Quantifying Urban Diversity: A Case Study in the District of Columbia




Rosner, Timothy D

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As more and more people begin living in urban areas the role the built environment plays in creating a livable urban space is increasingly important. This research examines Jane Jacobs’ four generators of urban diversity, as presented in The Death and Life of Great American Cities and attempts to quantify them in a meaningful way. This paper presents a methodology for assessing each of the four generators – dwelling density, block length, mix of building age, and mix of uses – as well as a new composite Urban Livability index that combines all four generators. The methods presented here are intended to create a framework that may be applied to any U.S. city in order to assess the built environment and provide useful information to city planners and policy-makers. The District of Columbia is used as a case study for the application and testing of this methodology.



Livability, Urban Diversity, Quality of Life, District of Columbia, Urban Geography, Jane Jacobs