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SSS10 Proceedings of the 10th International Space Syntax Symposium

Disciplined Informality:
Assembling un-programmed spatial practices in three public
libraries in Medelln


Cau Capill
The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
cauecapille@gmail.com


Sophia Psarra

The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL


s.psarra@ucl.ac.uk

Abstract:
Medellns Library-Parks were built with the main purpose of strengthening the sense of community of
each librarys surrounding neighbourhoods. In addition to original programmes of public libraries, these
buildings organise cultural events and meetings for sharing ideas and practices. Great importance is
given to the generation of informal interactions in the libraries, and to the networks that are constructed
by these interactions. Interactions are programmed (events organised by the libraries) but also un-
programmed based on random encounters, which generate emergent social networks. However, despite
the intention to support community emancipation through informal networks, the organisational
structure of the libraries may control such unprogrammed formations through institutional rules for
organisation of behaviours. In fact, even if there are no official intentions for social control, the mere
presence of staff means that human activities may be observed and informal networks affected. This
leads to an implicit form of control that can be more pervasive than overt control based on predefined
behavioural rules.
Understanding the tensions behind the organisational aims built upon the desire to enable informal
interactions leading to self-organised social groups and at the same time define institutional rules that
discipline society is the main topic of this paper. In particular, we look at three cases San Javier,
Fernando Botero and Beln libraries focusing on how observed informal interactions associate with the
libraries organisational control. Rather than looking at these social practices as rates of activity, which is
the normal research practice in studies of space and activity using space syntax, we develop a method to
address them as socio-spatial network elements. This approach reveals phenomena that would not be
made visible otherwise: that is, of the ways in which the Library-Parks structure informal interactions
potentially supporting the development of self-organised social groups and at the same time define
institutional rules that discipline society.
It is found that the three buildings work in significantly different ways, despite their similar programme.
In San Javier, space is used as the instrument of tactics of disciplinary control, particularly through
controlling thresholds of communication between different user clusters and through constant
surveillance of each cluster. In turn, Fernando Botero becomes a network where clusters of users are
linearly linked by transition spaces that work as bridges. Different clusters are separated with sharp

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Disciplined Informality: Assembling un-programmed spatial practices in three public libraries in Medelln

SSS10 Proceedings of the 10th International Space Syntax Symposium


programmatic boundaries, excluding unpredicted mixing of activities and making knowledge remain
internal to the group. It is argued that empowering space and society to be generative rather than
conservative can be achieved less by predicting the use of space and more by providing socio-spatial
conditions that allow unpredictability to flourish. In this sense, we propose that environments such as
Beln Library-Park support the formation of self-organised social groups. Structured on a core community
of clusters of informal interactions, this building can be an exemplar in terms of constructing social
awareness that surpasses the limits established by the Library-Parks Programme both in spatial and
transpatial dimensions.
Keywords:
Disciplinary tactics; Clusters of interactions; Informality; Public libraries; Generative space;
1. Un-programmed as a park, but organised as a library
Thus a courtroom stripped of judges and judged, and set in a funfair, ceases to be a
courtroom and becomes a pure expression of the generative laws of space. (Hillier, 1996)
Today libraries are becoming multi-functional places, housing many more activities than they did in the
past. These activities were mainly about the organisation of knowledge and access to information. Since
digital technology has offered everyone rapid and wide access to information, libraries have undergone
programmatic transformations (Sears & Crandall, 2010; Verheul, 2010). In fact, for some authors these
buildings became a public structure that just happen to house a library (Shoham & Yablonka, 2008).
This programmatic transformation is embedded in the description of the Project of Library-Parks in
Medelln, which places a great value to the formation of informal social networks and which
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diminishes the importance of the range and size of the libraries material collection . These buildings are
part of a greater project of urban upgrading of the poor communities of Medelln (Brand & Dvila,
2013; Dvila, 2013), which includes the provision of transport systems, schools, public spaces and other
public facilities. In the strategies utilised in this urban upgrading, there is an implicit idea that changing
urban and architectural structures may improve the social conditions of these neighbourhoods. In other
words, urban and architectural space would have the capacity to produce and alter society.
In the case of the Library-Parks programme, this role of changing the social is aimed to be constructed
through two main strategies (Montoya, 2014): the first one refers to the idea of using architecture as
means to represent this upgraded society. This is expressed by the sites chosen for these buildings
they are all in places that have a recent history of strong violence (executions camps, drug trafficking
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bases, prisons) that reminds of the Medelln of the Cartels (Melguizo & Cronshaw, 2001; Montoya,
2014). The intention for these libraries is to use the sites and the architecture of these buildings as
symbols of successful social change an idea that is broadcasted internationally, influencing other cities
(e.g. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) that started similar strategies in their own contexts.
The second strategy used by the Library-Parks Programme refers to the idea that these buildings are
capable of producing this social change. This role is stressed by the fact that the buildings are not just
libraries, but also parks. In fact, the emphasis on the idea that these buildings are public spaces in the
first place is implicit in the name of the programme (in Spanish), Parques-Biblioteca where park
comes first (Montoya, 2014). This is due to the fact that these facilities are supposed not only to
represent urban change, but also produce it though the arrangement of spaces that can generate a new

Reference: authors unpublished interview with Herman Montoya, Leader of Library-Park Programme, 2014.
In the 1970ies and 80ies, Medelln used to suffer from the control of major drug trafficking groups known as
Cartels.
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Disciplined Informality: Assembling un-programmed spatial practices in three public libraries in Medelln

