Mapping Urban Accessibility in Data Scarce Contexts Using Space Syntax and Location-Based Methods

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Abstract

Data scarcity is still a common barrier to adequately understanding urban access in Global South countries. Widely used location-based methods address the traditional definition of accessibility as the easiness to reach land-uses by means of available mobility modes. Space Syntax instead analyses accessibility as network centrality focusing only on the topological and geometric properties of urban layouts, making it comparatively less data-intense. However, the interpretation of its outputs is limited to its own theory. Knowledge is missing on how such metrics are comparable to the metrics produced by location-based methods. The objective of the research was to compare both approaches for mapping urban accessibility in two cities in Guatemala. Our hypothesis tested the assumption that Space Syntax metrics could consistently reflect accessibility conditions that so far have only been measured by location-based methods. We proposed an approach using volunteered geo-information and produced accessibility maps following both approaches that were then compared using Pearson correlations. Space Syntax metrics at low and high radii are consistently correlated with location-based access to land uses that reflect location quality at neighbourhood and city-wide scale correspondingly. Space Syntax metrics at lower radii reflect time-based access restrictions either posed in the location-based analyses or by reduced accessibility by public transport. The hypothesis acceptance, p < 0.01, expands the scope of accessibility knowledge derivable from limited data availability using Space Syntax, which is relevant for its applicability in data-scarce contexts by planners and researchers in the Global South. Rather than replacing location-based methods Space Syntax offers an important complementary measure to geographical accessibility. This having been said, Space Syntax could contribute to early-stage planning by gaining overall insights into patterns of urban access.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-228
JournalApplied spatial analysis and policy
Volume12
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019

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syntax
accessibility
land use
access restriction
Guatemala
method
public transport
layout
acceptance
interpretation
planning

Keywords

  • ITC-ISI-JOURNAL-ARTICLE
  • ITC-HYBRID

Cite this

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title = "Mapping Urban Accessibility in Data Scarce Contexts Using Space Syntax and Location-Based Methods",
abstract = "Data scarcity is still a common barrier to adequately understanding urban access in Global South countries. Widely used location-based methods address the traditional definition of accessibility as the easiness to reach land-uses by means of available mobility modes. Space Syntax instead analyses accessibility as network centrality focusing only on the topological and geometric properties of urban layouts, making it comparatively less data-intense. However, the interpretation of its outputs is limited to its own theory. Knowledge is missing on how such metrics are comparable to the metrics produced by location-based methods. The objective of the research was to compare both approaches for mapping urban accessibility in two cities in Guatemala. Our hypothesis tested the assumption that Space Syntax metrics could consistently reflect accessibility conditions that so far have only been measured by location-based methods. We proposed an approach using volunteered geo-information and produced accessibility maps following both approaches that were then compared using Pearson correlations. Space Syntax metrics at low and high radii are consistently correlated with location-based access to land uses that reflect location quality at neighbourhood and city-wide scale correspondingly. Space Syntax metrics at lower radii reflect time-based access restrictions either posed in the location-based analyses or by reduced accessibility by public transport. The hypothesis acceptance, p < 0.01, expands the scope of accessibility knowledge derivable from limited data availability using Space Syntax, which is relevant for its applicability in data-scarce contexts by planners and researchers in the Global South. Rather than replacing location-based methods Space Syntax offers an important complementary measure to geographical accessibility. This having been said, Space Syntax could contribute to early-stage planning by gaining overall insights into patterns of urban access.",
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