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Neighborhood units and its conceptualization

in urban context
Neighborhood - Introduction
Context of traditional and contemporary residentila

The planning agencies continue to adapt and make

modular use of the neighborhood unit when planning new
communities. The social and physical connotations of
neighborhood must be understood in order to be able to
carry forward its essence for the benefit of planned
development efforts.
Neighborhood - Introduction
The term neighborhood is often used to describe the
sub-divisions of urban or rural settlements.
Lewis Mumford presented neighborhood as a fact of
nature, which comes into existence whenever a group of
people share a place.
Early ages of humanity, for practical, economical,
sociological and psychological reasons people have
tended to live close together in sections of an area and
form communities.
Neighborhood - Introduction
These communities have some particular physical or
social characteristics that distinguish them from rest of
the settlements.
Clustering of these neighborhoods form towns, villages
and cities.
Arnold Whittick describes neighborhood unit as an
integrated and planned urban area related to the larger
community of which it is a part and consiting of
residential districts, a school or schools, shopping
facilities, religious buildings, open spaces, and perhaps a
degree of service industry.
Neighborhood – Evolution and conceptualization

Neighborhood unit planning concept evolved in response to

the degenerated environmental and socila conditions fostered as
a consequence of Industrial revolution in early 1900s.
Clarence Arthur Perry – Neighborhood is offering to
designers a framework for disseminating the city into smaller
C.A Perry memorandum entitled “The neighborhood Unit” in
1929 “Regional plan for New york and its environs” which led
to the promotion of planning tool.
Perry’s monograph offered in concrete terms a Diagrammatic
model of the ideal neighborhood of specified population size –
provided specific guidelines of spatial distribution of
residences, communiyt services, streets and business.
Neighborhood – CA Perry concept

Elementary school – enrolment of 1000 to 1200.

Population between 5000 to 6000.
Low density population of 10 families per acre.
160 acre of land.
Child to walk a distance of one-quarter mile to school.
10% land area for recreation.
Traffic arteries surrounding the neighborhood.
Internal streets for services and residents.
The unit would be served by shopping facilities, churches, a library
and a community center located in conjunction with the school.
Neighborhood – CA Perry concept

Six Basic principles of good neighborhood design.

1. Major arterial roads should not pass through residential
2. Interior streets with cul-de-sacs, curved layout and light
duty surfacing – residential atmosphere.
3. Population to support elementary school.
4. Elementary school centrally located and other services on
the neighborhood boundaries.
5. Radius of neighborhood – maximum of one quarter mile.
6. Shopping districts should be sited at the edge of
neighborhoods preferably at major street intersections
Neighborhood – Concept by others

CA Perry concept was carried by others with some variations.

N.L.Engelhardt proposed for a radius of half a mile as
maximum distance to elementary school.
Nursery schools with quarter mile accesability.
Clarence stein proposed a small shopping centre for daily needs
located near the school.
Most residential streets as cul-de-sac or dead end roads to
eliminate through traffic.
Park space flows through the neighborhood reminiscent of
Radburn plan..
Concentrating neighborhoods together to create towns.
Commerical centres with a radius of one mile.
Neighborhood – Impact of neighborhood concept

The principles identified by perry were endorsed by most

planning and design organizations in planning and designing
It is a natural and useful conception, but should not be thought
as self contained community, they are of the town as a whole.
The cellular nature of the neighborhood unit allowed it to be
used as a building block in the development of neighborhood
arrays, leading to a systematic modular usage during periods of
rapid residential expansion in many countries across the globe.
Neighborhood – Impact of neighborhood concept


1. Grouping of people that inevitably results in compulsory

class distinctions.
2. Too romanticized and delineation from modern life.
3. Sometime too large to promote social behaviour and
neighborly relations.
4. School as a focal point is criticized and too child centered,
whereas community facilities is being inadequate.
5. Expensive to maintain small parks and its distribution.
6. Economic efficiency of neighborhood.
Neighborhood – Rural vs Urban context

Neighborhood concept in terms of present urban context?

Transportation, growth of population, land value, etc., to be
History of Public spaces and its transition

The agora of Athens is the most celebrated example, a

democratic ideal for western historians and sociologists. The
agora was at once a market place and a ground for political and
intellectual debate. Agora fulfilled so many important urban
functions that it became the most significant element of the
city's physical and social structure.
History of Public spaces and its transition

Like the church in medieval Europe, temples and mosques

formed the focus of the communal life in Indian cities. The
courtyard of the main mosque was one of the largest open
congregational spaces in the urban fabric. The 'bazaar' street
formed the main commercial spine. The 'ghats' (river banks) of
Benaras, the 'chowks' (square) of Jaipur, have been the
important public spaces for centuries. Many Islamic cities had
grounds or maidans that were originally at the edge of the town,
or even outside the city walls. They served as a parade ground
and open air gathering spaces on feast days.
History of Public spaces and its transition

Sometimes they were integrated into the main city and served
as a foreground to a palace and a mosque. While the mosque,
the maidan and the bazaars were primarily open public places
of the city, they were not the sort of civic nucleus that
characterized the cities of the west. Urban space was largely
decentralized, there was no notion of a single core or ,cart,
instead there was a hierarchy of open spaces.
History of Public spaces and its transition

The British brought to India the idea of urban spaces as places

for recreation and leisure. The towns they built in the cool and
beautiful hills were modeled on the idyllic English towns. The
Shimla Mall was a pedestrian street, which had the town hall,
the church, the cinema theatre, shops, hotels and restaurants.
The mall and the ridge were very sociable places. for meeting,
strolling and talking. Even Delhi, a city designed as a statement
of imperial power and grandeur. with more ceremonial spaces
than public ones.
History of Public spaces and its transition

This corporate commercialization of the public realm is leading

to a growing interiorisation of civic space. This trend is
apparent in the west, and is beginning to emerge in India. The
mall seeks to replace the bazaar, the atrium seeks to replace the
public-street and square, and there is a growing presence of
gated communities with an internalized public realm of
restricted accessibility. The shopping mall, in particular, has
emerged as the most visible architectural expression of this
History of Public spaces and its transition

Rather than combine production. consumption, movement

through the city, and social interaction, public spaces have
grown more singular in their function. And as public space has
transformed, so has private (pace and the relationship between
the two. Space and time have lost their anchoring and securing
attributes as they appear to grow increasingly scarce and
tyrannical in the single minded pursuit of greater productivity.

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