Introduction to PLACE LOGIC by Robert Adam


Professor Robert Adam is a visiting professor at the University of Strathclyde and has worked closely with Professor Sergio Porta, Professor of Urban Design and Head of Architecture at University of Strathclyde, to develop the business potential of the Multiple Centrality Assessment (MCA), the scientific basis of PLACE LOGIC

Accessibility and centrality may seem to be simple. But as many past failures illustrate, the complex pattern of streets, lanes and alleyways that people choose to take can be hard to judge and the precise limits of a town centre are not fixed. And, as anyone who uses an historic town regularly knows, the most convenient route might need exploration and can be unexpected. Add all these factors together from everyone everywhere in a town, and you have a complicated situation that lends itself to mathematical analysis.

In the last two years we have been refining just such a mathematical technique for analysing how towns work. This is based on the Multiple Centrality Assessment research conducted over several years by the University of Strathclyde, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, and the Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics. It draws on research into complex networks in nature, society, culture and technology which emerged in the late 1950s and have gained momentum since the 1990s. We have called this PLACE LOGIC. PLACE LOGIC uses the most up-to-date network analysis applied to GIS (accurate vector maps containing geographical information) which can then be illustrated to scale and overlaid on maps or aerial photographs.

PLACE LOGIC is a simple-to use graphic methodology for establishing which part of a place is most "central". Central streets, for example, are more likely to have people passing through them. Research shows that a central place is likely to develop in time higher levels of social activities, i.e. exhibits more potential for “urban buzz”. PLACE LOGIC can be used for a wide range of analysis. By setting up a simple-to-use analysis of urban structure, different options for changes to street arrangements can be tested out. New master plans can incorporate an effective layout for maximum accessibility, which can then feed directly into highway design and proposed land uses, such as retail shops and community services. These uses can be allocated to those places which have the highest relevant potential activity, thereby minimizing the risk of long term failure. The outcomes of these and other analyses can be tested at different scales, from neighbourhoods to regions, and the results are based on and can be presented directly on existing maps and aerial photographs.

PLACE LOGIC is available for use now and will continue to be developed to provide increasingly sophisticated analytical relationships between use and movement.