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From isovists to visibility graphs: a methodology for the analysis of architectural space

Turner, A; Doxa, M; O'Sullivan, D; Penn, A; (2001) From isovists to visibility graphs: a methodology for the analysis of architectural space. ENVIRON PLANN B , 28 (1) 103 - 121. Green open access

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Abstract

An isovist, or viewshed, is the area in a spatial environment directly visible from a location within the space. Here we show how a set of isovists can be used to generate a graph of mutual visibility between locations. We demonstrate that this graph can also be constructed without reference to isovists and that we are in fact invoking the more general concept of a visibility graph. Using the visibility graph, we can extend both isovist and current graph-based analyses of architectural space to form a new methodology for the investigation of configurational relationships. The measurement of local and global characteristics of the graph, for each vertex or for the system as a whole, is of interest from an architectural perspective, allowing us to describe a configuration with reference to accessibility and visibility, to compare from location to location within a system, and to compare systems with different geometries. Finally we show that visibility graph properties may be closely related to manifestations of spatial perception, such as way-finding, movement, and space use.

Type: Article
Title: From isovists to visibility graphs: a methodology for the analysis of architectural space
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Keywords: DIGITAL ELEVATION MODELS, CONFIGURATION, VIEWSHEDS, SYSTEM, FIELDS, SHAPE
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/160
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