Space Syntax with Prolog

Programming the Logic of Space

Space syntax is a set of techniques for analyzing urban settlements and buildings, as well of theories linking space and society, developed originally by Bill Hillier, Julienne Hanson and colleagues at the Bartlett School of Architecture and Planning, University College of London (UCL), since the 1970s. Their innovative approach was condensed in three landmark books: The Social Logic of Space (Hillier and Hanson 1984), Decoding Homes and Houses (Hanson 1998) and Space is the machine (Hillier 2007).

Prolog is a Logic Programming language concerned with Artificial Intelligence. Developed in the 1970’s by Alain Colmerauer, Philippe Roussel and Robert Kowalski to process natural languages, Prolog can deal easily with simple declarations of facts like the connection (or permeability) between convex spaces or axial lines. Readily available on-line through the SWISH platform, in a fancy format inspired by Jupyter Notebooks, SWI-Prolog may help to understand the recursive nature of urban processes, given some elementary generators, or to describe the structure (e.g. concentric) of some village. Mostly important, Prolog can compute space syntax measures such connectivity, control or integration in a comprehensive, transparent and attractive way, namely, for students and researchers on space syntax.

Thus, the aim of this website is to provide a unique access point and companion for all that want (or need) to calculate space syntax measures for the buildings and settlements that illustrate the above-mentioned books, by asking about facts and rules stored on-line at SWISH. Examples of queries (?-) are provided for each building or settlement, including a multi-condition query that can compute, with a single command, the metrics of connectivity (AC), control (E), controllability (F), total depth (TD), mean depth (MD), integration (I = 1/MD), relative asymmetry (RA), real relative asymmetry (RRA) and Hillier and Hanson's integration (IHH = 1/RRA) for some space.

Several learning resources are provided, including a set of programs for settlements located in the Lisbon Area (Portugal), as well as the paper 'Space Syntax with Prolog', presented in the 13th International Space Syntax Symposium, Bergen, Norway, June 20-24, 2022.

Space Syntax with Prolog

Pedro Afonso Fernandes (2022)

Syntactic Analysis of Scenic Spaces: The case of Praça do Comércio in Lisbon

Pedro Afonso Fernandes & Mohammed Boubezari (2022)

A syntactic analysis of the Portela Urbanization using Prolog

Pedro Afonso Fernandes (2021)

A syntactic analysis of the Portela Urbanization using Prolog

Pedro Afonso Fernandes (2021)

Space Syntax with Prolog

Pedro Afonso Fernandes (2022)

Syntactic Analysis of Scenic Spaces: The case of Praça do Comércio in Lisbon

Pedro Afonso Fernandes & Mohammed Boubezari (2022)

A syntactic analysis of the Portela Urbanization using Prolog

Pedro Afonso Fernandes (2021)

Modernismo e Sustentabilidade na Grande Lisboa

Pedro Afonso Fernandes (2015)

Al_Sayed, Kinda, Alasdair Turner, Bill Hillier, Shinichi Iida, and Alan Penn. 2014. Space Syntax Methodology. Bartlett School of Graduate Studies, University College of London.

Blackburn, Patrick, Johan Bos, and Kristina Striegnitz. 2006. Learn Prolog Now! Vol. 7. Texts in Computing. College Publications. http://www.learnprolognow.org/.

Flach, Peter. 1994. Simply Logical: Intelligent Reasoning by Example. John Wiley and Sons. https://book.simply-logical.space/.

Hanson, Julienne. 1998. Decoding Homes and Houses. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Heitor, Teresa, and João Pinelo Silva. 2015. “A Sintaxe Espacial e o Ambiente Construído - Análise Morfológica.” In O Estudo Da Forma Urbana Em Portugal, edited by Vítor Oliveira, Teresa Marat-Mendes, and Paulo Pinho, 147–89. Porto: Universidade do Porto.

Hillier, Bill. 2007. Space Is the Machine: A Configurational Theory of Architecture. London: Space Syntax. https://spaceisthemachine.com/.

Hillier, Bill, and Julienne Hanson. 1984. The Social Logic of Space. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hillier, Bill, Liz Jones, Alan Penn, Xu Jianming, and Tadeusz Grajewski. 1989. The Architecture of the Maiden Lane Estate: A Second Opinion. London: Unit for Architectural Studies, Bartlett School of Architecture and Planning, University College of London. https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1751/.

Lévi-Strauss, Claude. 1963. Structural Anthropology. New York: Basic Books.

Malinowski, Bronislaw. 1929. The Sexual Life of Savages in North-Western Melanesia. New York: Readers League of America and Eugenics Publishing Company. https://archive.org/details/sexuallifeofsava00mali/page/n9/mode/2up.

Moutinho, Mário. 1979. A Arquitectura Popular Portuguesa. Lisboa: Editorial Estampa.

Rattray, Robert Sutherland. 1929. Ashanti Law and Constitution. Oxford University Press.

Sbriglio, Jacques. 1996. Immeuble 24 N.C. et Appartment Le Corbusier. Paris / Basel: Fondation Le Corbusier / Birkhäuser.

Sbriglio, Jacques. 1997. Le Corbusier: Les Villas La Roche-Jeanneret. Paris / Basel: Fondation Le Corbusier / Birkhäuser.

Sbriglio, Jacques. 2008. Le Corbusier: The Villa Savoye. Paris / Basel: Fondation Le Corbusier / Birkhäuser.

Turner, Alasdair. 2004. Depthmap 4 - A Researcher’s Handbook. London: Bartlett School of Graduate Studies, University College of London. https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/2651/.

Wielemaker, Jan, Tom Schrijvers, Markus Triska, and Torbjörn Lager. 2012. “SWI-Prolog.” Theory and Practice of Logic Programming 12 (1–2): 67–96. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1471068411000494.

PEDRO AFONSO FERNANDES MSc Economics | PhD Urban Planning Researcher | Senior Economist | Teaching Assistant Universidade Católica Portuguesa Católica Lisbon School of Business & Economics/NECEP 4th floor, Room 5430 Palma de Cima, 1649-023 Lisbon, Portugal www.sswprolog.net paf.com.pt