Qualitative Effects of Perimeter Block Configuration
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This study analyzed resident perceptions of privacy and density in perimeter blocks of various shapes and sizes. Our study area, five adjacent pe… Read More
This study analyzed resident perceptions of privacy and density in perimeter blocks of various shapes and sizes. Our study area, five adjacent perimeter blocks in the Cole Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, provided a unique opportunity to hold a number of factors constant. Through field observation, site measurements, and a resident survey, we found that rather than size and shape, certain characteristics of the living unit itself more strongly influence perceptions of density and privacy. The remainder of the study covers the conclusions we have drawn based on unit orientation, unit floor level, and type of residence. Read Less
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Abstract: This study analyzed resident perceptions of privacy and density in perimeter blocks of various shapes and sizes. Our study area, five adjacent perimeter blocks in the Cole Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, provided a unique opportunity to hold a number of factors constant. Through field observation, site  measurements, and a resident survey, we found that rather than size and shape, certain characteristics of the living unit itself more strongly influence perceptions of density and privacy. The remainder of the study covers the conclusions we have drawn based on unit orientation, unit floor level, and type of residence.
Our research supports the notion that perimeter blocks as an urban form have the potential to offset the possible negative effects of urban density by providing visual and physical access to open space in the center of the block. To test this notion, we measured resident perception of privacy and density in perimeter blocks of various shapes and sizes.

We initially hypothesized that the size and shape of the block would affect the amount of light, greenery, and availability of open space, which would therefore affect perceptions of privacy and density. Through a resident survey, we found the size and shape of the block has less to do with perceptions of privacy and density than unit orientation and unit floor level.
Completed with Alexandra Stoelzle and Tani Elliott, as part of Professor Peter Bosselmann's course, CP 241 - Research Methods in Environmental Design, Fall 2012