SSS10 Proceedings of the 10th International Space Syntax Symposium


sense of community and citizenship through informal co-inhabitation (Empresa de Desarollo Urbano,
2014; Montoya, 2014). In other words, great importance is given to the generation of informal
interactions in the libraries, and to the networks that are constructed by these interactions. The library
part of the programme title refers to a set of different programmes that aim at educating these social
st
networks so as they can be integrated in a 21 century economy of production (Empresa de Desarollo
Urbano, 2014; Gallego, 2011) offering courses of informatics, small business administration, literacy,
language, arts etc. In short, implicit in these programmes is the idea that the library should help
organising this new society into a productive one. Therefore, while the first strategy representing and
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broadcasting social change through architecture may be considered successful , the second strategy
influencing a new society by the internal architectural operations of space and use remains to be fully
understood.
Understanding the tensions inherent in the library-park programme i.e. enabling informal interactions
to form self-organised social groups and at the same time use spatial strategies of disciplinary control in
alliance with the programme of integration of the community in the economic models of society is the
main topic of this paper. In particular, we focus on the underlying implication embedded in the main
functions and intentions of the Library-Park Programme: how groups of un-programmed interactions
created in the libraries associate with the libraries organisational intentions?
2. On tactics of disciplinary control
Different theories of knowledge define different organisations of space (Forgan, 1986; Koch, 2004;
Markus, 1993). Thomas Markus (1993) argues that these different spatial organisations embed power
relations, as for him knowledge is power (1993:169). However, how can we identify the spatial
dimensions of different types of knowledge? If we consider knowledge as socially constructed (Foucault,
2002; Latour, 1987, 2005), we may see three main different types of knowledge being produced in the
Library-Parks: one that comes from the social engagement with courses offered in the libraries that
enable the integration of people in the system of production; a second one that comes from the un-
programmed interactions that can generate self-organised social groups; finally, a third one that comes
from mechanisms of disciplinary control. In the first, knowledge comes from a relatively fixed or non-
negotiable structure of social relations (the predefined programme), compared to the structure of the
social relations that generate the second type of knowledge. The first type of knowledge may still be
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reproduced in architectural forms that conserve social relations . The second, however, cannot happen
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properly if architectural form does not give support to the negotiation of social descriptions .
Furthermore, even if architectural form does give support to the negotiation of social descriptions, social
practices may still operate in opposed directions than that which space points to. The third type of
knowledge is produced by subtle forms of control, where space is used as a tool to act on each
individuals mind, in order to make it docile (Foucault 1991). This takes place whenever spaces reinforce
the idea that individuals are under constant surveillance of a bureaucratic body that exists above them

Considering all the attention from international media that Medelln is receiving regarding these projects.
On the discussion on environments that conserve and/or generate social relations, see Hillier and Hanson
1984; Hillier and Penn 1991; Hanson 1996; Hillier and Netto 2002. The distinction between generative and
conservative buildings was introduced by Hillier (Hillier & Penn, 1991; Hillier, Peponis, & Hanson, 1984; Hillier, 1996)
and has marked a generation of studies (Hanson, 1996; Psarra et al., 2007; Sailer & Penn, 2009; Sailer, 2007; Tzortzi,
2007). However, most of these works even when they dont maintain a sharp division between the two kinds of
programme do not offer a way to define a more detailed relationship between space and spatial culture.
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See Hillier and Netto (2002) for a thorough discussion on organisations that specialise in the negotiation of
descriptions and organisations that specialise in the control of descriptions. In particular, see their definitions of
political and legal organisations.

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Disciplined Informality: Assembling un-programmed spatial practices in three public libraries in Medelln

SSS10 Proceedings of the 10th International Space Syntax Symposium


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(Foucault 1991; Bernstein 2003) . However, this constant surveillance is ambiguously combined with
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spatial affordances that encourage participation and individualization (Foucault 1991; Bernstein 2003) .
Kim Dovey (2008) addresses this ambiguity between architectural affordances and social practices,
suggesting that there are five kinds of control through space: force, coercion, manipulation,
seduction and authority. Here, we will focus particularly in his definitions of coercion and authority,
since they emphasise a disjunction between spatial affordances and practices of control. Coercion is
described as a latent kind of force that operates by preventing subjects from ever forming intentions of
resistance. It gains its power from being under the cover of voluntarism through situations that may
resemble to allow free choice, but actually prevent it. An open gate with guards standing on both sides is
an example of coercion (Dovey 2008). Authority is defined by Dovey as a form of control marked by the
absence of argument, relying on an unquestioned recognition and compliance. Authority is, therefore,
integrated with the institutional structures of society such as the state, church, private corporation,
school and family (2008:14). Although being unquestioned, authority rests upon a base of
legitimation (Arendt apud Dovey, 2008:14), and the need for legitimation increases as power
becomes totalising (Dovey, 2008:17). In the case of the state, for example, this legitimation is
understood as public interest. Dovey considers that the notion of public interest is particularly complex
in public buildings which can serve at once to legitimise authority, reinforce a sense of community,
gratify the political or architectural will, turn a profit and reinforce self-deceit (2008:16). However, in
the Library-Parks of Medelln, since authoritarian forms of control would trigger a strong critique about
their role to construct self-organised communities, more implicit forms of control may take place.
Foucaults work offers an account of different types of social control from explicit to implicit
techniques. Studying the disciplinary frameworks of prisons, Foucault formulates that the transition from
public torture to the confinement of the prison as a punishment of a crime underpins a subtle tactic of
social control (Foucault, 1991). He argues that this transition took place during the eighteenth and
nineteenth centuries, and it is clear in the emergence of building typologies of this period: factories,
schools, prisons, hospitals and barracks all resemble each other and present different modalities of this
new form of control. The disciplines, as he names it, is the set of technologies of social control that
act through transforming the body of the person subjected to control into a docile, efficient (economic)
and useful social force (1991). However, despite the examples that he uses in support of his arguments
e.g. the detailed description of the Panopticon; the spatial organisation of military barracks; the time-
table of monasteries; and the distribution of students in schools he does not make clear how this
architecture that would operate to transform individuals (1991:172) actually performs such
transformation through the system of social and spatial relations.
In fact, some of the disciplinary tactics, such as exercise and constant surveillance, outlined by
Foucault may be seen as contradictory when considered together. Exercise is a technique by which
one imposes on the body tasks that are both repetitive and different, but always graduated
(1991:153,161), in order to bend behaviours towards a normalized state. On the other hand, constant
surveillance is a technique by which the exercise of power is made manifest through permanent
visibility of subjects activities, assuring the automatic functioning of power (1991). Foucault suggests
that all techniques he describes are acting towards the same goal that of the politically economic ()
ordering of human multiplicities (1991:218). However, studies such as those performed by Basil

