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Urban diversity and how to measure it: An operational definition of classes and scales
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Architecture, Urban Design. (Spatial Analysis and Design (SAD))
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Architecture, Urban Design. (Spatial analysis and Design (SAD))
2011 (English)Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Diversity as an essential factor for liveability, economic growth, and attractiveness in cities was stressed already half a century ago by Jane Jacobs (1961, 1969). Its importance has only grown and today, diversity is stated as fundamental for current creative societies and their need for knowledge spillovers, and referred to by economists as “Jacobean externalities”. More specifically, in urban morphology and design, we can find various trends that have tried to achieve such aims under the banner of for example mixed-use. The problem is, firstly, that the definitions are not strict enough to categorize what we mean with diversity. Secondly, there are not proper analytical tools to measure diversity so that we can compare various areas. For measurements there are various challenges ahead. For instance, cities may seem diverse on one scale but widely homogeneous on another. Consequently, application of analysis on various scales and precise categorizations are essential for the development of new knowledge on urban diversity.

This paper addresses these needs, firstly, by a conceptual discussion on diversity in contradiction to specialization and homogeneity in cities. Secondly, by setting up a framework for the measurement of diversity, both as an economic phenomena and how it can be supported by urban form. The overall framework for this project is a thorough discussion and testing of a redefinition of Jacobs’ four criteria for spatial diversity in cities, introduced in the Death and Life of Great American Cities. Preliminary studies suggest strong correlation between all these criteria, in their developed and analytically formalized definitions for ground floor activities in the inner city of Stockholm.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
diversity, measurement tools, urban form, scale, categorization
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-53320OAI: diva2:469916
18th International seminar on urban form, Montréal, Canada,26 – 29 August 2011
QC 20111216Available from: 2012-01-16 Created: 2011-12-27 Last updated: 2012-01-16Bibliographically approved

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