Planning neighbourhoods for local living. New Urbanism ideas in practice
This thesis explores the effect of New Urbanist planning theory on facilitating sustainable local living behaviours in inner city neighbourhoods. Drawing on the empirical evidence of two New Urbanist neighbourhoods in Lithuania and Sweden, the residents’ everyday lived experiences of the key guiding New Urbanist principles of density, mixed land use and walkability are explored. The effect of the built environment on local living behaviours in terms of the use of local services and travel behaviours are revealed. This study finds that geographical proximity to local services makes everyday life more convenient. Respondents choose the essential everyday services based on the closest option available and often choose to walk. For destinations within 1 km of the residence, respondents perceive walking and cycling as the preferred modes to the car, resulting in increased mix of modes and a reduction on car reliance. However, not all respondents’ activities are expected, or even desired, to be found locally, as there remains a wish for a change of scenery and to explore other areas occasionally. Respondents travel outside of the local area for occasional and more specialised activities in search of quality and variety. The study reveals that the design of the built environment is not the sole cause of residents’ behaviours and that personal preferences and values, as well as sociodemographic characteristics play a role. The respondents’ lived everyday experiences of density and mixed land uses also varies largely by sociodemographic profile and personal values, suggesting that there is a layer of subjectivity in how New Urbanist neighbourhoods are perceived.
neighbourhood, urban planning, density, mixed-use, walkability, access to services, local living, travel behaviour, behaviourism, New Urbanism
Masteruppsats i Geografi med kulturgeografisk inriktning 2023:2