Riverside A: Breaking the Dysfunctional Ladder

Location: London Riverside, 2017


As part of the module ‘Space Syntax Methodology and Analytical Design’, students were briefed to apply techniques and methodologies learnt in Term 01 to scrutinise a specific City of London Area Enhancement Strategy (AES), of the built environment from a macro to micro scale. Group three, a multidisciplinary team with backgrounds in Civil Engineering, Architecture, Interior Architecture and Film; Shiyu Chen, Sofia Hoch, Samantha Li and Fleur Praetorius, were allocated the location, Riverside A. The diverse background allowed the group to deliver a holistic approach to the underlying questions raised in the project.

In the 15th Century, the Riverside was “likened at the time to Venice”. (City of London, 2015) This gives an initial assumption of the role of the Riverside to London. To be historically compared to an iconic and colourful city, the degree of this authenticity is raised in regards to how and what we see at the Riverside today. Reviewing an initial visit to the Riverside questions ‘Why is the Riverside Walk lacking vibrancy?’, and why is it not likened to Venice now? Is this due to the type of activities or evolution of spatial layout that has changed the function? To further scrutinise these ideas, a combination of Space Syntax methodologies and techniques were analysed and thus, a hypothesis and research questions were formed.

Methodologies were categorised into two types; qualitative and quantitative techniques. Quantitative techniques involved studying the AES, and using QGIS and data collected from Transport for London (TfL) to produce Catchment Area Analysis, Adjacent Tourist Attractions and Stations Population Data visualisation. It was alsobeneficial to study previous students’ project, ‘Re-Linking Culture:The Fenchurch and Monument Area Enhancement’ (2016), in particular the Gate Count data to coincide the network with the Riverside area.

Qualitative techniques involved Space Syntax methods, using programme DepthMapX to produce Segment Analysis in Integration and Choice, Isovist Path and Visibility Graph Analysis (VGA). QGIS was also used to input raw data collected from Gate Counts and observational analysis from Static Snapshots.

Applying the techniques gave a comprehensive approach to answering the issues within the research questions. An overlap of the findings and techniques raised a distinctive methodology of correlating quantitative and qualitative techniques, to model a ‘Pedestrian Vibrancy Criteria’ (subjectively based on the AES, 2015). By interrogating the three scales, key findings were established at each scale.

The Design Strategy derived from the findings are split into four phases resulting in a multiplier effect. The ‘dysfunctional’ ladder is the potential for the Riverside to be integrated into the wider network of London, and results of the pedestrian vibrancy activitiesimplemented on the Riverside Walk, should effectively return

back into the integration. To increase integration, proposal for a pedestrian crossing and a green public space on Lower Thames Street strengthens link to Monument/Bank station, whilst opening up Nomura Building increases visibility to the Riverside. Other strategies involves increasing permeability and intervening existing historical buildings for opportunities along the Riverside Walk.

An initial before and after VGA of the proposal phase for a new pedestrian crossing and the widening of the path outside CustomHouse shows how initial implementation can be effective, in order tobreak the ‘dysfunctional’ ladder.

The final practical project was presented to fellow students and apanel of lecturers. The general feedback received was positive, highlighting the group’s knowledge of the issues involved in theproject. The initiative to develop correlations derived from findingsto further scrutinise the project was highly praised. Constructive criticism were made in regards to communicating these issues graphically, and to visually show more of the narrative.

Overall, the general outcome shows how effective collaboration, useof Space Syntax methodologies and techniques can be applied towards a sophisticated approach to data interpretation and design.


City of London. (2015) Riverside Walk Enhancement Strategy.
         At: https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/services/environment-and-planning/city-public-realm/Documents/

         strategies/Riverside-Walk-Enhancement-Strategy-accessible.pdf (Accessed on 03.10.2017)

Espaillat, L., Hassouna, T., Ji, Mi., Samay, S.P., Tawakal, M. (2016) ‘Re-Linking Culture: The Fenchurch and The

         Monument Area Enhancement’ [MSc SDAC SSMAD Project] Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.

London's Cultural Tourists. (2015). [ebook] London: London & Partners. Available

         at:http://files.londonandpartners.com/l-and-p/assets/ our-insight-londons-cultural-tourists.pdf (Accessed


© 2020 by Samantha Li. All rights reserved.