One fundamental question that has long perplexed the field of sustainable urban design pertains to the possibility of ‘designing’ neighbourhoods. In other words, does the spatial layout of an area influence social interactions and community cohesion? How can we make walkable neighbourhoods without understanding what makes neighbourhoods? In the pursuit of spatial sustainability in urban areas, a pivotal aspect involves the analytical study of neighbourhoods. A critical prerequisite for this endeavour is the precise definition of their geographic regions. Historically, surveys of neighbourhood extents have yielded numerous haphazardly sketched polygons, thereby posing significant challenges for researchers in consolidating these boundaries into a coherent and representative entity. In response to this issue, various methods have been proposed over the years to tackle this complex matter.
This seminar with Dr Sheep Dalton focuses on the latest research findings concerning neighbourhood boundaries, encompassing practical survey techniques and investigative approaches. In addition, the seminar will present and compare five distinct methodologies. Through the exploration of the underlying reasons behind these outcomes, valuable insights are gained. Such insights can significantly contribute to informing future algorithmic developments, thereby enhancing the efficacy of space syntax in comprehending the lived experience of neighbourhoods and its correlation with space and urban form. Ultimately, this research fosters a more authoritative and academic understanding of sustainable urban design and its implications on social dynamics within neighbourhoods.