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Open Engineering

formerly Central European Journal of Engineering

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Random-walk mobility analysis of Lisbon’s plans for the post-1755 reconstruction

Mafalda Teixeira de Sampayo
  • CIESIUL Centre for Research and Studies in Sociology, Department of Architecture and Urbanism, Lisbon University Institute, Lisbon, Portugal
/ David Sousa-Rodrigues
  • Centre for Complexity and Design, The Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
Published Online: 2016-11-02 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/eng-2016-0040


The different options for the reconstruction of the city of Lisbon in the aftermath of the 1755 earthquake are studied with an agent-based model based on randomwalks. This method gives a comparative quantitative measure of mobility of the circulation spaces within the city. The plans proposed for the city of Lisbon signified a departure from the medieval mobility city model. The intricacy of the old city circulation spaces is greatly reduced in the new plans and the mobility between different areas is substantially improved. The simulation results of the random–walk model show that those plans keeping the main force lines of the old city presented less improvement in terms ofmobility. The plans that had greater design freedom were, by contrast, easier to navigate. Lisbon’s reconstruction followed a plan that included a shift in the traditional notions of mobility. This affected the daily lives of its citizens by potentiating an easy access to the waterfront, simplifying orientation and navigability. Using the random-walk model it is shown how to quantitatively measure the potential that synthetic plans have in terms of the permeability and navigability of different city public spaces.

Keywords: 1755 earthquake; Lisbon; urban form; waterfront; mobility; navigability; agent-based; random-walk


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About the article

Received: 2016-03-28

Accepted: 2016-06-21

Published Online: 2016-11-02

Citation Information: Open Engineering, ISSN (Online) 2391-5439, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/eng-2016-0040. Export Citation

©2016 Mafalda Teixeira de Sampayo and David Sousa-Rodrigues. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

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