Made at UCL


Space Syntax makes the structure of city spaces work for people

How do people move around a city? What are their habits? Where do they walk and why do they do it? UCL spin-out company Space Syntax has informed the development of more than 600 projects worldwide to improve the urban arena.

Trafalgar Square

Space Syntax Limited is a spin-out company that was established by Professors Bill Hillier and Alan Penn (UCL Bartlett School of Architecture), alongside their Bartlett colleagues. It has informed the development of more than 600 successful projects around the world.

The company uses Space Syntax theories to forecast how space will be used in practice, and so to allow for the strategic planning of public spaces. Human behaviour and occupancy affect factors like cultural significance, as well as sustainability, accessibility, social cohesion, and health and safety. Well-designed public space leads to thriving urban life.

Space Syntax Limited has worked on projects including the redevelopment of Trafalgar Square in 2003 which led to a 250% increase in pedestrian activity; a 900% increase in its use as a pedestrian through-route; and transformed public perceptions of Trafalgar Square as a destination. More than that, the project has led to the wholesale transfer of road space away from cars to buses, pedestrians and cyclists. The use of Space Syntax directly improves urban environments and the quality of citizens' lives.

Trafalgar Square, London – Spatial design process
The use of Space Syntax theories can also have real economic advantages. The £7 million regeneration of Old Market Square in Nottingham aimed to encourage visitors to linger in the area rather than for the space to simply serve as a thoroughfare. 

After redesigning the space using UCL Space Syntax research, the Old Market Square won many awards and while other East Midlands towns saw a decline in footfall, Nottingham saw an increase, which helped to support local businesses.

This was reiterated by The Nottingham Evening Post:

Only the churlish would fail to acknowledge the difference that the multi-million investment in the Old Market Square has made to the heart of our city.



  • Credit/source: Space Syntax Ltd ©