Evaluating good urban form in an inner-city neighborhood: An empirical application

Emily Talen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


There is now widespread agreement that the American city has neglected its human-scaled dimension. In response to this, certain ideas about what constitutes "good urban form" have now become fairly established. This paper applies these criteria to the evaluation of physical urban form in an inner-city neighborhood. Eight variables are measured and overlaid using GIS to objectively evaluate physical conditions in response to long-term "urban livability" goals. The rationale for this approach is that the physical urban form qualities of poor inner-city neighborhoods often have intrinsic value that may be overlooked. This has come to light in the wake of redevelopment activity in the neighborhood analyzed in the case study presented here, in which suburban-type development has been encouraged. While this strategy has likely been helpful in attracting and/or retaining middle-class families to the area, it could be argued that a companion strategy is needed to strengthen what remains of the existing qualities of "good urban form" a neighborhood like this still possesses. The ultimate goal would be the maintenance and preservation of representative areas of the neighborhood - areas that still retain those traditional qualities, despite suburbanizing or disinvestment pressure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-228
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Architectural and Planning Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Architecture
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Urban Studies


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