Analysis of spatial relations   1 2 3

How are spatial relations measured and analysed?

1. The central role of a justified graph

Complex spatial relations, represented as a graph, can be visually simplified by drawing a justified graph. A circle is put at the base representing the root of the graph, and then all circles directly connected to that root – meaning depth 1 – are aligned immediately above it and all circles at depth 2 are directly connected to those at depth 1, and so on until all levels of depth from that root are accounted for (see figure A )

When justified graphs are drawn from different root spaces, the shape of the graph changes (see figure A). Each graph gives a picture of what the whole layout looks like from that particular space. The key is that a spatial  layout of either a building or a settlement not only looks different but is different when seen from different perspectives. (see figure A and B)

2. Three concepts of distance

One of the basic ideas in measuring spatial relations is the concept of depth, meaning the distance between any pair of spatial elements. Three definitions of distance are used:

1. Topological distance, the number of turns from one space to another  (see figure  A)

2. Angular distance, the angular change from one space to another

3. Metric distance, the Euclidean distance in metres from one space to another

Different spatial patterns will be generated by assessing the three types of distance.


A  Justified graphs of the same house seen from room A (Left) and from house entrance (Right)

A  Justified graphs of the same house seen from room A (Left) and from house entrance (Right)

B  Justified graphs of the same settlement seen from two different streets (red and blue)

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