The Architecture of Decision-Making Processes: A Game of Chess in the Spatial Configuration of the River Thames London


Urban forms emerge from the interplay of social, economic, political and cultural forces, which are partly attributed to decision-making processes of urban planning and design. However, decision-making involves the everyday life of using and navigating in the built environment to the management of urban space. This paper seeks to understand the basic notion of how pedestrian movement is related to land use choices in the built form. The hypothesis is that movement itself involves a choice; that is, a decision-making of direction and destination, of passing through or of static behaviour. The density of movement flow is seen as a result of locations that potentially become attractors that have a rich distribution of land use. How we accommodate and modulate movement is thus important in helping us understand the multiple effects of everyday use that arises from decision-making processes and its subsequent effectuation in the configuration of urban space. Therefore, two key questions are addressed: first, how the types of movement choices influence and are influenced by the spatial layout; and second, how the distribution of land uses is affected by such choices. The paper uses Space Syntax and Game theory as a combination of theoretical frameworks that study independent and interdependent decision-making processes in urban space, to answer these questions. Taking the River Thames Path as an example, the research project focuses on the unconnected section of the river walk between London Bridge and Southwark Bridge. In analogy with a game of chess, the results demonstrate how different kinds of choices are ruled primarily by the location of commercial uses in the urban grid.


Chess theory, Urban Space Configuration

How to Cite

Narvaez, L., (2014) “The Architecture of Decision-Making Processes: A Game of Chess in the Spatial Configuration of the River Thames London”, Opticon1826 16, Art. 2.







Laura Narvaez (UCL, Bartlett)



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