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Measuring "good urbanism"

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How do you measure "good urbanism"? There's lots of metrics, like a city increasing in population density, growing transit ridership, low pedestrian fatalities per capita, and others. Most can be traced to good design, planning or public policies. What's your favorite?


Here's one of my favorites -- the door index!



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"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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This actually takes me back to my grad school days.  One of my profs, who saw herself as studying "urban morphology", did a lot of research on this.  She was leaning towards the conclusion that it wasn't # of doors that equated to street activity (which isn't necessarily the same as "good urbanism", but probably pretty close to what most of us imagine), but rather the layout of the internal spaces behind the doors.  To put it simply, active urban streetfronts required smaller individual units along the urban street fronts.  So an urban Target with a 200' frontage and 10 doors wouldn't have the same impact on pedestrianism as 200' of frontage with 10 individual retail shops with each having one door.


I don't know what she ever published on it, maybe I will do a search sometime and post a link to anything I find.

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I would think that the best measure would be like the UN's World Happiness Report, which based on multiple factors like per capita GDP, social services, life expectancy, freedom, corruption, etc.



Or the famous WalkScore, which also looks at multiple factors.



X is right, looking at the number of doors alone is probably insufficient and in some instances may be misleading.


For "Good urbanism" we might look at the number of storefronts; number of pedestrians, whether there are places where people congregate, percentage of area devoted to pedestrians (wide sidewalks vs. narrow sidewalks), separation from traffic, average vehicle speed, etc.



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yeah doors are insufficent, but matter a lot as its a decent at a glance indicator.


i would say the inside size/layout doesn't matter much at all, except for maybe basement storage availability.


court street is a major brooklyn neighborhood high street full of mom and pop establishments -- i think that building is maintained as yemeni by the owner.


it probably has small walkup stairs between retail fronts, then going up to a bit of second floor retail/office here and there perhaps, and then up to apartments. 


you want to keep the sf housing and bigger apt buildings around the corner on the more residential side streets.


that neighborhood, cobble hill, brooklyn, does it all so well, but keep in mind its an unusually intact, wealthy and positive example.


anyway, another quick measure that comes right to mind are as noted above the walkability scores --- and here is yet another measure i see via that tweet:



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