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Natural Movement: Or, Configuration and Attraction in Urban Pedestrian Movement

B Hillier, A Penn, J Hanson, T Grajewski and J Xu

Environment and Planning B, 1993, vol. 20, issue 1, 29-66

Abstract: Existing theories relating patterns of pedestrian and vehicular movement to urban form characterise the problem in terms of flows to and from ‘attractor’ land uses. This paper contains evidence in support of a new ‘configurational’ paradigm in which a primary property of the form of the urban grid is to privilege certain spaces over others for through movement. In this way it is suggested that the configuration of the urban grid itself is the main generator of patterns of movement. Retail land uses are then located to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the passing trade and may well act as multipliers on the basic pattern of ‘natural movement’ generated by the grid configuration. The configurational correlates of movement patterns are found to be measures of global properties of the grid with the ‘space syntax’ measure of ‘integration’ consistently found to be the most important. This has clear implications for urban design suggesting that if we wish to design for well used urban space, then it is not the local properties of a space that are important in the main but its configurational relations to the larger urban system.

Date: 1993
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