Architecture in the Making
Architecture as a Making Discipline
and Material Practice

Making Space: The Concept and Geometry of Space in Sociology, Geography and Architecture

Marcus, Lars. Westin, Sara. Liebst, Lasse

Project Contact:
Project Type: Research Project
Project Period: 201302-201309


Few concepts have been as loosly floating around in recent academic debate in the social sciences as ‘space’. From the point of view of architecture where the concept often is taken for granted it is extremely important to try to pinpoint more exactly how space is understood in its field in comparison to other disciplines, primarily geography and sociology, both since such fields often is referenced and integrated in architectural research and since architecture here might have more to offer than first realised.

While space is a ubiquitous but elusive concept in current sociology it was pointed out from the beginning, most poignantly by Emile Durkheim, as a central field of research for sociology, denominated social morphology. As such it has never really been developed in sociology but has rather been taken over by human geography. The way space is currently conceptualised in sociology and geometrically represented in human geography therefore is intrinsic to the development and positioning of architectural research commited to spatial analysis.

In this paper the conceptualisations and geometric representations in sociology will be critically discussed with the specific aim of positioning and assessing analytical architectural theory on space, primarily space syntax, but also adhering theory with the aim of more particularly identify the relations between these spatial disciplines and not least the potential contribution of architecture to these disciplines in this respect.


Lars Marcus is professor in Urban Design at KTH School of Architecture in Stockholm. He manages the research group Spatial Analysis and Design (SAD), in the field of Spatial Morphology, here interpreted as the study of how spatial form generated by architecture and urban design supports, structures and sets limits to people’s use of space as an aspect of everyday life. He has also developed and chaired the international 2-year master program Sustainable Urban Planning and Design (SUPD) and is founder and partner in the consultancy firm Spacescape, performing spatial analysis, design support and policy development in architectural and urban projects for architects, municipalities and real estate companies.

Sara Westin is a doctor in Human Geography at the department of Human Geography at Uppsala University.

Lasse Liebst is a doctoral student at the department of Sociology at University of Copenhagen.


BibBase marcus, l
generated by
  2013 (1)
A sustainable urban fabric : The development and application of analytical urban design theory. Marcus, L. In Sustainable Stockholm : Exploring sustainability in Europe's greenest city, volume s. 71-101. Sustainable Stockholm : Exploring sustainability in Europe's greenest city Routledge, 2013.
A sustainable urban fabric : The development and application of analytical urban design theory [link]Paper   link   bibtex  

As part of both the development of the environment and as a means to communicate our activities some of the lectures and seminars arranged are available online. Visit our Youtube-channel here.