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Space syntax

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Space syntax is a set of theories and techniques for the analysis of spatial configurations of all kinds, especially where spatial configuration seems to be a significant aspect of human affairs, as it is in buildings and cities. Originally conceived by Professor Bill Hillier, Julienne Hanson and their colleagues at The Bartlett, University College London in the late 1970s to early 1980s as a tool to help architects simulate the likely effects of their designs. It has since grown to become a tool used around the world in a variety of research and areas and design applications. A variety of software, used to perform space syntax analysis, was primarily written by Nick "Sheep" Dalton and is currently in use in more than 50 countries around the world. Space syntax has been extensively applied in the fields of architecture, urban design, planning, transportation and interior design. Over the past decade, space syntax techniques have also been used for research in fields as diverse as archaeology, information technology, urban and human geography, and anthropology. Space syntax's reliability has recently come under scrutiny because of a number of paradoxes that arise under certain geometric configurations. These paradoxes have been highlighted by Carlo Ratti, Director of the SENSEable City Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in a passionate academic exchange with Professors Bill Hiller and Alan Penn, published in the July 2004 issue, volume 31(4), of the journal Environment and Planning B - Planning and Design.

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