Town Planning Review

Social science and the planned neighbourhood

Town Planning Review (2017), 88, (3), 349–372.

Abstract

The planned neighbourhood has long struggled to find its legitimate position within social science, as scholars have been uncomfortable articulating the connection between its ‘social’ and ‘physical’ dimensions. This paper analyses this disconnect, first summarising how planners initially overstated neighbourhood social effects and how social scientists reacted to those claims. It then traces two responses that emerged, one focused on prioritising the concept of neighbourhood as service provider rather than social enabler, and one focused on legitimising neighbourhood social effects through increasingly scientific methodologies. The disjuncture between the social-science view of neighbourhood and the physical, planning view of neighbourhood remains an unresolved issue in neighbourhood discourse.

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Talen, Emily