1998 volume 25(4) pages 507 – 538

Cite as:
Chang D, Penn A, 1998, "Integrated multilevel circulation in dense urban areas: the effect of multiple interacting constraints on the use of complex urban areas" Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design 25(4) 507 – 538

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Integrated multilevel circulation in dense urban areas: the effect of multiple interacting constraints on the use of complex urban areas

D Chang, A Penn

Received 30 October 1996; in revised form 11 September 1997

Abstract. In this paper we present research into patterns of space use and pedestrian movement in two multilevel urban complexes. Data on movement behaviour were gathered by direct observation within the Barbican and South Bank complexes in London. Conventional space-syntax analysis of spatial configuration has shown that the ability to predict patterns of pedestrian movement in urban areas decreases as those areas become less 'intelligible', where intelligibility is defined as the correlation between local and global configurational measures within a space-syntax analysis. Both the Barbican and the South Bank areas are relatively unintelligible in comparison with their urban context. Poor predictions of pedestrian flows were found in both cases by using a conventional space-syntax analysis. A method was then developed for including additional variables into an 'integrated multilevel circulation model' (IMCM) which describes factors such as grade separation, attractors and generators of movement, the depth properties of primary routes, and local factors such as the visibility of transition spaces, in addition to conventional space-syntax properties. This model was found to be able to predict observed patterns of pedestrian movement with much greater accuracy in the two case-study areas, and before and after changes to the configuration of routes in the South Bank area. By excluding one variable at a time from the model, the order of significance of the different additional factors was investigated. The main finding was that horizontal change of direction was a more significant factor than vertical grade separation in determining observed movement flows.

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