Application of Space Syntax Theory in Reduction of the Socio- spatial Segregation of Urban Neighborhoods

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD Candidate in Urban Planning, Islamic Azad University, Qazvin Branch, Qazvin, Iran

2 Assistant Professor of Urban Planning, Islamic Azad University, Qazvin Branch, Qazvin, Iran


Unequal distribution of resources and social situations in urban spaces reduces the relations between different social groups. This affects the participation chances in urban life and causes socio-spatial segregation. However, some studies have been executed by the role of urban form in social segregation but there is little knowledge about the impact of urban spatial configuration (relations between spaces) on social networks appearance. The presented study emphasizing on potential of co-presence in public spaces of twelve neighborhoods of Zanjan City to explore the role of urban design in facilitating access to resources and appearance of social networks in order to decrease the negative impacts of socio-spatial segregation. The type of research is an applied one with is descriptive-analytical method. The analysis of spatial integration has been conducted by Space Syntax Tool and UCL Depthmap to study the influence of urban spatial configuration on resource distribution. The social analysis has been implemented by SPSS. The results show that the quality of public spaces and spatial relations in local and ultra-local levels can affect the accessibility influenced from that. These effects have important social results. If the spatial configuration of city provides neighborhoods integration in different scales, the equal distribution of resources and job opportunities reduces socio-spatial segregation and increases social solidarity in city.   
In analysis of spatial configuration, the urban zonation is a base for physio-spatial analysis. The neighborhoods are selected from each region. They are different in aspects of spatial arrangement, distribution of non-residential land uses and distance from city center. Neighborhoods not only are studied in relation of their larger context and affected area but also analyzed the aspects like spatial accessibility, distribution of resources and job opportunities.  
The emphasis is on aspects that are important for creation of participation chances in life, job and activity in different neighborhoods like the potential of space in creation of social interactions and accessibility to attractive land uses. Local centers and streets can provide possibility of co-presence studied in different functional scales (local, ultra-local, city). The analysis of configuration is conducted based on indicators like integration, choice/betweenness and spatial accessibility to determine the relation between urban spatial characteristics and the quality of urban space application. Detailed information about the users of the space has been provided by asking questions through setting up 384 questionnaires. The statistical population is the citizens of Zanjan and the sample was taken from the twelve neighborhoods. Moreover, daily activities have been observed directly in six days in two consecutive weeks at certain times (in the morning and evening). Finally, spatial and social data have been combined with each other through correlation analysis in SPSS.
Results and discussion
The combined results from spatial analysis maps and social data from questionnaires and observations show that neighborhoods are socially, economically and culturally different and give various chances and life qualification. The residents of neighborhoods located in region 3, 4 and 6 are limited to use only some parts of the city. They are faced with limitation in sharing public spaces and their daily life activities as separated and limited. Limited exchange between different parts of the city can hurt the mechanism of social interactions. Neighborhoods encounter with not-directed social contacts and the lack of suitable public spaces which enable the co-presences to be possible. Moreover, the negative impact of unequal distribution of pervasive land uses in micro and macro levels on function of local land uses influence the social life in neighborhoods. Since social interactions are not formed, social networks cannot be generated or regenerated. Inattention to the quality of spatial relations between neighborhoods and the social mobility affected from that can gradually spoil the integrated structure of the city. Accomplished spatial separation, limits the relational, social and economic exchanges between different neighborhoods. Weak social ties that affect social mobility and increase social solidarity are weakened because of weak physio-spatial relation between different neighborhoods. These are the base for socio-spatial segregation. But the space is planned and designed correctly by making different levels of construction and intensity of the patterns of co-presence. This can influence energy level to form impression experiences and the tendency of having relationship with other people. Thus, it can cause group solidarity. On the other hand, spatially inequality increases social inequality. People live in segregated regions have less social opportunities than those with similar social characters in other places. Spatial inequalities reduce social and economic relations between income groups. Not only socio-spatial boundaries cut income flows, but also limit access to existence of social networks in high income neighborhoods which are important for job searchers.
Public spaces are important places for expansion of urban social networks and joining processes in larger community. Living in the areas, people will be able to participate in different social processes. If spatial relations between neighborhoods organized correctly, the residents can utilize the public arenas in different neighborhoods. By supporting social processes which help the creation of weak ties and appearance of social networks, equal distribution of resources and social activities chances can increase social movement. It can cause socio- economic sustainability in neighborhoods and social solidarity in city by reducing the negative effects of socio-spatial segregation. In this regard what is important is:
1) Given the role of urban spatial configuration in creation of difference in benefit and spatial nature of public spaces, the processes can influence daily activity routes in terms of time and space.
2) Emphasizing on co-presence in public spaces, suitable resources distribution and facilitating access to them in interventions and policies of urban design in relation to urban spatial configuration. This renders the appearance of participation chances possible in urban life for different social groups. Therefore, these two points by reducing socio- spatial segregation have an important role in creating social solidarity in the city. 


Main Subjects

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Volume 51, Issue 2
July 2019
Pages 357-371
  • Receive Date: 20 April 2017
  • Revise Date: 09 October 2017
  • Accept Date: 09 October 2017
  • First Publish Date: 22 June 2019