In Foucault (1991), this bureaucratic body is the State; in Bernstein, it is represented by the School administration
and staff members.
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Foucault (1991) argues that the process of subjectification of the masses expressed in the creation of biometric
technologies of identification and in the tailoring of institutions, laws and punishments to reach each type of
individual exposes how the expression of each ones individuality facilitate their control towards a normalised
society. Bernstein sees a similar process in relation to situations that encourage that individuals make their
personality public.

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Disciplined Informality: Assembling un-programmed spatial practices in three public libraries in Medelln

SSS10 Proceedings of the 10th International Space Syntax Symposium


Bernstein (2003), show that, when applied separately, techniques very similar to the ones Foucault
describes may generate significantly different social outcomes.
Using the term classification, Bernstein describes how knowledge may be separated into subjects with
sharp boundaries or integrated into a more holistic whole. He calls framing the context (schools
spaces) and practice of teaching (the relation between teachers and pupils), which may also have sharp
boundaries, or be blurred one to another. Bernstein argues that the combination of these two aspects
classification and framing may create two opposed social solidarities. When boundaries between
different subjects have a clear-cut relationship, and context also clearly establishes how the process is
supposed to happen i.e. when a top-down control over pupils learning process is explicit then
differences in individualities are ignored and a normalized mechanical society (Durkheim apud
Bernstein 2003) is created. On the other hand, a teaching process where boundaries between subjects
and social positions of teacher and pupils are weak would allow individualities to be made manifest, and
then a society made of differentiated parts would be constructed. However, Bernstein reminds that in
this case an implicit form of control is established, since the more the individuality of each subject is
publicly expressed, the less it can be hidden from the knowledge of the group. For Bernstein, this is
perhaps an even more pervasive form of control. Considering Foucaults description on different forms
of control, we can see that the first type of school applies the disciplinary tactics of what Foucault calls
exercise; while the second type of school is based on constant surveillance, which would be more
efficient, since it is always operating on the body by the minimal effort (politically discreet) (Foucault
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1991:218) .
Since these techniques of control cannot be explicitly used in the libraries, space becomes the silent
instrument of their application (Dovey, 2008; Foucault, 1991, 1994). In this study, we investigate how
these two techniques that are here abstractly defined exercise and constant surveillance may be
combined in the spatial practices of Medellins public libraries. With these theoretical ideas in mind, the
question is formulated as follows: how can we capture the structure of practices that only happen in situ
and expose this controversial role of space? Our proposition is to explore them as networks of informal
interactions between visitor-to-visitor relations and networks of social control formed by staff-to-visitor
relationships.
3. Assembling Architecture as Networks of Practices
Here we present a method developed so as to capture social networks of interactions and their spatial
distribution inside the Library buildings. In particular, considering the topic of this paper, we address how
we describe and map visitors informal interactions that is, interactions that are the result of un-
programmed encounters and staffs surveillance patterns. The former capture visitors clusters of
interactions in space and visual connections among these clusters as a way to map the potential for the
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formation of virtual community (Hillier 1996) based on informal co-awareness and co-presence. The
latter describes visual awareness of visitors by staff and expresses the potential for surveillance and
therefore, disciplinary control. We analyse these maps combining methods from space syntax and social
network analysis. Finally, we describe the results of the analysis using these methods. It is argued that
the analysis using these maps reveals phenomena that would not be seen otherwise: that is, of the ways
in which the Library-Parks structure informal interactions potentially leading to networks of self-
organised social groups and at the same time define institutional rules that discipline society.

We are of course aware that Foucault is talking about techniques which initially applied through physical control of
the body are transferred to disciplinary knowledge of the mind. Here we are discussing Bernsteins differences in
pedagogical structures, which do not have an implicit spatial organisation.
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The paper considers three definitions of the notion of community: a) community as the surrounding
neighbourhood; b) community as co-presence and co-awareness in space; c) community as group cluster captured
by modularity analysis (see later in this article); The word community will be mainly used to refer to (c).

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Disciplined Informality: Assembling un-programmed spatial practices in three public libraries in Medelln

SSS10 Proceedings of the 10th International Space Syntax Symposium

N
floor 1

floor 2
floor 2

groundfloor

floor 1
floor 1
N

0
5
10m

a. San Javier Library-Park

b. Fernando Botero Library-Park

c. Beln Library-Park

Figure 1: The three buildings.

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Disciplined Informality: Assembling un-programmed spatial practices in three public libraries in Medelln

