Urban rhythms: historic housing evolution and socio‐spatial boundaries

2019-03-07T12:02:52Z (GMT) by Garyfalia Palaiologou Laura Vaughan
This paper discusses part of research in progress that studies the potential role of spatial boundaries in historic housing transformations. Boundaries are considered here to be the spatial locations where the socio‐ spatial scales overlap and potentially interact. The socio‐spatial scales that are discussed here include the building scale/domestic interior and the urban block/urban neighbourhood. Moreover, the urban block is considered in reference to the background context of the urban area/local community. Overall, this research aims in studying housing transformations from an urban scale perspective; namely, to form an approach that is holistic in its scope. Thus architectural design and urban planning are studied in reference to each other, by relating the domestic interior to urban landscape, whilst taking into consideration the social solidarities that these spatial patterns support. It is suggested that spatial boundaries control the flow of social users in spatial patterns, being at the same time potential interfaces at different scales of activity where the individual is (successively or abruptly) transformed from inhabitant, to commuter and to citizen. Accordingly, as it will be discussed, the way the transition between the socio‐spatial scales is structured defines whether the boundary divides, connects and allows interaction between these scales. More specifically, this paper focuses on the street‐dwelling relation and on how the public‐private interface shifts over time. The study aims to analyse whether boundaries shift in response to changes in society and consequential changes in built form. The methodological approach is based upon a study of the relationship between the architectural and morphological aspects of space (Conzenian approaches) with the analytical measures of Space Syntax Theory (Griffiths et al., 2010), and done so for all studied scales (urban area, urban block, residence unit). The intention is to relate the architectural‐morphological properties (in a way the three dimensional configuration) of the housing typology to the scale of the urban block and its surrounding area. In particular, the housing typology discussed in this paper is the New York row‐house and the way it evolved within the historic spatial patterns of the city’s West Village. The study shows how the forces that shaped the built form around the studied street, Grove Street, have implemented shifts in the boundary of the building with the street, transforming in turn the public‐private interface and the neighbourhood profile.