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Using space syntax and historical land-use data to interrogate narratives of high street ‘decline’ in two Greater London suburbs

Griffiths, S; Dhanani, A; Ellul, C; Haklay, M; Jeevendrampillai, D; Nikolova, N; Rickles, P; (2013) Using space syntax and historical land-use data to interrogate narratives of high street ‘decline’ in two Greater London suburbs. In: Kim, YO and Park, HT and Seo, KW, (eds.) Proceedings of the Ninth International Space Syntax Symposium. (pp. 036:1 - 036:15). Sejong University: Seoul, Korea. Green open access

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Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to provide some much needed theoretical grounding and historical-morphological context for the narratives of communal loss that recur in the reportage concerning the British high street. Given the topicality of this issue for policy-makers it is worth enquiring into precisely how far such narratives are in fact supported by a long-term perspective on historical changes in high street land uses in relation to the evolving spatial morphology of small town centres, in order to better distinguish the extent to which a further layer of socio-cultural explanation is required to account for the concern over ‘decline’. This research, undertaken as part of the EPSRC Adaptable Suburbs project at UCL, uses fully digitized historical maps, contemporary and historical land use data and space syntax analysis to identify historical-morphological parameters of change and continuity in and around two suburban high streets of Greater London since the nineteenth century: Surbiton and South Norwood. Drawing on Hillier and colleagues’ theory of ‘movement economy, the contemporary English high street, as it is represented in the case-study areas, emerges as a distinctive and resilient spatial morphology which has supported varied modes of land use over time. It concludes that the narrative of high street decline in part reflects a dominant focus on difficulties facing the UK retail sector and that a broader focus on the high street as a (re)generative social space rather than simply as a ‘retail attractor’ would allow for a broader appreciation of both its morphological and socio-economic capacities.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: Using space syntax and historical land-use data to interrogate narratives of high street ‘decline’ in two Greater London suburbs
Event: Ninth International Space Syntax Symposium
Location: Seoul: Sejong University, 2013
Dates: 2013-10-31 - 2013-11-03
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://www.sss9.or.kr/paperpdf/hebf/SSS9_2013_REF0...
Language: English
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 Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Civil, Environ and Geomatic Eng
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
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1418127
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