Town Planning Review

Are good-quality environments socially cohesive?: Measuring quality and cohesion in urban neighbourhoods

Town Planning Review (2009), 80, (3), 315–345.

Abstract

The provision of good-quality places in which residents enjoy living, now and in the future, is a chief objective of built environment professionals and policy makers the world over. While the claimed associations between good-quality neighbourhoods and social cohesion might seem obvious, there is little empirical research that examines them in detail. This article examines the theoretical background to such claims and provides empirical evidence on how the urban form and features of the built environment influence social cohesion in local neighbourhoods. The findings show a number of significant relationships between features of quality and dimensions of social cohesion, particularly those which are reliant on residents' perceptions of where they live. This suggests a real need for neighbourhood renewal, urban planning and design policy and practice to focus on increasing residents' satisfaction with, and perceptions of, their neighbourhood, alongside improvements to the physical environment.

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Dempsey, Nicola