The Bartlett School of Architecture

Prof Kayvan Karimi

Prof Kayvan Karimi

Professor of Urban Analytics and Spatial Design

The Bartlett School of Architecture

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
4th Mar 2005

Research summary

1. Evidence-informed, analytical, urban and architectural design

Methods of spatial analysis can be linked with other urban/architectural data to create a powerful approach, applicable to various scales and from the outset to the end of the design process. I have been using and enhancing these methods in research and consultancy in the past twenty year. Recently, I have been heavily involved in developing Integrated Urban Models (IUMs), which bring together the spatial network, land use, density, socio-economic, and public transport into one integrated modelling system. 

2. Organic cities, naturally-evolved urban systems and urban heritage

Organically evolved urban systems are very dynamic, attractive and efficient, but at the same time they are complex, puzzling and ambiguous. Many urbanists admire them but find it difficult to explain them in a clear way. I have been analysing organic urban systems all around the world to understand these systems better, but more importantly, to find effective solutions for regeneration and conservation of these systems

3. Informal settlements and slum regeneration

In contrast to historic organic cities, Informal/unplanned settlements grow in a very fast and active way. Despite their organic vibrancy, informal settlements have to deal with huge challenges of urban decline, poverty, lack of infrastructure and basic facilities. My research seeks to underpin the roots of these problems by analysing the spatial structure and linking it with other layers of urban function and activity in the context of the wider city. Solutions for regeneration emerge from a process of analytical, evidence-based research and design. 

4. Strategic planning and large-scale urban development

Large-scale planning is normally missed by architectural and urban design research, leaving this field to generalised planning which lack accurate and rigorous spatial investigations. The theory and methods of space syntax provide a means to investigate these systems by architectural precision and rigour. I have been using these methods in looking at very large urban systems and engaging with the process of strategic planning and decision-making. 

5. Strategic and large-scale public transport planning and design

I have been working on a large number of public transport projects, using spatial network analysis and other analytical methods to provide an evidence-based for making fundamental design and planning decisions on positioning the transport routes, integrating transport planning with city planning, locating the stations and transport hubs, Transport- TOD developments and the detailed design of stations. 

Teaching summary

Currently, my main teaching activities are within the Space Syntax Laboratory, The Bartlett School of Architecture. I am leading three modules, called ‘The Principles of Analytical Design’, 'Space Syntax Methodology and Analytical Design" and "Analytical Design Research Project" for the master courses MRes and MSc in Space Syntax: Architecture and Cities (SSAC). These modules provide a well-defined methodology for the description and analysis of form-function relations in architecture at all scales from the individual dwelling to the urban region.  The modules introduce ‘space syntax’ research methods aimed at investigating spatial morphology and its social implications by a practical, hands-on programme of lectures and workshops, supported by a wide range of specialist learning materials. The emphasis is on space syntax as an innovative paradigm of evidence-based enquiry in which students learn how to experiment and test spatial hypotheses and think strategically about the role of spatial configuration in the design process and in relation to pressing questions such as the sustainability of the built environment. A series of lectures based on case-study examples will showcase how these methods have been deployed in architectural practice. The curriculum combines grounded qualitative methods with quantitative descriptive methods of spatial and configurational analysis and observation, to answer specific questions relating to the built environment. Research methods from allied disciplines, such as GIS, social anthropology and sociology are also introduced. 


I am also directing the MSc and MRes in Space Syntax: Architecture and Cities (SSAC) programmes, which runs in close connection with each other, but the MRes programme has a greater emphasis on research. 


In parallel with my teaching activities at the MRes and MSc SSAC programmes, I am also supervising a large number of PhD students and give advice to research students who feel my expertise would be useful for their research. I am currently a visiting lecturer at the other departments of Bartlett, such as Development Planning Unit (DPU) and a number of other institutions, such as University of Westminster, Imperial College and Princes Foundation and give lectures at their urban design and urban regeneration master programmes.


University College London
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 1998


Dr Kayvan Karimi is a Professor of Urban Analytics and Spatial Design within the Space Syntax Laboratory at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, and the Director for the MSc and MRes programmes in Space Syntax: Architecture and Cities. He is also a director of Space Syntax Limited, a UCL knowledge-transfer company that utilises the UCL and in-house research in providing professional urban and architectural design consultancy. Kayvan is an architectural and urban designer with more than twenty five years of academic and professional experience. He has worked extensively on a wide range of research and consultancy projects, including: patio-configurational network analysis, configurational urban morphology, strategic city and regional planning, strategic transport planning, urban regeneration, large-scale urban master planning, urban conservation, revitalisation of historic centres, regeneration of informal settlements, complex buildings, public realm design and pedestrian movement planning. In recent years, Kayvan has been developing advanced methods for evidence-based urban or architectural design and planning, from a very macro scale, such strategic plans for of an entire city, to a very micro scale, such as the design of small public spaces or buildings. While maintaining one foot in the academic world and the other in the professional practice, Kayvan has tried to craft a unique ability to bridge between these two worlds, enriching his teaching by real life experiences and strengthening his consultancy work by engaging in extensive academic research and teaching.