Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Jane Jacobs was right! - Measuring urban vitality

A new study from Italy, using an innovative mix of data drawn from social media, mobile phones, and more conventional sources, has provided empirical support for some of the key concepts that Jane Jacobs put forward and that have become core tenets of urban planners.
According to a report in the MIT Technology Review (here), a team from the University of Trento examined data from six cities in Italy to compare urban vitality levels with measurements of density of population, diversity of land use, and density of the street grid.  What they found were strong correlations.
The takeaway for planners: First, Jane Jacobs’ writing looks better than ever and, second, a “new era of city science” can help create vital living spaces.

The takeaway for transportation planners (quoted from the original study): “Vibrant urban areas are those with dense streets, which, in fact, slow down cars and make it easier for pedestrians to cross.”