Built environment, urban vitality and social cohesion: Do vibrant neighborhoods foster strong communities?

Kostas Mouratidis, Wouter Poortinga
2020 Landscape and Urban Planning  
Urban vitality and social cohesion both provide multiple benefits in cities. While it has been argued that urban vitality -the liveliness of cities -may strengthen social cohesion, this has not been sufficiently examined by empirical research. This paper presents and tests a model in which urban vitality mediates the relationship between built environment characteristics and neighborhood social cohesion, using survey and geospatial data from the Oslo metropolitan area. We find that neighborhood
more » ... density and land use mix are positive predictors of urban vitality, but are negatively associated with social cohesion. Green space is found to be associated with lower urban vitality, while public transport accessibility is associated with higher social cohesion. Results indicate seemingly contradictory relationships between the built environment, urban vitality and social cohesion. On the one hand, although compact urban form has higher levels of urban vitality, it has lower levels of social cohesion compared to low-density, single-use urban form. On the other hand, for similar urban form types, urban vitality is found to be positively associated with social cohesion, suggesting that local initiatives and interventions aiming to increase residents' walking and social activity within their neighborhood could also strengthen social cohesion.
doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2020.103951 fatcat:73oiwb4x75b4jlrtuiuhy6alwu