de Medeiros, Valério Augusto Soares de Holanda, Frederico Borges Rosa Barros, Ana Paula Borba Gonçalves
Year of Publication:
Texto para Discussão, Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada (IPEA) 1601
This paper explores analytical tools designed to describe urban space-form structure at a global level, eventually in quantitative mode, by a configurational approach based on the Space Syntax Theory. The sample consists of 44 Brazilian cities, selected by demographic and cultural heritage criteria. Analyzing topological and geometrical aspects, aims at revealing attributes emerging from relations among parts in a system. Urbanistic features are investigated in an endeavour to understand how different layouts can be classified into specific spatial types. The city is evaluated according to its hierarchical structure, measured mainly in terms of its topological accessibility. The approach is underpinned by the theoretical, methodological and technical apparatus of Space Syntax Theory, employing axial map representation and its attributes. GIS tools are used to organise the database. The paper seeks to answer a question that is limited in scope by the exploratory nature and the specific approach of the research: is there a typical Brazilian city, contrasting with a world panorama? Four types of variables are considered, related to: 1) form and distribution; 2) density and compactness; 3) topology; 4) zoning/centralities. Three expressions summarise the findings and convey the idea of a typical Brazilian city: fragmentary space, patchwork and oasis in the labyrinth. This article is the first of a series of papers which the IPEA will publish aiming at incorporating features of the Theory of the Social Logic of Space or Space Syntax in urban studies.