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Publication Detail
Linking business records, cartographic sources and space syntax data to compare the spatial morphology of the furniture industry in two areas of nineteenth-century London
Abstract
This paper gives a precise account of the methodological issues involved in using space syntax methods for comparative research into the spatial morphologies of furniture manufacture in the Shoreditch and Tottenham Court Road areas of nineteenth-century London. The work involved linking business records from trade directories to individual building plots identified in historical Ordnance Survey maps and GOAD fire insurance plans, and then assigning space syntax variables to these plots derived from configurational analysis of London’s street network. The partial and contingent nature of historical source material presents particular epistemological questions for the space syntax approach which is more accustomed to processing pre-prepared datasets in social-scientific mode. Historical research with its focus on primary source material requires the deployment of a more open-ended and contingent research process that can readily adapt to the irregularities and imperfections of the source material and the consequent changes in research focus. The research identified significant differences in the spatial morphologies of the two areas that suggest the existence of distinctive spatial cultures of manufacture. This paper canvasses the mapping issues entailed in this work that have broad relevance to research in the digital humanities.
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The Bartlett School of Architecture
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The Bartlett School of Architecture
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