SSS10 Proceedings of the 10th International Space Syntax Symposium


3.1. Firstly, the 3 buildings
San Javier Library-Park is situated on a hillside in between the districts of Comunas 12 and 13. It is the
first Library-Park built in Medelln (Figure 1a) and was designed by the EDU (Empresa de Desarollo
Urbano) in 2006. The building plan offers an interesting solution to fitting floors on a slope: it is
organized in cascading platforms, with each step consisting of corridor and rooms. A few courtyards
open the building to daylight and break the sequence of rooms in the corridors. An aspect to be noted,
though, is that the library was constructed with many entrances (one in each strip-step); but the
administration keeps only the main entrance opened.
Belen Library-Park (Figure 1c) was built in 2008, and it is situated in Comuna 16. The architect of this
building is Hirochi Naito and the building seems to make a clear reference to Japanese architecture. The
library can be described as a collection of pavilions surrounding a courtyard with a reflecting pool. As it is
situated between two roads, the building is constantly used as a public pathway.
Fernando Botero Library-Park (Figure 1b) was the first library of a second round of constructions of
Library Parks. It was designed by G-Ateliers in collaboration with the surrounding population (San
Cristbal neighbourhood). Due to this collaboration, some of the programmes of the library were re-
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sized to attend the actual demand of the neighbourhood . This building is situated in a very steep
hillside, and uses this condition to create different entry points in different levels. All three libraries
projects were winning schemes of open international architectural competitions.
3.2. Maps of Aggregate Practices: The spatial structure of informal social practices
During fieldwork, we mapped the actual social practices in the spaces of the libraries through a sequence
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of snapshots and traces observations (Figure 2) and transferred all this data to a single map, in order
to be able to capture the aggregate picture of the social practices of each building (Figure 3). These
maps are not just representations of phenomena (one cannot see this aggregate level at once when
experiencing the buildings) but also instruments of assembling socio-spatial phenomena. We call these
instruments maps of aggregate practices, since they construct representations of how each library
forms a field of collective spatial practice and use over time.
These maps lay out space and social practices. The interrelation of space and use is a key topic in space
syntax research. Through a statistical approach, most studies look at how space and use co-vary (e.g.
Hillier et al. 1996; Penn, Desyllas, and Vaughan 1997; Doxa 2001; Peponis et al. 2004; Koch 2004; Psarra
et al. 2007). Normally space syntax analysis collects observation data and translates them into occupancy
rates. The relationship of space and occupancy rates is subsequently explored through statistical
correlations looking at probability distributions. While statistical analysis can address the relationship
between occupancy and spatial values, the actual networks of spatial and social relationships among
different kinds of users are lost in the analytical process. Thus, instead of searching for regularities
between space and rates of activities, this work aims at searching for spatial-social interrelatedness in a
network. In correlating different datasets one is interested in how much a variable relates to another. In
analysing them as nodes in the same network, one is interested in the particularities of where and how
these variables net-work (associate), what are the points of contact and how they operate (Latour,
2005). In short, this study focuses on assembling and mapping how the buildings form socio-spatial
networks as processes through space and time, rather than explaining them through quantitative social
science. Therefore, in order to analyse associations between structures of observed social practices and

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E.g. the auditoriums in the first libraries are considerably smaller than the one in Fernando Botero.
Empirical observations: 3 days per library: 2 weekdays, 1 weekend day, spread across a whole month and
interchanged between other libraries this was done in order to avoid the influence of specific dates, or weather
conditions. Four snapshots per day (12 in total) and 50 traces in total for each library. When mapping use and
tracing people, we took notes of other demographic information, such as gender and age group.
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Disciplined Informality: Assembling un-programmed spatial practices in three public libraries in Medelln

SSS10 Proceedings of the 10th International Space Syntax Symposium


space, we developed a method to synthesize them into how they work as network elements that is, as
nodes and links.
In doing this, this study borrows from Actor Network Theory (ANT) the idea that human and non-human
actors interrelate in a social network (Latour, 1987, 2005; Yaneva, 2012). The work of Yaneva (2012) is
particularly interesting in regards to capturing the architectural through the mapping of human-spatial
interrelation. However, since it focuses almost exclusively in what is communicated about architecture in
the media, Yanevas work does not provide a clear suggestion to understand how the actual use of
architecture works as a network.

a. An example of snapshot observation at Beln Library Park


b. An example of tracing observation at Beln Library Park
b. Aggregating all snapshots and tracings in a single GIS file

Figure 2: The process of mapping aggregate practices.

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Disciplined Informality: Assembling un-programmed spatial practices in three public libraries in Medelln

date
do
eat
meet
phone
photo
play
read
relax
search
study
walk
watch
work

traces

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Figure 3: One example of Map of Aggregate Practices Beln Library-Park.

Regarding informal interactions, our aim is to understand their distribution in space particularly where
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they concentrate into clusters. This was done with GIS software , using the plugin Heatmap, which
uses Kernel Density Estimation to construct a density raster (heatmap) of an input point vector data
(Figure 4a). The density is calculated based on the number of points in a location, with larger numbers of
clustered points resulting in larger values. Heatmaps allow easy identification of hotspots and
clustering of points. Since we constructed these maps at aggregate level, the heatmaps expose the
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distribution of (aggregate) densities of informal interactions . Three meters was the distance that better

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QGIS version 2.6.1


This aggregate level indicates the probable common picture of the buildings, in other words, it allows to
annulling particularities of each snapshot.
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Disciplined Informality: Assembling un-programmed spatial practices in three public libraries in Medelln

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people involved
in interactions

clusters of
interactions

hotspots and
centroids of
clusters

Figure 4: (a) The process of clustering interactions and extracting hotspots and centroids of each clusters; (b)
San Javier Library-Park; (c) Fernando Botero Library-Park; (d) Beln Library-Park. From Figure 4 to Figure 6,
the mapping is shown as a progression.
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represented observed phenomena and exposed differences across cases . In order to differentiate
individual clusters in the heatmap, we extracted areas that present the same level of intensity of
clustering of interactions (hotspots, Figure 4a, diagram 2). The choice of this level was also based on
better representing observed phenomena and exposing differences across cases. This choice was not
based on a specific value, but on a proportion in each cases range of values of intensity of clustering: the
cut-level was 2/3 of the range. In other words, the hotspots represent the area of the 66% more
intensely clustered interactions. Finally, we calculated the centroids of each hotspot (cluster) so that we
could later understand each cluster as a single node with a specific location. Summarising this method,

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Smaller distances were not capturing clustering, and larger distances were clustering all interactions into one big
cluster. Furthermore, this distance generated clusters that somehow correspond to the intuitive picture of the
phenomena that was observed on site.

