Investigating the Impact of Educational Space Design in Fostering Social Distancing: A Case Study of the University of Technology Buildings, Iraq




educational space design, university buildings, social distancing, space syntax


In the light of the ongoing outbreak of epidemics, the Iraqi government ordered the temporary closure of university buildings and explicit compliance with social distancing, fearing increased infection rates among the large numbers of students. This closure, and the fear of infection, acted as an obstacle for users of educational spaces. To overcome this challenge, the study aimed to investigate the impact of educational space design on the effectiveness of social distancing to reduce the spread of epidemics. The shape, area, and furniture arrangement pattern were determined in the study of educational spaces design as a spatial configuration through the level of wayfinding and permeability. To better understand the relationship between the design of the current educational spaces and the effectiveness of social distancing, this study used a visual survey, field visits, and a quantitative method using a space syntax analysis. And the analysis was carried out on various models of educational spaces design in three elected samples of the buildings of the Technological University Baghdad, Iraq. The analysis values were represented in quantitative tables to illustrate the values of the space syntax attributes and charts showing measures of permeability and wayfinding in all the analysed models. The study results show an impact and a close relationship between the elements of educational space design as a spatial composition and the effectiveness of social distancing. This relationship is formed by the effect of the shape, space, and furniture arrangement pattern in changing the values of spatial space relationships. Furthermore, permeability and wayfinding as spatial characteristics depend on those relationships and control users’ circulation within the educational space, which is essential in determining the effectiveness of social distancing.