29 Soc. F. 237 (1950-1951)
Social Science Research and the Planning of Urban Neighbourhoods

handle is hein.journals/josf29 and id is 253 raw text is: PLANNING URBAN NEIGHBOURHOODS

and the nature of positions; decide what educa
tional qualifications of these positions are not now
adequately provided; and formulate proposals for
such provision by educational institutions. We
may conclude that the uncertain nature and limited
number of opportunities, or the lack of points of

regular recruitment, or the experimentation here
and there under way in training programs, make
any substantial new programs unjustified or un-
timely. The particular result seems to me less
important than self-education and cooperation
in the enterprise.

University of Birmingham, England

IFFICULTIES in social science research,
as an auxiliary in the planning of urban
neighbourhoods, arise not only from the
scope and complexity of the problems involved,
but from inadequate definition of planning ob-
The goals of neighbourhood planning are de-
rived from two broad concepts of the neighbour-
hood, which I shall refer to as an organic concept
and an amenity concept. The former is mystical,
laden with value judgments and the ambiguous
statement of ends, while the amenity concept is
relatively precise in its formulation of planning
objectives and the means of attaining them. The
combination of these two concepts has been a
major source of confusion. The analysis of value
judgments, the clarification of terms and the un-
ambiguous statement of the ends of neighbourhood
planning are necessary for useful research in this
These two concepts appear in much of the liter-
ature on the urban neighbourhood, and in this
article I have selected for illustration, the main
official statement in England, the Dudley Report.'
This report on the functions of neighbourhood
planning by a study group of the Ministry of Town
and Country Planning is a recognised part of the
equipment of the Town Planner and provides a
basis for many of the current neighbourhood plans.
I do not intend to criticise the content-some of the
principles are now being questioned at a theoretical
I Design of Dwellings (London: His Majesty's Sta-
tionery Office, 1944), Section 2, being a report on site
planning and layout in relation to housing.

level-but rather to illustrate the nature of the
concepts and the research problems arising from
inadequate definition of objectives.
The authors start with an organic concept of the
town. This is expressed in a broad generalisation
in the form of a statement of fact, and it is wedded
to a value judgment.
The abstract conception of a town has generally been
of a single, though complex social organism; the home
of a single, though complex, community. So, ideally,
it should be still.2
It is true that the meaning is by no means dear.
We cannot be sure whether the ideal refers to the
objective situation or the subjective appraisal of it.
Is the value judgment that towns should be single,
though complex organisms? Or is the value judg-
ment rather that people should think of the towns
in which they live as being organic entities? The
second interpretation seems more probable; it is
supported by analysis of the grammatical con-
struction and by the further exposition of the
Something like half the population of England and
Wales lives in towns which have a population of over
50,000 .... The town is generally too large to be fully
understood as a social unit .... The principle behind
the idea of the urban neighbourhood must be not merely
to break down the large town into units of a size which
will allow a full growth of community spirit and neigh-
bourhood feeling, but to ensure that its redevelopment
takes place in such a way that each unit, while still
essentially but a single part of a greater whole, becomes
a comprehensible entity in itself.8 (my italics)

2 Ibid., par. 13, p. 58.
3 Ibid., pars. 14 and 16, pp. 58-59.

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