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hotspots and
centroids of clusters
of interactions

space (node)
and spatial
connections (links)

combined isovists of
staff members and
their locations

Figure 5: The synthetic maps exposing staffs aggregate isovists, clusters and space. (a) San Javier LibraryPark; (b) Fernando Botero Library-Park; (c) Beln Library-Park. From Figure 4 to Figure 6, the mapping is
shown as a progression.

we analysed the distribution of densities of aggregate informal interactions (heatmap), extracted the
clusters (hotspots) from this distribution of densities and calculated the location (centroids) of each
cluster (seen analytically in figures 4b, 4c, 4d).
Regarding library staff, since our study focuses on understanding their (potential) practice of
surveillance, we mapped and overlaid their fields of view (isovists) in order to capture their spatial
associations based on visibility connections with visitors clusters of informal interactions, other staff,
and spaces (Figure 5). In summary, this work analyses associations between three groups of relations:

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the building through its convex spatial structure ; informal interactions through their clustering
locations; and staff through their location and field of view. The maps achieved in this way, assemble
spatial practice and spatial relations as networked interactions of spaces and people rather than as
separate maps of spatial distribution of spatial values, use rates and statistical analysis.
4. Analysing Space-Practice Networks
We construct Space-Practice Network representations where space, clusters and staff are nodes, and
their associations are links (see Figure 6, legend). Space-Space associations refer to spatial permeability
connections; Cluster-Space associations concern the spaces where clusters of interactions take place;
Staff-Space associations capture spaces that are visible by staff; Cluster-Cluster, Cluster-Staff and Staff-
Staff associations refer to visual co-awareness. In order to analyse these networks, we laid out two
visualizations.
The first visualization (Figure 6) shows how these associations happen on the plan of the buildings. The
second one (Figures 7, 8) was constructed using a software for visualization and network analysis
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(Gephi ), which distributes them through an algorithm that simulates a physical system where the nodes
repulse each other while the links attract (Jacomy, Venturini, Heymann, & Bastian, 2014; Noack, 2009).
This reorganization of nodes and links without the plan of the buildings as a background allows a clear
exposure of the groupings or communities based on densely connected groups of nodes
(Granovetter, 1973; Newman, 2006; Noack, 2007). The measures of betweeness centrality (which is
similar to choice used in space syntax analysis), closeness centrality (similar to integration in space
syntax) and modularity offer tools to start approaching an analytical description of each network.
Among these, the analysis of modularity exposes an insightful overview of how each network is
partitioned into communities with strong links between elements (Jacomy et al., 2014; Newman, 2006;
Noack, 2009) (Figure 8, indicated with white boundaries). Newman (2006) explains the mathematical
description of modularity as, up to a multiplicative constant, the number of edges falling within groups
minus the expected number in an equivalent network with edges placed at random. In fact, it should be
emphasised that this study uses modularity as the method to define different group clusters or
communities in each buildings network (see footnote 9 for a clarification of the term community).

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We chose to describe the buildings spaces through their convex system for a variety of reasons. The main reason
refers to the fact that convexity is fundamentally related to occupation (Hillier 1996), as axiality is to movement and
visible field is to intelligibility; forming the main generic functions of buildings and their correspondent spatial
descriptions (Hillier 1996).
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Gephi version 0.8.2

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type S3

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type C3b

type C4b

type S3

type S3b

convex space
centroid of cluster of interactions
position of staff
space-space association (connects to)
cluster-space association (happens in)
cluster-cluster association (sees)
staff-space association (sees)
staff-staff association (sees)
staff-cluster association (sees)

Figure 6: details of the networks of space-practice in (a) San Javier; (b) Fernando Botero; and (c) Beln.) From
Figure 4 to Figure 6, the mapping is shown as a progression.


San Javier Library Parks network (Figures 6a, 7a, 8a, 9a, 10a) is partitioned into 7 communities (Figure
8a, white boundaries), which are indicated in different colours. When accessing the library, one enters in
a community (Figure 8a, in red, see arrow indicating entrance) made of a few spaces, interactions and
staff, with some spatial looping possibilities (space types [c] and [d], see Hillier 1996). There are just a
couple of clusters of interactions, which are not visually aware of each other. A staff member (Figure 8a,
Staff 104) is the only bridge or weak tie, to use Granovetters terminology (1973) between this
community and the others. We can see that this captures the staffs awareness of the co-presence
between communities; in other words, this particular staff member has a strong control of the flow of
movement from all other communities inside the library and this entrance-community. In fact, we can
see that the more central the node is (Figure 7a, closeness centrality indicated by the colours); the more
its communication with peripheral nodes is regulated by staff. All other communities have a staff

