Optimizing urban structure: toward an integrated new urbanist model - urban nuclei and the geometry of streets: the 'emergent neighborhoods' model

Michael Mehaffy, Sergio Porta, Nikos Salingaros, Yodan Rofè

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

A controversy remains among planners and urban designers about the proper location of the non-residential core (nucleus) of a neighborhood in relation to thoroughfares. One school of thought suggests that the nucleus should be located along the busiest thoroughfares; a second school holds that it must be some distance away from them - which, because of their disruptiveness, should form the edge of the neighborhood; and a third school proposes that it should be somewhere between the two as an 'eccentric nucleus'. The three schools may be overlooking the underlying variables that govern this problem under different conditions, and so we propose a model for establishing the best location and distribution of urban nuclei as these conditions vary. This requires firstly, a redefinition of the 'neighborhood' as distinguished from a 'pedestrian shed'. We argue that a 'neighborhood' can either emerge within a 'sanctuary area' between thoroughfares, or span across both 'sanctuary areas' and thoroughfares, if the latter are properly designed; a 'pedestrian shed', by contrast, can overlap with neighborhoods and with other pedestrian sheds. We propose a '400 meter rule', a surprisingly small maximum spacing of main thoroughfares that empirical observation shows that traditional, pedestrian-governed urban fabric has always tended to obey, for reasons that are likely to have to do with the self-organizing logic of pedestrian movement and social activity. In so doing, we advance a more fine-grained, permeable, potentially lower-carbon model and illustrate its advantages with several historic and modern examples.

Conference

Conference17th Congress for the New Urbanism
CityDenver, Colorado
Period10/06/0914/06/09

Fingerprint

urban structure
pedestrian
mathematics
geometry
Geometry
sanctuary
Carbon
school
spacing
carbon

Keywords

  • urbanism
  • neighbourhoods
  • cities
  • architecture

Cite this

Mehaffy, M., Porta, S., Salingaros, N., & Rofè, Y. (2009). Optimizing urban structure: toward an integrated new urbanist model - urban nuclei and the geometry of streets: the 'emergent neighborhoods' model. Paper presented at 17th Congress for the New Urbanism, Denver, Colorado, .
Mehaffy, Michael ; Porta, Sergio ; Salingaros, Nikos ; Rofè, Yodan. / Optimizing urban structure: toward an integrated new urbanist model - urban nuclei and the geometry of streets: the 'emergent neighborhoods' model. Paper presented at 17th Congress for the New Urbanism, Denver, Colorado, .
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abstract = "A controversy remains among planners and urban designers about the proper location of the non-residential core (nucleus) of a neighborhood in relation to thoroughfares. One school of thought suggests that the nucleus should be located along the busiest thoroughfares; a second school holds that it must be some distance away from them - which, because of their disruptiveness, should form the edge of the neighborhood; and a third school proposes that it should be somewhere between the two as an 'eccentric nucleus'. The three schools may be overlooking the underlying variables that govern this problem under different conditions, and so we propose a model for establishing the best location and distribution of urban nuclei as these conditions vary. This requires firstly, a redefinition of the 'neighborhood' as distinguished from a 'pedestrian shed'. We argue that a 'neighborhood' can either emerge within a 'sanctuary area' between thoroughfares, or span across both 'sanctuary areas' and thoroughfares, if the latter are properly designed; a 'pedestrian shed', by contrast, can overlap with neighborhoods and with other pedestrian sheds. We propose a '400 meter rule', a surprisingly small maximum spacing of main thoroughfares that empirical observation shows that traditional, pedestrian-governed urban fabric has always tended to obey, for reasons that are likely to have to do with the self-organizing logic of pedestrian movement and social activity. In so doing, we advance a more fine-grained, permeable, potentially lower-carbon model and illustrate its advantages with several historic and modern examples.",
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Mehaffy, M, Porta, S, Salingaros, N & Rofè, Y 2009, 'Optimizing urban structure: toward an integrated new urbanist model - urban nuclei and the geometry of streets: the 'emergent neighborhoods' model' Paper presented at 17th Congress for the New Urbanism, Denver, Colorado, 10/06/09 - 14/06/09, .

