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The effect of movement network on upgrading of informal settlements during spatial configuration: case of Erbil city--Kurdistan region--Iraq.


Informal settlements or settlements of the urban poor that result from unauthorised occupation of land, usually without any responsibility to land use and building regulations physically and legally [1].Upgrading--or informal settlement improvement refers to supply a package of essential services. And this improves the well-being of the community, authorising and 'regularizing' the properties in conditions of insecure or unclear tenure, in addition provides a package of improvements in streets and alleyways [2].

Spatial and locational dimensions, particularly the settlement's layout and its relationship to its urban environments, have played a primary role in the development course of the informal settlements. Accordingly, the different degrees to which they have became upgraded [3]. In addition, the spatial layout of these settlements has an effect on their pattern of movement [4]. And this pattern in the settlements related to the configuration of the street grid [5]. The importance of configuration lies in this effect on movement because of the vital influence of movement patterns in generating co-presence between people and therefore supporting social exchange [3]. Subsequently it is possible to predict movement patterns in urban space through configurational measures, [4].

Configurational measures are that they have been revealed to relate intensely with pedestrian and vehicular movement in many cities, without reference to any other aspects such as land use or population density. The configuration of the street network itself has an impact on the street level distribution of movement rates. Since the streets passed through in any journey will tend to be those that provide the simpler routes through the grid [3]. This spatial effect which assist the process of socio-economical and physical self-improvement of informal settlements has observable obligation in the academic and decision-making source [6].


The case study is Badawa informal settlement in Erbil city--the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan region--that is located in the north of Iraq. The spatial structure of Erbil city constructed on a continuous growth around the citadel [7]. The informal settlements of the city include the neighbourhoods (Badawa, Kurani Enkawa) and parts of neighbourhoods (Khabat, Saydawa and Bahar) (Fig.1).The reasons of selection Badawa settlement for determining spatial configuration are: It is the largest informal settlement in size (area) 38.1 ha and houses 3964 informal units. There is a lack of most public facilities in the settlement, moreover the public spaces (streets and alleyways) characterised by both semi--regular and traditional arrangements (Fig.2).

A model of the spatial system of selected informal settlement constructed for the configurational analysis what in space syntax approach is called an axial map.The axial map represents public space (streets and pathways) accessible for pedestrians and vehicles [5] [8]. This study will adopt a procedure of configurational measurement by building of space syntax computer model to measure:

(i) Local integration: To calculate more localised measures of integration by limiting the calculation to a specific number of steps of depth such as within three steps known as local integration (radius 3).

(ii) Global integration: refers to calculating the integration of streets relative to all other lines in a system known as (radius-n).A computer model represents the integration values of each line in a colored spectrum of red to blue (red-yellow-blue-green), from high to low integration.

(iii) Connectivity measure: Refers to the number of direct connections of each street which gives the importance scale to each street.

(iv) Intelligibility and Synergy: They are Syntactic measurements that capture the relation between the local and global configurational properties of the system. The first refers to the relationship between global integration and connectivity while the second to the correlation between global and local integration.

(v) Axial integration core: Refers to the most integrating lines and their relationship in the system. Fig. 3 shows that the high integrating lines pass through the center and also biases towards one end of the area and towards much of the [8].

Results and Conclusion:

(i) The rate of integrated axial lines as shown in figure 4(c) classified according colors from the yellow to blue, which represent the high to low integration or the importance of the axial lines (streets and alleyways).

(ii) The axial integration core (yellow color axial lines) Which can be considered as the centre of informal areas gets more importance than the other areas for upgrading.

(iii) The syntactic properties of informal settlement layout affect the levels of importance movement routes. The configurational measures contribute in determining the rate of centrality in informal areas according their streets and alleyways.

(iv) The study contribution for Erbil municipality authorities is to understand the influence of movement networks on the upgrading priorities of informal settlements in Erbil city.


[1] Huchzermeyer, M., 2009. The struggle for in situ upgrading of informal settlements: a reflection on cases in Gauteng, Development Southern Africa, 26(1): 59-73.

[2] El Menshawy, A., S.S. Aly and A.M. Salman, 2011. Sustainable up grading of informal settlements in the developing world, case study: Ezzbet Abd El Meniem Riyadh, Alexandria, Egypt, 2011 International Conference on Green Buildings and Sustainable Cities, Procedia Engineering, 21: 168-177.

[3] Hillier, B., M. Greene, J. Desyllas, 2000. Self-Generated Neighbourhoods: the role of Urban form in the consolidation of informal settlements, Urban Design International, 5(2): 61-96.

[4] Greene, M., 2002. From Informal Settlements to Sustainable Neighbourhoods: The role of spatial configuration in the urban system, PhD Thesis, The Bartlett School of Graduate Studies, University College London.

[5] Hillier, B., 1996. Space is the machine, a configurational theory, Book, University of Cambridge, London, UK.

[6] Shafiei, K., 2007. Internal Commercial Streets and The Consolidation of large Informal Neighbourhoods: the case of Zahedan, Iran, proceeding, 6th International Space Syntax Symposium, Istanbul.

[7] Dar Alhandasa, 2008. Erbil City Master Plan Report (No. IQ0587-RPT-PM-04 Rev 1), Erbil, Iraq.

[8] Hillier, B., J. Hanson, 1984. The Social Logic of Space, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1984.

Kayfi Akram Mawlan, Norazmawati Md Sani, Kausar Hj Ali, Abdul Gaphar Othman

School of Housing, Building and Planning, University Sains Malaysia. Penang, Malaysia


Article history:

Received 12 October 2014

Received in revised form 26 December 2014

Accepted 1 January 2015

Available online 17 February 2015

Corresponding Author: Kayfi Akram Mawlan, School of Housing, Building and Planning, University Sains Malaysia. Penang, Malaysia

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Author:Mawlan, Kayfi Akram; Sani, Norazmawati Md; Ali, Kausar Hj; Othman, Abdul Gaphar
Publication:Advances in Environmental Biology
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Mar 1, 2015
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