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91 - Cluster

105 - Staff
95 - Cluster

93 - Cluster
69 - Space

94 - Cluster

92 - Cluster
68 - Space
97 - Staff

96 - Cluster

73 - Space

74 - Space

66 - Space
71 - Space

47 - Cluster
14 - Space

75 - Space

70 - Space

67 - Space
72 - Space

65 - Space

65 - Staff
52 - Cluster

13 - Space

90 - Cluster

76 - Space

53 - Cluster

64 - Staff

19 - Space

19 - Space

89 - Cluster
54 - Cluster

55 - Space

21 - Space
20 - Space
53 - Space

98 - Staff

18 - Space

79 - Space

52 - Space

49 - Cluster

12 - Space

22 - Space

78 - Space

56 - Space

51 - Cluster
48 - Cluster 56 - Cluster

31 - Space

104 - Staff

17 - Space

101 - Staff
25 - Space

57 - Cluster
11 - Space

88 - Cluster

100 - Staff

16 - Space

38 - Cluster

85 - Cluster
23 - Space

84 - Cluster
26 - Space
24 - Space

81 - Cluster

6 - Space

102 - Staff 14 - Space

27 - Space

9 - Space

5 - Space
34 - Cluster

17 - Space

40 - Cluster

80 - Space

2 - Space

11 - Space

16 - Space

15 - Space
59 - Staff

38 - Space

30 - Space
61 - Space

50 - Cluster
62 - Staff

1 - Space

87 - Cluster
1 - Space

8 - Space

29 - Space

35 - Cluster

36 - Cluster
7 - Space

77 - Space 39 - Space

10 - Space
103 - Staff

63 - Space

63 - Staff

3 - Space

15 - Space

86 - Cluster

59 - Space
82 - Cluster

58 - Cluster

2 - Space
33 - Cluster
4 - Space

99 - Staff

60 - Space

18 - Space

37 - Cluster
8 - Space

54 - Space
57 - Space

58 - Space

20 - Space

55 - Cluster

39 - Cluster

40 - Space

36 - Space

10 - Space
9 - Space

41 - Cluster

13 - Space
32 - Space

28 - Space
83 - Cluster
33 - Space

3 - Space

31 - Space
12 - Space

32 - Space
35 - Space

42 - Cluster

5 - Space
4 - Space

25 - Space

50 - Space

34 - Space

6 - Space

21 - Space

51 - Space

60 - Staff

48 - Space

7 - Space

24 - Space

22 - Space

49 - Space

61 - Staff
26 - Space

23 - Space
29 - Space

47 - Space

45 - Cluster

27 - Space

41 - Space

44 - Space

44 - Cluster
43 - Cluster

28 - Space

42 - Space

46 - Cluster

30 - Space

45 - Space

43 - Space

46 - Space

29 - Space
12 - Space
13 - Space

10 - Space

1 - Space

9 - Space

34 - Cluster
4 - Space

19 - Space
2 - Space

3 - Space
16 - Space
15 - Space
11 - Space

57 - Cluster
68 - Staff
28 - Space

41 - Cluster
6 - Space

14 - Space

17 - Space
7 - Space

27 - Space
5 - Space
26 - Space

a. San Javier
b. Fernando Botero
b. Beln

8 - Space
42 - Cluster

50 - Cluster

40 - Cluster
49 - Cluster
39 - Cluster
65 - Staff

45 - Cluster

47 - Cluster

48 - Cluster

44 - Cluster

46 - Cluster

20 - Space

Arrows indicate buildings entrances;


Hotter colours indicate higher closeness centrality;
Sizes of nodes indicate relative betweeness centrality;
Black edges highlight space-space connections;

67 - Staff 25 - Space

58 - Cluster

43 - Cluster

56 - Cluster
61 - Cluster
21 - Space
55 - Cluster

60 - Cluster
59 - Cluster
66 - Staff

18 - Space
24 - Space
22 - Space

62 - Cluster

37 - Cluster
32 - Space

52 - Cluster

23 - Space
63 - Cluster

64 - Staff

30 - Space
36 - Cluster

53 - Cluster

54 - Cluster
69 - Cluster

51 - Cluster

31 - Space
35 - Cluster

33 - Space
38 - Cluster

Figure 7: Space-Practice Networks

member as a central node of strong ties (Granovetter, 1973), exposing another form of awareness:
that of co-presence inside communities. Even considering the community shown in dark blue (Figure 8a),
which is the one with the highest density of clusters of informal interactions, it turns out that the staff
member is aware of all social practices in this cluster. Staff members occupy the most integrated spaces
of the building (figure 9a). These spaces are the ones that link different communities in the library. This
aspect creates a strongly observed core in the building, which branches into communities in segregated
spaces that have a staff observing social practices in them. It is interesting to note that, considering that
this integration core is made mainly of [d] type spaces (Hillier 1996:247-255) (Figure 10a, picture and
spaces 12, 15 and 16, indicated in orange boundary), visitors have the possibility of choosing different
routes to move in the building. Nevertheless, staff positions in the network of spaces and social practices
are such that establish a structure of supervision of this movement.

In Fernando Botero Library Parks network (Figures 6b, 7b, 8b, 9b, 10b), 7 communities are formed which
are distributed in a linear way. Bridges (weak ties) are likely to be made by spaces (Figure 8b). In other

