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Open AccessArticle

The Legibility and Permeability of Cities: Examining the Role of Spatial Data and Metrics

School of Surveying and Geospatial Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Tehran, North Kargar Ave., Jalal Al. Ahmad Crossing, Tehran 14395515, Iran
Naval Academy Research Institute, Lanvéoc-Poulmic, BP 600, Brest Naval, Brest 29240, France
Department of Urbanism, College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran, 16th Azar St., Enghelab Sq., Tehran 14155645, Iran
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Wolfgang Kainz
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2017, 6(4), 101;
Received: 20 December 2016 / Revised: 12 March 2017 / Accepted: 25 March 2017 / Published: 30 March 2017
PDF [26526 KB, uploaded 30 March 2017]


It has been long recognised that the underlying spatial structure plays an important role when navigating in urban environments. However, the modelling of the forms and properties that emerge from the city is still a difficult issue to address. The objective of the research developed in this paper is to study and represent two important qualities of urban environments as identified by Lynch and Bentley in their respective seminal works, that is, legibility and permeability. Our objective is to identify and implement a series of metrics applied to the layout of a given city that reflects these concepts of legibility, and then to evaluate to which degree these measures are correlated to different human perceptions of the city, particularly differences between humans who have or have not had an experience of a given urban environment. The whole approach is applied to the context of a neighbourhood of the city of Tehran in Iran. The findings show that permeability match relatively well with residents’ evaluations while legibility rather complies with newcomers’ evaluations. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban form; legibility; permeability; spatial metrics; human perception urban form; legibility; permeability; spatial metrics; human perception

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Silavi, T.; Hakimpour, F.; Claramunt, C.; Nourian, F. The Legibility and Permeability of Cities: Examining the Role of Spatial Data and Metrics. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2017, 6, 101.

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