Town Planning Review

Defining the neighbourhood: Challenges for empirical research

Town Planning Review (2007), 78, (2), 153–177.

Abstract

The neighbourhood is often referred to, and used, as a viable, relevant and important setting for empirical research. However, it is an ambiguous term and there is no consensus on its definition. Nor is there agreement on how to identify it spatially. Following a review of existing interpretations of neighbourhood, this paper draws on research which tests two objective methods of neighbourhood delineation. Using mapping exercises, the resulting neighbourhood boundaries are compared with those used by a sample of residents to identify their neighbourhood in six residential areas. The paper then examines the suitability and validity of theory-based definitions of neighbourhood, with particular focus on how far they match neighbourhood boundaries as understood by residents.

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Jenks, Mike

Dempsey, Nicola