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91 - Cluster

105 - Staff
95 - Cluster

93 - Cluster
69 - Space

94 - Cluster

92 - Cluster
68 - Space
97 - Staff

96 - Cluster

73 - Space

74 - Space

66 - Space
71 - Space

47 - Cluster
14 - Space

75 - Space

70 - Space

67 - Space
72 - Space

65 - Space

65 - Staff
52 - Cluster

13 - Space

90 - Cluster

76 - Space

53 - Cluster

64 - Staff

19 - Space

19 - Space

89 - Cluster
54 - Cluster

55 - Space

21 - Space
20 - Space
53 - Space

98 - Staff

18 - Space

79 - Space

52 - Space

49 - Cluster

12 - Space

22 - Space

78 - Space

56 - Space

51 - Cluster
48 - Cluster 56 - Cluster

31 - Space

104 - Staff

17 - Space

101 - Staff
25 - Space

57 - Cluster
11 - Space

88 - Cluster

100 - Staff

16 - Space

38 - Cluster

85 - Cluster
23 - Space

84 - Cluster
26 - Space
24 - Space

81 - Cluster

6 - Space

1 - Space

8 - Space

38 - Space
82 - Cluster

102 - Staff 14 - Space

27 - Space

9 - Space

30 - Space
61 - Space

5 - Space
34 - Cluster

17 - Space

40 - Cluster

80 - Space

2 - Space

11 - Space

16 - Space

15 - Space
59 - Staff

103 - Staff

29 - Space

50 - Cluster
62 - Staff

1 - Space

87 - Cluster

10 - Space

59 - Space

63 - Space

63 - Staff

35 - Cluster

36 - Cluster
7 - Space

77 - Space 39 - Space

3 - Space

15 - Space

86 - Cluster

58 - Cluster

2 - Space
33 - Cluster
4 - Space

99 - Staff

60 - Space

18 - Space

37 - Cluster
8 - Space

54 - Space
57 - Space

58 - Space

20 - Space

55 - Cluster

39 - Cluster

40 - Space

36 - Space

10 - Space
9 - Space

41 - Cluster

13 - Space
32 - Space

28 - Space
83 - Cluster
33 - Space

3 - Space

31 - Space
12 - Space

32 - Space
35 - Space

42 - Cluster

5 - Space
4 - Space

25 - Space

50 - Space

34 - Space

6 - Space

21 - Space

51 - Space

60 - Staff

48 - Space

7 - Space

24 - Space

22 - Space

49 - Space

61 - Staff
26 - Space

23 - Space
29 - Space

44 - Space

45 - Cluster

27 - Space

41 - Space

47 - Space

44 - Cluster
43 - Cluster

28 - Space

42 - Space

46 - Cluster

30 - Space

45 - Space

43 - Space

46 - Space

29 - Space
12 - Space
13 - Space

10 - Space

1 - Space

9 - Space

34 - Cluster
4 - Space

19 - Space
2 - Space

3 - Space
16 - Space
15 - Space
11 - Space

57 - Cluster
68 - Staff
28 - Space

41 - Cluster
6 - Space

14 - Space

17 - Space
7 - Space

27 - Space
5 - Space

a. San Javier - 7 communites


b. Fernando Botero - 7 communites
b. Beln - 8 communites

26 - Space
8 - Space
42 - Cluster

50 - Cluster

40 - Cluster
49 - Cluster
39 - Cluster
65 - Staff

45 - Cluster

47 - Cluster

Arrows indicate buildings entrances;


White boundaries and nodes colours indicate different
communities (based on modularity);
Sizes of nodes indicate relative betweeness centrality;
Black edges highlight space-space connections;

48 - Cluster

44 - Cluster

46 - Cluster

20 - Space
67 - Staff 25 - Space

58 - Cluster

43 - Cluster

56 - Cluster
61 - Cluster
21 - Space
55 - Cluster

60 - Cluster
59 - Cluster
66 - Staff

18 - Space
24 - Space
22 - Space

62 - Cluster

37 - Cluster
32 - Space

52 - Cluster

23 - Space
63 - Cluster

64 - Staff

30 - Space
36 - Cluster

53 - Cluster

54 - Cluster
69 - Cluster

51 - Cluster

31 - Space
35 - Cluster

33 - Space
38 - Cluster

Figure 8: Space-Practice Networks

words, different communities are separated by transition spaces, which form the links and the barriers
between them at the same time. These transition spaces are stairs and passages that - due to their
scale - become separate convex spaces adding steps in between communities (Figure 10b, picture and
spaces 2, 11 and 21). Space 2 and 21 (Figure 10b) are the most representative of this bridge condition:
since they are [b] type spaces, their links are crucial to the communication between different parts of the
spatial network. In effect, spaces in the library are connected through [a] and [b] spaces, and the rings of
circulation (type [c]) are trivial covering the same programmatic spaces. In a spatial system formed
mainly by b spaces, moving and occupying space are based on sequence (Hillier 1996), and we argued
elsewhere (Capill & Psarra, 2014) that the position of the transpatially-defined programmes in a
17
spatially sequential order characterises a spatially strong programming . In Fernando Botero, this
sequence conserves social awareness in communities engaging in similar programmed activity.

17

In the paper we argue that a sequence of information desk (b-type), lending library (b-type) and childrens library
(a-type) makes the use of the childrens library strongly programmed; whereas when it is associated to many other

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floor 2

floor 2

floor 1

floor 1

first floor

Convex Integration Analyses


0.45

1.22

b. Fernando Botero 0.49

a. San Javier

1.04

c. Belen

0.43

1.69

ground floor

Figure 9: Convex Spaces Integration in (a) San Javier; (b) Fernando Botero; and (c) Beln.


In Beln Library-Park (Figures 6c, 7c, 8c, 9c, 10c), the 8 communities formed may be split into two
different patterns (Figure 8c). In one side (we will call it side A), many communities of few spaces and
user clusters surround the community shown in blue (Figure 8c), which is made of a great concentration
of clusters of informal interactions, where almost no staff participates. Effectively, the only staff member
that is part of this community works as a bridge between side A and side B of the network. In fact, this
is the only staff that works as a bridge between communities in the whole building. Side B refers to the
portion of the network made of the communities shown in light yellow and light green colours (Figure
8c). In this part of the building, communities have a staff as a central node of strong ties, exposing
their co-presence inside social groups formed by informal interactions. In Side A, peripheral
communities are tied by many connections to the core community (Figure 8c, in blue) of clusters of
programmes in no particular order (associations between d-type of spaces), its use is weakly programmed (Capill
and Psarra 2014).

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8

28

27

informal interactions. This core community is made of strong ties of co-presence and co-awareness of
6
23
26
unprogrammed practices. This core community is situated in the integration core of the building (Figure
5
22
24
25
9c), and is made of [c] and [d] types of spaces (Figure 10c, spaces 5, 9, 11, 12 and 17). This space is not
programmed: it is the patio with a central reflecting pool that connects other programmes of the library.
4
30
31
32
33
6
7
8
10
21
It mixes different activities, and through this co-presence emphasises the idea of a more informal type of
4
5
9 to adjacent
15
16
11streets
18
20
social awareness. The rings of 3circulation, the connection
and the absence of
surveillance give support to the formation of a network of communities that is structured around a
2
29
3
12
14
17
community made of informal interactions.
1

