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Title: Architecture, economy and space : a study on the socio-economics of urban form in Cardiff, UK
Author: Narvaez Zertuche, L. P.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5367 1043
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis investigates the location of economic patterns in urban form through an empirical study of Cardiff, UK. It focuses on two central questions: First, whether and how the location of economic activity is affected by the spatial configuration of the built environment – the physical pattern of streets and buildings, and the connectivity of the spaces that result from their placement. Is there a systematic relationship between these two kinds of order? Second, what systematic patterns and how are they articulated at the local architectural scale – how it is shaped and designed? It is suggested that understanding the locational logic of activities in urban form will not only improve theories on urban economy and urban morphology, but also contribute to a new set of complementary tools and strategies for designing urban environments. A novel combination of ‘Space Syntax’ and urban economic techniques are used here to analyse the case study data on land use distribution, rent values of different kinds, real estate properties and housing tax valuations. Through a series of street accessibility metrics, which are hypothesised to affect the location of socio-economic activities, the thesis applies these methods across city scales as follows: first, the research uses a ‘bid rent’ approach to investigate how different land uses compete for a location, by analysing distance from an urban centre based on the connectivity of streets. This, in turn, informs patterns of centrality – places that can be reached by everyone through the intersection of roads. Second, it examines patterns of residential tax values, distinguishing between purely domestic and mixed-use types. Third, it analyses the architectural adaptability of mixed-use buildings and their dependency on urban location. The results confirm that economic activity in Cardiff is significantly affected by the street network configuration. The street configuration shows that its topology, its metric dimensions and angular change between streets are factors that identify use-mix profiles throughout the city in relation to rent price. Residential tax value is strongly related to the street layout, substantiating the link between urban design decisions and the cost of location. Results also show that spatial accessibility at a local design level defines types of mixed-use buildings in relation to the street layout. The findings of this thesis will inform planners and economists, who benefit from an empirically-based consideration of how street and building design affect local land values, and also architects and urban designers, about how spatial configuration affects land use, accessibility and locational decisions, thereby demonstrating how design decisions may also be economic decisions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available