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The Soul of Urban Neighborhoods and its Relation to the City Soul.
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Urban Planning and Environment. Tyréns AB.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1750-3726
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

There seems to be a growing interest among planners in identifying and reinforcing features that differentiate their city from others. On a local level, it appears increasingly common that neighborhoods are described and branded based on their distinguishing features. It should therefore be interesting for planners and developers to understand what makes neighborhoods attractive and what distinguishes them from other neighborhoods in the city.

‘Neighborhood soul’ is used in this study to analyze neighborhoods’ distinctive features. It is defined as a set of physical, functional and emotional characteristics that influence the residents’ relation to their neighborhood as well as their perceptions of its distinctiveness. The overall aim of this study is to compare the residents’ perception of their city’s soul with the soul of their neighborhood, to identify potential similarities and differences between these two scales of place.

This study utilizes data from a quantitative survey of 6,600 residents in four Swedish cities. Specifically, 1,300 respondents living in the city of Stockholm is used to analyze the strength of the city soul vis-à-vis the soul of neighborhoods. The results (from e.g. regression analyses) show that both the city’s and neighborhood’s soul are significantly related to the corresponding people-place relation and the physical/functional characteristics. In particular, the relative importance of the relation is observed for residents that were born in the city or moved there a long time ago. The neighborhood-specific analyses show that the Stockholm city districts differ in several respects. One contribution of this paper is the suggested conceptual model, which adds to the mainly psychological and sociological literature, in which few studies seem to be theory-driven. Furthermore, the paper pays considerable attention to the physical nature of places, which is another shortage in this literature.

Keywords [en]
place identity, urban amenities, neighborhood perceptions, residential satisfaction
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Planning and Decision Analysis
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-215185OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-215185DiVA, id: diva2:1146825
Note

QC 20171004

Available from: 2017-10-04 Created: 2017-10-04 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Livable and Sustainable Cities: Explorations of the City Soul and Energy-Efficient Housing based on Swedish Data on Citizens’ Preferences
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Livable and Sustainable Cities: Explorations of the City Soul and Energy-Efficient Housing based on Swedish Data on Citizens’ Preferences
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Contemporary cities face many challenges, none the least from an urban planning perspective. Global climate change and urbanization is putting pressures on planning for combatting and adapting to, e.g., a warmer climate and an increased need for housing in already dense environments.

The aim of this thesis is to contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of residents’ opinions and preferences regarding various aspects of city livability and sustainability. Two of the papers discuss energy-efficient housing and two the identity/soul of the city and its neighborhoods. The papers are empirically oriented and rest on relatively large quantitative materials of Swedish data. The database used in the first two articles contains around 77,000 observations of single-family homes. The residential survey used in the two final papers was sent to a random sample of 6,600 residents in four cities, resulting in 2,573 respondents.

Regression is the primary analytical method and the results indicate a preference for sustainable housing, in terms of a price premium on heat pumps (attributes that both reduce the energy consumption and are easily observed in the house). It is further suggested that the perception of a strong city/neighborhood soul is linked to positive relations to the city and to positive perceptions of its physical characteristics. In particular, feelings of attachment, belonging, and pride as well as perceptions of aesthetics, arts, and symbols, seem to be linked to a strong city/neighborhood soul.

The presented research contributes to related literature through providing insight to Swedish residents’ preferences and opinions concerning energy-efficient housing and the city/neighborhood soul. It is shown that a citizen perspective based on carefully designed databases and appropriate analytical tools can be used by planners to gain new insights supporting urban livability and sustainability efforts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2017. p. 34
Series
TRITA-SOM, ISSN 1653-6126 ; 2017-07
Keywords
Attractive cities, place identity, green housing, urban planning, quantitative studies, residential satisfaction
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Planning and Decision Analysis
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-215196 (URN)978-91-7729-501-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-10-26, Sal Q2, Osquldas väg 10, KTH, Stockholm, 09:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20171004

Available from: 2017-10-04 Created: 2017-10-04 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved

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