The "neighborhood unit" on trial : a case study in the impacts of urban morphology

Mehaffy, Michael W. and Porta, Sergio and Romice, Ombretta (2015) The "neighborhood unit" on trial : a case study in the impacts of urban morphology. Journal of Urbanism, 8 (2). pp. 199-217. ISSN 1754-9183 (

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The organization of modern city planning into “neighborhood units” – most commonly associated with the Clarence Perry proposal of 1929 – has been enormously influential in the evolution of modern city form, and at the same time has also been the subject of intense controversy and debate that continues to the present day. New issues under debate include social and economic diversity, maintenance of viable pedestrian and public transit modes, viability of internalized community service hubs, and efficient use of energy and natural resources, including greenhouse gas emissions. We trace the history of this controversy up to the present day, and we discuss new developments that may point the way to needed reforms of best practice.