Building density of parcels and block-faces from a syntactical, morphological and planning perspective

Alice Vialard, Ann Carpenter

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


In a sprawling metropolitan area such as Atlanta, sustainability can be achieved by building upon the potential of a site. Potential can be found in the availability of land that creates opportunities for new buildings, but can also be found in planning guidelines, the morphological conditions of parcels and blocks, and the syntactical accessibility provided by the street network. While buildings and land uses can be changed and do change over time to accommodate new functions, the street network remains fairly stable and unchanged. While many studies of urban development have focused on the block or street segment, in this paper we focus on the finer scales of the parcel and the block-face. Using City of Atlanta data, this paper seeks to understand the relationships between parcel and block-face building density and planning, morphological, and syntactical variables, taking into account several control variables. Descriptive and inferential statistics are presented, including model results that describe the effects of planning, morphological, and syntactical variables on building density. Results support the hypothesis that connectivity, centrality, local and global street density, block size, access to diverse land uses, and land value have mixed effects on building density, depending on the scale of analysis and the land uses present. The results have important implications for land use and zoning policy. For example, accessibility and visibility are required at varying levels for different types of land uses, warranting an analysis of reach in assigning land use and zoning overlays to parcels. Additional findings include that different types of land uses require different types of building density and street connectivity, that parcel coverage is highly correlated to high local and global street density, and that street network diversity encourages density.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes
Event10th International Space Syntax Symposium, SSS 2015 - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 13 Jul 201517 Jul 2015


Conference10th International Space Syntax Symposium, SSS 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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