Optimizing urban structure: toward an integrated new urbanist model - urban nuclei and the geometry of streets: the 'emergent neighborhoods' model. / Mehaffy, Michael; Porta, Sergio; Salingaros, Nikos; Rofè, Yodan.

2009. Paper presented at 17th Congress for the New Urbanism, Denver, Colorado, .

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

TY - CONF

T1 - Optimizing urban structure: toward an integrated new urbanist model - urban nuclei and the geometry of streets: the 'emergent neighborhoods' model

AU - Mehaffy, Michael

AU - Porta, Sergio

AU - Salingaros, Nikos

AU - Rofè, Yodan

PY - 2009/6

Y1 - 2009/6

N2 - A controversy remains among planners and urban designers about the proper location of the non-residential core (nucleus) of a neighborhood in relation to thoroughfares. One school of thought suggests that the nucleus should be located along the busiest thoroughfares; a second school holds that it must be some distance away from them - which, because of their disruptiveness, should form the edge of the neighborhood; and a third school proposes that it should be somewhere between the two as an 'eccentric nucleus'. The three schools may be overlooking the underlying variables that govern this problem under different conditions, and so we propose a model for establishing the best location and distribution of urban nuclei as these conditions vary. This requires firstly, a redefinition of the 'neighborhood' as distinguished from a 'pedestrian shed'. We argue that a 'neighborhood' can either emerge within a 'sanctuary area' between thoroughfares, or span across both 'sanctuary areas' and thoroughfares, if the latter are properly designed; a 'pedestrian shed', by contrast, can overlap with neighborhoods and with other pedestrian sheds. We propose a '400 meter rule', a surprisingly small maximum spacing of main thoroughfares that empirical observation shows that traditional, pedestrian-governed urban fabric has always tended to obey, for reasons that are likely to have to do with the self-organizing logic of pedestrian movement and social activity. In so doing, we advance a more fine-grained, permeable, potentially lower-carbon model and illustrate its advantages with several historic and modern examples.

AB - A controversy remains among planners and urban designers about the proper location of the non-residential core (nucleus) of a neighborhood in relation to thoroughfares. One school of thought suggests that the nucleus should be located along the busiest thoroughfares; a second school holds that it must be some distance away from them - which, because of their disruptiveness, should form the edge of the neighborhood; and a third school proposes that it should be somewhere between the two as an 'eccentric nucleus'. The three schools may be overlooking the underlying variables that govern this problem under different conditions, and so we propose a model for establishing the best location and distribution of urban nuclei as these conditions vary. This requires firstly, a redefinition of the 'neighborhood' as distinguished from a 'pedestrian shed'. We argue that a 'neighborhood' can either emerge within a 'sanctuary area' between thoroughfares, or span across both 'sanctuary areas' and thoroughfares, if the latter are properly designed; a 'pedestrian shed', by contrast, can overlap with neighborhoods and with other pedestrian sheds. We propose a '400 meter rule', a surprisingly small maximum spacing of main thoroughfares that empirical observation shows that traditional, pedestrian-governed urban fabric has always tended to obey, for reasons that are likely to have to do with the self-organizing logic of pedestrian movement and social activity. In so doing, we advance a more fine-grained, permeable, potentially lower-carbon model and illustrate its advantages with several historic and modern examples.

KW - urbanism

KW - neighbourhoods

KW - cities

KW - architecture

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M3 - Paper

ER -

Mehaffy M, Porta S, Salingaros N, Rofè Y. Optimizing urban structure: toward an integrated new urbanist model - urban nuclei and the geometry of streets: the 'emergent neighborhoods' model. 2009. Paper presented at 17th Congress for the New Urbanism, Denver, Colorado, .