What is a neighbourhood?

One of the simplest questions you might do us all those interested in improving our cities is: what is a neighbourhood?

However, the simplicity that this question shows at first sight becomes extremely complex as a conversation on the topic arises.

Xoán Mosquera, sometimes architect and researcher at ETSAC, gave us, once again, a wonderful Master class, this time through social networks, about what, in his opinion, should be considered when defining what a neighbourhood is.

The urban discipline, he says, defined in principle a neighbourhood as the unit of daily coexistence of a resident in the city regarding his needs and routines.

Later became involved in the definition of neighbourhood other disciplines such as Geography, defining it as a homogeneous area definable across its physicality, i.e. being to the city what a region is to Geography.

Disciplines such Ecology develop the idea of the habitat as the place of residence of a community, for which, of course, the discussion about what a community is should be developed.

Tissue of dependence of individuals and groups based on their most common and repetitive practices, tissue whose density is variable influenced by multiple factors.

A neighbourhood is easily distinguishable in general as a whole with respect to the city or other parts of it. It is not, however, easy to define the different aspects that make it distinguishable,

(Citing Kevin Lynch and his work on the consideration of urban environment based largely on visual consideration).

His definition of a neighbourhood as a balance between two poles, space and territory, clearly invites us to further reflection. As Mosquera indicates, conversation and definition depends greatly on the approach from which you want to work and discuss.

My neighbourhood, for example, happens to be one of the best cluster of research on the neighbourhood, especially understanding the new relationship between it and the Smart city:


“The main contribution Towards Such a smart city can be supplied at many of the diverse urban scales; The Neighbourhood scale considers MyNeighbourhood The most promising one as it already PROVED in the past to be Effective creating healthy, secure, liveable, happy cities. In The Neighbourhood of MyNeighbourhood the past values of socio-spatial connectedness are re-created … But Also to the connective and Engaging power of ICTs Existing Properly When They are Appropriated by people. “

It is clear that a neighbourhood is a part of the city having with it a dependent relationship.

The neighbouring relations between neighbourhoods are often defined by contiguity rather than continuity.

And above all, and most importantly, a neighbourhood community recognizes itself as such.

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