Urban Vitality and Urban Design

Does block size matter? The impact of urban design on economic vitality for Chinese cities

With the increasing availability of new data, we aim to alleviate this gap by examining the impact of urban design upon economic vitality for the 286 largest cities in China by looking at a grid of geographical units that are 1 km by 1 km. We use these units and a set of new data (emerging big data and new data that reflecting urban developments and human mobility) to look at the impact of urban form indicators, such as intersection density (urban design), level of mixed use, and access to amenities and transportation, on economic vitality represented by activities using social media data. Our results show that these urban design indicators have a significant and positive relationship with levels of economic vitality for cities at every administrative level. The results contribute to a holistic understanding of how to improve economic vitality in cities across China at a detailed level, particularly at a time when China’s economic growth will depend largely on growth of the service sector in urban areas. We think these results can help decision makers, developers, and planners/designers to improve economic vitality in cities across China.

For more details please see our recent paper entitled "Does block size matter? The impact of urban design on economic vitality for Chinese cities" published at Environment and Planning B (online at CLICK HERE)

Long and Huang 2019 EPB_Vitality.pdf
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Long and Huang 2017 EPB_Vitality PPT_Sli
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Decoding the association between urban streetscape skeletons and urban activities: Experiments in Beijing using Dazhong Dianping data

The essential role of urban streetscape skeletons in fostering vibrant streets has been repeatedly emphasized. However, most research focused on the macro-scale or mesoscale urban form or measuring streetscape skeletons using quantitative methods, failing to systematically examine the relationship between the street-level urban form with urban activities. This study took street segments as the analytic unit to analyze the relationship between  streetscape skeletons and urban activities represented by the density of online reviews on the Dazhong Dianping by  controlling other built environments. Using models like Multiple Linear Regression, Spatial Lag Model, and Random  Forest Regression, the result suggested that when conducting activities, people preferred the strengths of the street  but ignored its weaknesses. The findings demonstrated some skeleton indicators associated with urban activities,  such as the width and enclosure of the street and the higher and more continuous buildings on the side of the  streets. Moreover, the result also suggested that some streetscape skeletons, such as cross-section and length, have  differentiated performances for online reviews at different distances to the street centerlines. These findings could help urban designers to rethink the interaction between urban activities and street-level urban form.
Zhang et al 2022 TUS_Dianping.pdf
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