Case Studies

Margate, Old Town

Spatial Integration Analysis

The thicker the line the greater the movement potential

"Thank you very much for organising last night's talks. Your speakers were excellent and generated discussion until our heads hit the pillow....really well content-ed and presented talks. I am so cheesed off with the rounds of rubbish, 10-minute wonder powerpoints that are called CPD these days - your balanced event was very refreshing and challenging, more like a symposium."

Attendee at an "OpenSpace" event at Space Syntax's London studio

The problem

Margate’s Old Town is a unique, historic environment but cut off from the wider town centre and under-used. Our public sector clients, Thanet District Council and Kent County Council, wanted a solution to unlock the potential of the Old Town and attract investment there.

Our contribution

We began by identifying and illustrating the key physical constraints to social and economic regeneration in the Old Town. We based our diagnosis on a careful analysis of the historic evolution of the centre, its current patterns of economic activity and its patterns of pedestrian movement.

We found that the Old Town has a simple, usable internal layout but is largely impenetrable from the outside. Visitors to Margate simply can’t find their way in.

We identified a significant opportunity to create a new, highly visible route into the Old Town, which became known as “Old Town Way”. We tested this route using a pedestrian movement model and found it was likely to bring substantial improvements in pedestrian flows. Old Town Way became the catalyst for the overall regeneration plan.

The outcome

Our diagnosis and subsequent design vision helped to raise the profile of the Old Town in the eyes of developers and policymakers. A Margate Masterplan – which highlights the importance of drawing movement into the Old Town – has been commissioned and has received strong public support.