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The Anatomy of Knowledge: Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis of the Evolution of Ideas in Space Syntax Conference Articles (1997-2017)

Krenz, K; Psarra, S; Netto, V; (2019) The Anatomy of Knowledge: Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis of the Evolution of Ideas in Space Syntax Conference Articles (1997-2017). In: The Proceedings of the 12th International Space Syntax Symposium (12SSS). Beijing Jiatong University: Beijing, China. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Since its inception in the 1970s, space syntax has matured into a theory and a method comprising a set of recurring theoretical and analytical concepts, as well as new ones emerging through the years. How can we trace the evolution of the field through language? How can we analyse the development of ideas in space syntax research? What can we learn from this evolution about knowledge creation in this area? Recognising that language is central to the development of ideas in any field, this paper uses automated text-analyses, focusing more specifically on all papers published in the space syntax symposia proceedings from 1997 to 2017. The purpose is to trace the trajectory of ideas as they were elaborated, used and perhaps changed in the collective work of authors researching within this field in different parts of the world. Firstly, we identify concepts and technical terminology in the field through a combined quantitative and qualitative text analysis. Secondly, we statistically assess the use of these terms, revealing patterns and trends in the evolution of knowledge in space syntax. Thirdly, we compare patterns between established concepts and categories that stabilise over time with concepts emerging more recently. The results from our analysis of networks of concept relationships suggest that: (i) concepts and terms evolve in dependent trajectories; (ii) ideas have evolutionary developments, with some emerging and gaining growing attention, while others showing clear signs of stability, and others losing centrality over time, including networks of what can be termed as ‘canonical’ concepts. We have also identified (iii) an overall decline in the use of early space syntax concepts rooted in social theory and anthropology; (iv) a trend of decreasing conceptual novelty over time; (v) traces of increasing influence by other fields; and finally (vi) signs of a clear ‘technological turn’ in the field.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: The Anatomy of Knowledge: Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis of the Evolution of Ideas in Space Syntax Conference Articles (1997-2017)
Event: 12th International Space Syntax Symposium (12SSS)
Location: Beijing Jiaotong University
Dates: 08 July 2019 - 12 July 2019
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://www.12sssbeijing.com/proceedings/
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Space Syntax, Quantitative Text Analysis, Qualitative Text Analysis, Concept Identification, Concept Trajectories
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > The Bartlett School of Architecture
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10077653
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