Possible alternatives for urban growth that would make this more sustainable and ecologically friendly are receiving increasing attention. An article by a team of researchers at the University of Cardiff presents their investigation of the viability of the ‘urban village’. This, according to them, is but one in a range of suggestions embodied in a number of significant developments. Other concepts mentioned as possibilities during the nineties in the previous century included the compact city, the polycentric city, the urban quarter, sustainable urban neighbourhoods, the eco village and the millennium village.
The researchers investigated 55 developments that were being marketed as ‘urban villages’ in Great Britain. Three of these were studied in terms of the physical, social and economic characteristics of the communities residing in these villages. They also looked at how residents experienced their situation.
They came to the conclusion that the concept ‘urban village’ mainly existed in the terminology of the planners, and not among ‘ordinary’ citizens. Different role players understand the concept variously. The economic and social backgrounds of residents determined their participation in these neighbourhoods.
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