied to different aspects of spatial function including movement, land use, crime pattern, and land values to achieve a better understanding of the way cities function.

1. Movement (A)
This method is applied to record the movement of people, bicycles or vehicles, in order to capture how people move around in cities or urban areas. It is conducted as follows:

a. Preparation
Prepare a large scale (eg. 1:500) plan of the areas you seek to observe, choose a number of  gate locations at which to stand and observe the movement, and design a table for all the gates according to time periods and categories.

Several rounds of observation should be undertaken for each gate at different time periods of the day. The normal observation periods are: 8am-10am; 10am-12noon; 12noon-2pm;2pm-4pm;4pm-6pm.

Different categories of pedestrians are often counted, including adults, the elderly, teenagers and children, or men and women, or commuters, tourists and locals.

b. Observation
Stand at each gate position, draw an imaginary line crossing the street space, and count the people, bicycles or vehicles that cross that line for a period of time , such as five minutes for every half an hour or ten minutes per hour.

c. Visualisation
Visualise the movement pattern by creating a thematic map (B). Red indicates higher movement rates, and blue denotes lower rates.

2. Land use (C)
The land use pattern, including movement-seeking land uses, describe the local conditions that impact on route choice and activities. It can be observed and analysed as follows:

a. Preparation
Prepare a map for the study area and define the land use classification to be surveyed. (e.g. restaurants)

b. Observation
Observe and record the land use in the study area according to the classification determined in the previous section.

c. Visualisation
Visualise land use patterns by generating thematic maps. The land use pattern can be created by colouring each type of land use. Each colour denotes one type of land use.

3. Other Methods
Other types of surveys include frontage survey, entrance survey and crime survey. Please refer to the space syntax observation manual.