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Thread: What should be included in a new urban centre?

  1. #1
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    What should be included in a new urban centre?

    I'm not a planner and I really need help. In planning a new urban centre which will have retail, offices, accommodation and other facilities, does anyone know of an objective way of determining the amount of different amenities that a community may need?

    For example, for a new community of, say, 20,000 people, how many doctors, dentists, clinics, schools, plumbers, builders, fire stations, church, library etc. should there be? Is there an objective or widely used ways of determining the number of these, say on a per capita basis?

    If anyone know, please point me to the right direction, would be much appreciated.

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    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    Hm, I've seen guidelines based on population for things like... open and park space, but gathering all those other requirements might be tricky. For doctors you might ask the AMA or similar groups, but they might be inclined to give you a high number. It's hard to find objectivity.

    It seems like you might have to hunt after each separately (i.e. number of fire stations from one expert group, schools from another expert group, et al). Unless it's been gathered before, of course. Anyone know of any municipal data like this?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Boru's avatar
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    Irish example.

    For example, for a new community of, say, 20,000 people, how many doctors, dentists, clinics, schools, plumbers, builders, fire stations, church, library etc. should there be? Is there an objective or widely used ways of determining the number of these, say on a per capita basis?

    My office had to do something similar recently. We engaged a real estate agency to assess the market requirements for particular retail needs as well as the types of services required (medical centre, creches, fitness centre, pubs, night clubs restaurants, dept. store, supermarket and various sized shop units). This was cross checked with the planning office of the local authority to see that there was a broad enough mix. As Abrowne said in his reply, we had to contact the dept of education, as well as the Dept of Justice to assess from them if there were requirements for schools and police stations. We also contacted the main religious orders in the area too see if they required churches. We then proceeded with our design on the basis of the replies we got.
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    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Boru
    For example, for a new community of, say, 20,000 people, how many doctors, dentists, clinics, schools, plumbers, builders, fire stations, church, library etc. should there be? Is there an objective or widely used ways of determining the number of these, say on a per capita basis?
    The free market has an interesting way of determining such things (public services excluded). Simply provide enough flexible space and let 'er rip.

    For public facilities there are plenty of guidelines out there. There are formulas available for parks and open space and the insurance industry offers advice on fire stations. Number of schools would be based on state building/funding standards, number of projected students, desire for walkability, etc.

  5. #5
         
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    There are some "rules of thumb" of what kind of activities and services a certain amount of residential mass can sustain in an urban centre, but it probably varies a lot between cities. Its also very depentend on the urban pattern itself and regional competition.

    But of course the free market is the best tool to determine the market potential in the long run IMO, enough of flexible space and some market analysis could be very helpful though. I agree with that.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    As others have suggested, there is a great deal of variation from place to place. One of the simplest techniques to approximate the need is a threshhold analysis. Basically, this is a ratio of the number of businesses in a region to the number of people living there. In the United States we use Census data to do these calculations. The Economic Census provides an estimate of the number of businesses by type. You might see that there are 100 grocery stores in a state, and 1 million, people, which would suggest that there is one grocery store for every 10,000 people. Again, there will be substantial variation in this according to the part of the country you may examine, as well as whether it is rural or urban, etc. Additionally, for your particular town center you would need to look at space currently available to serve the market, and regional competition. Lastly, you need to make a judgement call as to how much area the ultimate business mix will require. Some of this may be available, like average store size by type, may be available. Others you can back into through data such as average sales per square foot. Some you may simply have to guess.
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