Extracting the DNA of the city as an identity graph

Graphing the City was submitted as the dissertation for Laurence Elsdon’s Master of Architecture degree at Northumbria University in January 2017. He was awarded a Distinction (Exemplary), the highest possible accolade.

Using structured data from the Wikidata and Google Knowledge Graph Search APIs, this paper introduces a computational method to diagrammatically reduce the places of interest within a city to an identity graph. This experimental research extends Hillier & Hanson’s (1984) concept of extracting the genotype of a dwelling from its topological graph, taking it from the microscopic scale of the house to the macroscopic city scale.

The paper begins with an exploration of the existing literature on many relevant topics including urban identity, space syntax, social network analysis and volunteered geographic information. The literature then leads the development of a data collection and analysis application which is used to analyse five cities using graph theoretic social network analysis formula to quantitatively and objectively explore the commonalities and unique elements of their architectural identities.

The complete paper can be downloaded here and the application can be found here.

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