Context-Specific Applications of Space Syntax on African Urban Sites

Author(s): Monika Baumanova

Year: 2018


Organisation of space in preserved buildings and town layouts in sub-Saharan Africa have increasingly been in the research scope of archaeologists and architectural historians alike. The methods of space syntax and its associated theory have, especially since 2000’s, paved its way to African archaeology and used for new interpretations of architecture e.g. of Benin, Dahomey and the Swahili coast.

Traditionally, space syntax is undertaken using access analysis graphs for individual buildings, and axial maps for towns, which allow researchers to comprehend the configuration of space formally represented as connected points and lines in a network. This paper presents a selection of illustrative case studies on how space syntax can work with remote sensing data, GIS databases and other analytical tools, and adapted to address specific research questions and historical cultural contexts in Africa. Street network analyses of West African historic towns and structural examinations of preserved stone buildings on various sites along the Swahili coast are used to show in what ways space syntax graphs can be adjusted to the current research agenda. Investigation of the built environment using complex graphical representations of its spatial partitioning and culturally embedded properties may include sensory perceptions such as vision and kinaesthetics.

Cite this Record

Context-Specific Applications of Space Syntax on African Urban Sites. Monika Baumanova. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444234)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -18.721; min lat: -35.174 ; max long: 61.699; max lat: 27.059 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 20085