Local people's experience of street and urban vitality in new non-central residential areas: Case studies in Madrid and Edinburgh

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Active and lively streets are indicators of successful communities. The provision of mixed uses and concentration of diverse people and activities are perceived as necessary conditions for vitality at the street level. Active streets help promote sustainable and healthy behaviours such as walkability. Most research on urban vitality has focused on city centres with less attention has been paid to non-central residential areas. There is a lack of understanding of how residents experience street vitality or how vitality can be integrated into urban design interventions at the local level. This paper reports on ongoing research that explores the concept of vitality in the case of non-central residential areas. It addresses the questions of what vitality means for local people and how they experience vitality in their everyday lives. These questions are addressed through a qualitative approach including multiple methods: participant observation (26), walking interviews with residents (24) and semi-structured interviews with residents (11), local small businesses (12) and stakeholders (10). The research is underpinned by a comparative case study approach in Madrid (Valdebebas) and Edinburgh (Granton Waterfront), focusing on mixed- use areas (mainly residential, retail and offices uses) in an intermediate stage of redevelopment in which new residential buildings live together within vacant plots. By examining local people perceptions and experiences of vitality in their everyday lives, this research suggests that street vitality is required to create a sense of place and wellbeing. Despite the increasing mobility and specialization of contemporary lifestyles, everyday spaces and opportunities near home are essential to encourage walkability and allow for contact between diverse people, helping create an inclusive sense of community. A variety of services and facilities and the quality of urban design are necessary elements to build street and urban vitality.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLiving and Sustainability
Subtitle of host publicationAn Environmental Critique of Design and Building Practices, Locally and Globally
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventAMPS, Architecture_MPS 2017 - London South Bank University, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 9 Feb 201710 Feb 2017

Publication series

NameAMPS Proceedings Series
ISSN (Print)2398-9467


ConferenceAMPS, Architecture_MPS 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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