13

19

[a] type space


[b] type space
[c] type space
[d] type space
13

69

12

67

68

11
19

20

18

17

22

13

54

26

24

52

29

78

55

56

63

30

28

43

44

41

33

25

51

38

24

28 6

19

20

22 5

18

10

11

13

32

12

27

23

26

22

4 21
3 17

15 2

14

28

7 30

29

23

27

16

24

10

[a] type space


[b] type space
[c] type space
[d] type space

25

30

15

12

31

16

14

13

31

77

[a] type space


[b] type space
[c] type space
[d] type space

26

3 40

80

39

49

64

36

50

7
48
34

46

45

35

60

47

42

31

11

59

58

32

10

75

61

79

27

12

74

57

53

16

15

76

25

14

65

23

73

71

21

7
6

72

66

10

70

32

11

33

21

18

20

17

29

19

[a] type space


[b] type space
[c] type space
[d] type space

Figure 10: Justified graph of convex spatial structure of (a) San Javier; (b) Fernando Botero; and (c) Beln;
exposing [a], [b], [c] and [d] types of spaces (see Hillier 1996:247-255).
a

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5. Findings
This paper addresses the problem of how to assemble spatial structure, types of users based on different
programmatic roles and social practices as interrelated networks in three Library-Parks of Medelln. It
argues that these buildings have ambiguous roles, since they aim at allowing informal interactions, and
st
at the same time educating users so as they can be integrated in a 21 century economy of production
(Empresa de Desarollo Urbano, 2014; Gallego, 2011). The paper suggests that these intentions imply
socio-spatial tensions and potentially conflicts, since space becomes the common element in both the
formation of informal communication and institutional control.
The study interrogates describing the structure of communities that happen only through informal
spatial practices. It proposes that existing methods of empirically describing use as activity rates cannot
capture how activities are spatially structured as networked spatial practices of social interaction. This
paper defines the socio-spatial distribution of practices using network analysis rather than as probability
distributions through statistics. In contrast to other studies using space syntax, the proposed method
does not distinguish spaces and people from each other as different layers of relationships which are
then understood separately and in comparison to each other. Rather, the study sees that spatial
networks, informal social practices and staff control as part of the same flat system. In doing this, this
work borrows from Actor Network Theory the idea that human and non-human actors interrelate in a
social network (Latour, 1987, 2005; Yaneva, 2012). We propose that space can be considered as a non-
human actor and explored in relation to its network of connections with human actors, or the different
types of users in a building. The resulting maps (both planimetric and graph-theoretic maps) are
instruments of socio-spatial relations and practice. The associations of human and non-human
relationships in a network assembles the socio-spatial structure and reveals phenomena that would not
be seen otherwise: that is, the variety of ways in which the Library-Parks structure informal interactions
leading to form social groups and at the same time define institutional rules that discipline society. While
this is a preliminary stage of methodological and analytical development, it contributes to empirical
studies of space and use in space syntax beyond the conventional employment of use rates and
statistical analysis. The way in which it contributes to Actor Network Theory is by including space and
actual use in the representation, which with particular reference to Yanevas work (2012) is excluded
from the network of connections.
In relation to the libraries, it is found that despite their similar programme the three buildings work in
significantly different ways. At San Javier Library-Park, un-programmed spatial practices generate a
sequence of disciplinary tactics. This is achieved firstly, by staff members who are the main weak ties of
the network, and as a result may control co-presence between communities; and secondly, by a constant
surveillance of clusters of informal interactions by a staff member inside each separate community.
Space works as the silent instrument of the application of these forms of control be it by steering
connections between communities to controlled thresholds, or by allowing panoptic views of social
practices. Fernando Botero Library-Park is a different kind of network, where communities are linearly
linked by transition spaces that work as bridges (weak links). This aspect might indicate that this
building cannot be seen as an integration of communities, but as a partitioning of communities with
sharp spatial boundaries. Perhaps one could trace a similarity with Bernsteins description of the schools
with strong classification and framing (Bernstein, 2003). When communities have sharp boundaries
between each other, they exclude the outside world through a highly selective screening of the
connections (2003:99), and those who are part of it hold a knowledge that is not shared with others
but remain internal to the group (2003). Finally, in Beln Library-Park a community of clusters of informal
interactions becomes the gravitational core in the socio-spatial network. This core community is spread
in a series of spaces that are linked as a ring and which offer access to the other communities
constructed around this central core. This core community happens in the spaces that are generally
used by visitors as an urban passage between adjacent streets.

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The political implications of the analysis in these buildings in relation to the intentions of the Library park
programme escapes the scope of this paper. Here we aim at setting the methodological framework for
visualising and analysing the formation of these networks, and investigating their functioning. We do not
intend with this work to criticise the libraries for changing their original role. Instead, we aim at
understanding how this role relates to associations and formations of social interaction in the studied
buildings. We see that this understanding we try to construct stresses the difference between abstract
definitions of what architecture means as a social instrument of representation (since the Programme
has invested on architecture as image) and as an actual field of social interaction (which is what we try to
measure). The ways in which the Programme manifests its intentions through the symbolic use of
architecture does not always guarantee what will be realised in every day practice. It is argued that to
empower space and communities to be generative rather than conservative is less about prescribing the
use of space (and expressing the symbolic power of buildings) and more about creating the socio-spatial
conditions that allow unpredictability to flourish. In this sense, this analysis indicates that environments
such as Beln Library-Park support the formation of informal interaction, which is crucial to self-
organised communities. In fact, this type of building is perhaps capable of being central in constructing
social awareness that surpasses the limits established by the Programme of Library Parks both in
spatial and transpatial dimensions.
Acknowledgements:
We would like to thank Herman Montoya (Leader of the Library-Park Programme at the Municipality of
Medelln) and the staff members of the three libraries of this study for their assistance to our collection
of data during the fieldwork. This research has been sponsored by Capes Foundation (Fundao
Coordenao de Aperfeioamento de Pessoal de Nvel Superior CAPES).
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