The "neighborhood unit" on trial: a case study of the impacts of urban morphology

Michael W. Mehaffy, Sergio Porta, Ombretta Romice

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The organization of modern city planning into "neighborhood units" – most
commonly associated with the Clarence Perry proposal of 1929 – has been
enormously influential in the evolution of modern city form, and at the same time,
has also been the subject of intense controversy and debate that continues to the
present day. New issues under debate include social and economic diversity,
maintenance of viable pedestrian and public transit modes, viability of internalized
community service hubs, and efficient use of energy and natural resources,
including greenhouse gas emissions. We trace the history of this controversy up to
the present day, and we discuss new developments that may point the way to needed reforms of best practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-217
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Urbanism
Issue number2
Early online date1 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2015


  • city beautiful
  • Clarence Perry
  • garden city
  • neighborhood unit
  • new urbanism
  • quartier


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