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A Quantitative Method to Study the Relationship between Urban Form and City Liveability Indexes

Venerandi, A; (2017) A Quantitative Method to Study the Relationship between Urban Form and City Liveability Indexes. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Defining the attributes of urban form which relate to city liveability has long been the research topic of a wide range of experts such as architects, urbanists, geographers, and, more recently, computational social scientists. Both qualitative and quantitative approaches have been developed to study this matter; however, the former often lack of generalizability, as results are mainly based on personal views, and replicability, as no systematic methodology has ever been presented. The latter, although being more generalizable, are still geographically constrained to relatively small regions (e.g., a neighbourhood, a city). Moreover, they focus on single aspects of urban form (e.g., density) rather than on multiple ones (e.g., accessibility, density, connectivity), as Urban Morphology predicates. In this thesis, I propose a quantitative approach to study the relationship between multiple aspects of urban form and city liveability indexes that is replicable and applicable to areas of arbitrarily large size. Metrics of urban form are derived from urban theories and extracted from openly accessible datasets such as census data and OpenStreetMap (OSM). These metrics are then used as independent variables in a linear regression model with a liveability index as dependent one. To test the proposed approach, I apply it to different urban regions of the United Kingdom (UK) to understand the relationship between urban form and different aspects of city liveability such as socio-economic deprivation, life expectancy, and childhood obesity. Models show adjusted R squared values up to 0.76, suggesting good model fit overall. Interpretations of model outcomes and regression coefficients, for the specific geographic context of the UK, suggest that neighbourhoods with worse liveability are characterised by tower block developments, low connectivity, and a predominantly regular street layout. Conversely, more liveable neighbourhoods tend to be characterised by more connectivity, a denser urban fabric, and an above-average presence of historic buildings.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: A Quantitative Method to Study the Relationship between Urban Form and City Liveability Indexes
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Urban form, open data, spatial analysis.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Civil, Environ and Geomatic Eng
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1569319
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