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Knowledge of urban space through saliency maps and space syntax tools. Experimentation on historic center of Rieti

Leonardo Paris, Maria Laura Rossi, Angela Moschetti


The 60s of the last century were characterized by a great cultural ferment on the theme of urban space and its transformations resulting from conurbation. The political, social, economic, and environmental implications of this phenomenon were notable, to which we attempted to give both a cultural and scientific response. An important aspect concerned the need to govern urban and territorial transformations, guaranteeing the quality of urban space but, at the same time, safeguarding the memory of the historic centers which, precisely in those years, were undergoing the strong pressure of conurbation dynamics. One of the key studies is undoubtedly The Image of the City by Kevin Lynch from 1960 in which the author analyzes the role of environmental images in the perception of the city and its space. These studies are followed by other equally famous contributions (Cullen, 1961; Rossi, 1966; Norberg-Schulz, 1979) which, by exploring the mechanisms of the individual’s perception of the environment, have given rise to a vast literature in the international field. Experiments in which the authors deal with urban reality, with its experience and the history of the traditional city in an attempt to develop codes to interpret and evaluate not only the characteristics of the physical city, but to look at urban spaces as spaces of relation.
Subsequent studies were started from the theories developed by Lynch and Cullen which define different methodologies for analyzing the urban landscape, to support the planning of new interventions and the transformation of pre-existing urban areas. Between the 70s and 80s, a group of researchers from University College London laid the foundations of what is now defined as spatial syntax, also known as configurational theory, applied to studies and analyses of urban space.



space syntax; configurational theory; evaluation maps; qualitative models; diachronic analysis.

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