Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP)

Legacy Department

City and Regional Planning

Committee Chair/Advisor

Nadenicek, Daniel

Committee Member

Cunningham , Grant

Committee Member

Ellis , Cliff


Neighborhood models and patterns are used by developers, planners, and urban designers to plan new neighborhoods and guide the revitalization of older ones. Models are typically based on theories about ideal communities and frequently include significant social objectives.
Comparing neighborhood models with studies of neighborhood life, reveals that neighborhood social and behavioral patterns do not always fit the plan or social objectives of the proposed neighborhood models. There is a gap between the objectives and vision of the models and the patterns of life in the neighborhood. Social patterns such as neighboring, urban cognition, travel preferences and personal meaning showed that residents had a substantially different understand of neighborhood than planning theorists and urban designers. They often made use of the neighborhood differently than the designers intended.
A change in the understanding of neighborhood occurred with the acceptance of Clarence Perry's neighborhood unit concept as a general pattern for neighborhood development. The neighborhood became, in theory, a self-contained unit in a cellular city and detached from its traditional town base. In the traditional city, a neighborhood was a subset or section of an entire urban system. It was not possible to think of neighborhood without thinking of city.
This study will identify important neighborhood social patterns and compare these with the typical neighborhood models, reconsider the definition of neighborhood and its relationship with community, and suggest ways that neighborhood plans might better accommodate critical neighborhood social patterns. Studies of neighborhood patterns have shown that specific built forms are associated with these patterns, sometime helping sometimes hindering their expression. This suggests that design guidelines can be developed using physical features that are part of the environmental setting in which these patterns occur. Developing graphic samples to illustrate how guidelines might be used in the design of neighborhoods would be a further step in this process. This study, however, will be limited to developing design guidelines and will leave graphic illustration for a further project.



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