Category Archives: Space Syntax

PRE-ORDER NOW | The Syntax of City Space

The Syntax of City Space: American Urban Grids by Mark David Major with Foreword by Ruth Conroy Dalton (co-editor of Take One Building) is now available for pre-order from Routledge, Amazon, and other online retailers. Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group will release The Syntax of City Space: American Urban Grids in November 2017.

Cover, The Syntax of City Space, American Urban Grids, Mark David Major, Ruth Conroy DaltonMany people see American cities as a radical departure in the history of town planning because of their planned nature based on the geometrical division of the land. However, other cities of the world also began as planned towns with geometric layouts so American cities are not unique. Why did the regular grid come to so pervasively characterize American urbanism? Are American cities really so different?

The Syntax of City Space: American Urban Grids by Mark David Major with Foreword by Ruth Conroy Dalton (co-editor of Take One Building) answers these questions and much more by exploring the urban morphology of American cities. It argues American cities do represent a radical departure in the history of town planning while, simultaneously, still being subject to the same processes linking the urban network and function found in other types of cities around the world. A historical preference for regularity in town planning had a profound influence on American urbanism, which endures to this day.

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The Syntax of City Space: American Urban Grids is available for pre-order purchase with Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group, Amazon, Waterstones, and Foyles in the UK as well as other online retailers around the world.

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About the Author
Dr. Mark David Major, AICP, CNU-A is a Professor of Urban Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design. He is a graduate of Clemson University, University College London, and the University of London.

The Syntax of City Space: American Urban Grids
by Mark David Major with Foreword by Ruth Conroy Dalton
Hardcover, English, 260 pages
Routledge, First Edition (November 2017)
ISBN-10: 1138301566
ISBN-13: 978-1138301566

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NOW AVAILABLE | A Failure of Modernism | ‘Excavating’ Pruitt-Igoe

A Failure of Modernism: ‘Excavating’ Pruitt-Igoe investigates the Pruitt-Igoe Public Housing Complex in St. Louis, Missouri USA. A large literature implicates several factors in Pruitt-Igoe’s decline, which public authorities famously demolished in 1972. Often, this literature cites design and planning as contributory factors without specifying how or why in precise terms. Building on archival records and previous research, we analyze the ‘spatial archaeology’ of Pruitt-Igoe using space syntax. Our purpose is to better understand how design and planning contributed to its social malaise. It concludes: 1) provision of space (i.e. quantity) became a liability as declining occupancy generated a ‘broken interface’ between adults and children; and, 2) the pilotis of the residential towers mediated formal access and spatial distribution in a layout characterized by ‘intelligible dysfunction,’ which facilitated opportunity and escape for criminal activities. Both fed the perception and reality of social malaise at Pruitt-Igoe (2.5 hour course). Click here to purchase this course ($17.49).

Key concepts:  design, Modernism, planning, public policy, and social housing.

Includes a two-hour video presentation and PDFs of the course supplementary material and slide handout. The research paper is freely available here.

Please note there may be a delay for a couple of hours before you are able to access the course because we have to confirm receipt of payment for each order before completing the purchase.

About the Instructor

mark_v3Dr. Mark David Major, AICP, CNU-A is an architect and planner with extensive experience in urban planning and design, business management and real estate development, and academia. He is a Professor of Urban Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Mark has been a visiting lecturer at the University of Florida, Georgia Tech, Architectural Association in London, the University of São Paulo in Brazil, and Politecnico di Milano in Italy.

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FREE COURSE | Following the Crowd | Movement, Space Use, Risk Management

Following the Crowd | Movement, Space Use, Risk Management examines movement, congregation and space use in crowd phenomenon based on two studies in London during the late 1990s. The first was New Years Eve celebrations in central London and the second is the ‘Diana phenomenon’ of crowd gatherings in public displays of mourning in Kensington Gardens. The course argues two points. First, clearly, there are crowd characteristics particular to specific events, i.e. number of people, time factors, and crowd management measures. Second, many crowd characteristics often represent only a dramatic, temporary intensification of everyday circumstances in urban conditions, which has implications for recent pedestrian-oriented design concepts such as shared space (2.0 hour course).

NOTE: This course makes selective use of space syntax. Even if you are not familiar with space syntax, the subject matter should not be considered a deterrent.

Key concepts: crowds, movement, occupation, police, risk management, urban design.

Instructor: Dr. Mark David Major, AICP, CNU-A

Check here to purchase this  course (FREE registration required), which includes an two hour video presentation and PDFs of the course supplementary materials and slide handout.

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NOW AVAILABLE | Cloak and Dagger Theory in Peter Eisenman Houses

Cloak and Dagger Theory in Peter Eisenman Houses covers the apparent ‘rules’ of geometrical composition underlying the design of plan in early houses by architect Peter Eisenman. The effect of these compositional rules, tied to the design process of ‘decomposition’ as described by Eisenman, in the generation of layout in these houses is examined using some basic representational techniques in the space syntax toolkit. In particular, this includes the effect in structuring the relationships, if any, between public (e.g. everyday living) and private (e.g. bedrooms) functions as well as the household interface between inhabitants and visitors. The course offers a better understanding of the relationship between the architect’s stated aims in his own theoretical writings and the probable functioning of these houses as architectural objects (1.0 hour course).

NOTE: This course does make use of some basic space syntax analysis. However, even if you are not familiar with space syntax, it should not be considered a deterrent.

Key concepts: architectural theory, composition, deconstructivism, domestic functions, plan geometry, genotypes.

Instructor: Dr. Mark David Major, AICP, CNU-A

Check here to purchase this course ($9.99), which includes an one-hour video presentation and PDFs of the course supplementary materials and slide handout.

Note: We are beta-testing with these our course offerings so if you have any issues accessing the course material, please do not hesitate to contact us at courses@outlaw-urbanist.com. Thank you!

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NOW AVAILABLE | The Hidden Corruption of Regular Grids

The Hidden Corruption of Regular Grids discusses the remarkable progress space syntax has made in research and practice around the world over the last 40 years. However, this is not the case in the United States. Space syntax remains on the fringes of American planning and development. This is odd since there seems to be several inherent advantages for widespread application of space syntax in an American context, i.e. ongoing large-scale urban growth, an established research program at one of the country’s leading universities, and seemingly ‘natural’ allies in professional practice. The course covers the financial, institutional, and legal hurdles/pitfalls confronting space syntax in the American market, especially in the private sector. Using a series of ‘back-of-the-napkin’ financial calculations common to the American development process, the course demonstrates how these challenges can transform into a distinct advantage for advocating the cause of the space syntax in the United States. The course concludes by discussing the enormous challenges and opportunities for space syntax in America today (1.0 hour course).

Key concepts: finances, land use law, professional practice, planning, development, and space syntax.

Instructor: Dr. Mark David Major, AICP, CNU-A

Click here to purchase this course ($9.99), which includes an one-hour video presentation and PDFs of the published article and slide handout.

NOTE: This course is geared towards the space syntax community and people interested in its application in the United States. However, there is actually very little space syntax in the course since it primarily discusses the legal and financial hurdles in the American real estate development process for space syntax and similar scientific approaches. Even if you are not familiar with space syntax, then the subject matter should not be considered a deterrent.

Note: We are beta-testing with these initial course offerings so if you have any issues accessing the course material, please do not hesitate to contact us at courses@outlaw-urbanist.com. Thank you!

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