This research investigates how compact urban form can promote the social sustainability of intermediate neighbourhood areas in the major European cities which face socio-cultural challenges such as social segregation and cultural disintegration. Combining the three critical concepts of ‘neighbourhood development’, ‘compact urban form’, and ‘social sustainability’, the study sheds light on their interconnectivity, and thus provides practical recommendations to promote social sustainability for the neighbourhood level. Despite the fact that these concepts have been incorporated into European urban development policy, a remarkable gap in knowledge is observable: interdisciplinary comparative empirical surveys are needed to investigate their multifaceted aspects and discover the commonalities and differences between different contexts.
The two cases of London and Berlin are considered as the case studies, due to the progressive initiatives they have developed with regard to the above-mentioned concepts. Employing a combined methodology including literature review, on-site investigations, interviews, and questionnaires, this research consists of four main stages. After studying the state of the art of the central questions, four neighbourhoods (two each) in intermediate urban areas of the case studies will be selected as field study areas (FSAs). A goal-oriented, multidisciplinary quantitative methodology will measure different indicators of ‘urban form’ and ‘social sustainability’ using progressive tools and indicator-indices (questionnaires). The findings will be scored and evaluated through statistical techniques to explore the interconnectivity of the indicators and their strengths and weaknesses. Ultimately, an Urban Form Enhancement Index will be provided for each FSA which includes recommendations and modifications the adoption of which will further the capacity of the given neighbourhood to serve as an effective structural unit and socially sustainable community.
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