Spatial Logic of Shopping Malls: Application of Space Syntax in understanding Economics of Architecture


  • Sumanta Deb Department of Architecture, Town and Regional Planning, IIEST, Shibpur-711103, West Bengal
  • Keya Mitra Department of Architecture, Town and Regional Planning, IIEST, Shibpur-711103, West Bengal



Bid-Rent Model, Integration, Space Syntax, Tenanting Decision Making


Research findings of architecture and environmental psychology espouse the supremacy of built environment in influencing human behavior in general and movement behavior within buildings and urban areas in particular. Retail management studies on the other hand highlight the importance of influencing human movement as a determining factor for tenant-mix design. Identifying a proper mix of tenant stores in a shopping mall is responsible for its economic performance and is considered a strategic mall management decision. In practice, this decision is taken by management professionals, based mostly on gut feeling or rule of thumb. So, there is a scope for integration of knowledge of these two different disciplines for significantly enhancing tenanting decision making in shopping malls, which will ultimately lead to its economic success. A proper methodology is required in this juncture to relate spatial configuration with movement. Verbal description of space, prevalent in the architectural practice, makes it difficult for correlating with measurable variables like footfall. Space syntax analysis is a potential evidence based approach for quantitative description of configuration in explaining movement through space. The purpose of this paper is twofold: identifying the supremacy of space syntax measures over normal metric measures and establishing a spatial rationale behind tenanting decision making (optimal area and rent of tenant stores) through developing the standard bid-rent model with tenant store specific variables and solving under the conditions of maximizing profit and situation of perfect competition. Consequently, retail space planning will not only be an accommodator of functional requirements but will be a potential tool for economic success through generating, controlling and predicting movement.

Search Keywords for This Page

Logic of space, Space syntax architecture, Architectural standards shopping mall, Journal of space syntax, Space syntax in architecture, Economic importance of shopping malls, Understanding space in architecture, Shopping mall architecture case study


Download data is not yet available.


Brown, G. (1999). Design and value: Spatial form and the economic failure of a mall. Journal of Real Estate Research, 17(2), 189-225.

Carter, C. C., and Allen, M. T. (2012). A method for determining optimal tenant mix (including location) in shopping centers. Cornell Real Estate Review, 10(1), 72-85.

Charles, C., and Vandell, K. (2005). Store location in shopping centers: Theory and estimates. Journal of Real Estate Research, 27(3), 237-266.

Garg, A. K., and Steyn, S. (2015). The Ideal Tenant Mix and Shopping Centre Size for the Proposed Thatchfield Convenience Centre. International Journal of Business and Management, 10(1), 243-257.

Hillier, B. (1996). Cities as movement economies. Urban Design International, 1(1), 41-60.

Hillier, B., and Leaman, A. (1976). Architecture as a discipline. Journal of Architectural Research, 5(1), 28-32.

Hillier, B., Hanson, J., Peponis, J., Hudson, J., and Burdett, R. (1983). Space syntax, A Different urban perspective. Architect’s Journal, 178, 47-63.

Kyriaziz, A. N., and Cloete, C. E. (2018). Tenant mix in shopping centres: South Africa and the United Kingdom compared, Journal of Business and Retail Management Research, 12(2), 152-162.

Maitland, B. (1985). Shopping malls: planning and design. Nichols Pub Co.

Marona, B., and Wilk, A. (2016). Tenant mix structure in shopping centres: some empirical analyses from Poland. Entrepreneurial Business and Economics Review, 4(2), 51-65.

Pashigian, B. P., and Gould, E. D. (1998). Internalizing externalities: the pricing of space in shopping malls. The Journal of Law and Economics, 41(1), 115-142.

Peponis, J., Karadima, C., & Bafna, S. (2003). On the formulation of spatial meaning in architectural design. In Proceedings to the 4th International Space Syntax Symposium.

Piatkowska, K. K. (2012). Economy and architecture. The role of architecture in process of building the economic potential of space, Humanities and Social Sciences Review, 1(2), 549-555.

Roulac, S. (1996). Real estate market cycles, transformation forces and structural change. Journal of Real Estate Portfolio Management, 2(1), 1-17.

Sadalla, E. K. and Staplin, L. J. (1980). The perception of traversed distance, interactions. Environment and Behaviour, 12, 167-182.

Sim, L. and Way, C. (1989). Tenant placement in a Singapore shopping centre. International Journal of Retailing, 4, 4-16.

Vandell, K. D. & Lane, J. S. (1989). The economics of architecture and urban design: some preliminary findings. Real Estate Economics, 17(2), 235-260.

Verdil, A. (2009). Transformation of Space Behaviour Relation: A Case Study of Shopping Centres in Istanbul. In Proceedings of 7th International Space Syntax Symposium in KTH, Stockholm.

Vitorino, M. A. (2012). Empirical entry games with complementarities: An application to the shopping center industry. Journal of Marketing Research, 49(2), 175-191.

Voordt, D. J. M. Van der. & Vrielink, D. (1987). Kostenkwaliteit van wijkwelzijnsaccommodaties.

YimYiu, C., & Xu, S. Y. (2012). A tenant-mix model for shopping malls. European Journal of Marketing, 46(3/4), 524-541.




How to Cite

Sumanta Deb, & Keya Mitra. (2020). Spatial Logic of Shopping Malls: Application of Space Syntax in understanding Economics of Architecture. Creative Space, 7(2), 109–117.