The Quality of Urban Layouts

+ Patrick Lamson-Hall, Shlomo (Solly) Angel, Alejandro Blei, Manuel Madrid, Nicolás Galarza, Kevin Thom


The research showcased in this paper seeks to explore and quantify the differences in urban layouts in a global sample of 200 cities. This important research allows for the comparison of the quality of urban layouts over time – specifically, between the areas of cities built before 1990 and the areas of cities built more recently. This comparison demonstrates that the quality of urban layouts has gone down significantly in the last 25 years – cities are now reserving less land for streets and roads, average block sizes are increasing, development is occurring further from arterial road networks, and informality is becoming more common. This paper outlines those findings for each of the five UN Regions and also analyzes differences between More Developed and Less Developed countries, as defined by the UN. 

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Patrick Lamson-Hall is a Fellow in the NYU Urban Expansion program.

Shlomo (Solly) Angel is a Professor of City Planning at the Marron Institute where he leads the NYU Urban Expansion Program.

Alejandro (Alex) Blei is a Program Scholar in the NYU Urban Expansion program.

Manuel Madrid is a GIS Specialist at gvSIG Association. 

Nicolás Galarza was the Deputy Minister of the Environment at the Republic of Colombia until August 2022. Prior to that he was a research scholar in the Urban Expansion program of the NYU Marron Institute.

Kevin Thom is a Clinical Associate Professor of Economics at New York University.

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