A Comparative Study of Urban Spatial Characteristics of the Capitals of Tang and Song Dynasties Based on Space Syntax

Liran Yin, Tao Wang, Kemi Adeyeye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Space syntax have been widely used in studies with historical components. The purpose being to develop a common analytical language for the comparative study of urban morphology across time and space by means of visual diagrams. In this paper, space syntax theory is utilized for the comparative study of the urban spatial structure in Chang’an of the Tang Dynasty and Dongjing of the Northern Song Dynasty. The two capitals formed the important turning point of urban transformation in China’s ancient feudal society. With the operation methods of axial line and isovists of Depthmap, the parameters of connectivity, integration, intelligibility, and synergy were studied within the overall urban spatial structure, commercial spatial structure, and square nodes of the two cities. It is thus demonstrated that, space syntax methods can have been effectively applied to study the spatial patterns of modern cities, can also be used to better understand the evolution of the spatial structure of ancient cities. The findings show that the two capitals of the Tang and Song dynasties are determined by their political attributes, which in turn dominate the economic distribution, urban form and cultural centres of both cities. Therefore, the political attributes of a city have a significant impact on the evolution and control of the layout of ancient cities.
Original languageEnglish
Article number34
JournalUrban Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2021


  • Depthmap
  • Space syntax
  • Spatial configuration
  • Urban spatial structure
  • urban transformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Architecture

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