Internally Connected, No Commercial, With a Touch of Open Space: The Neighborhoods of New Homes in the Portland Metropolitan Area

Yan Song and Gerrit Knaap

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For many years, neighborhoods have been classified as either “suburban” or “traditional.” But new homes today are built in many different types of neighborhoods with many different design features. In this paper, we develop a quantitative method for classifying the neighborhoods of new homes in the Portland metropolitan area. We proceed in three steps.  First we measure urban form attributes of neighborhoods around newly developed homes.  We then use factor analysis to identify a small set of factors that capture essential differences in urban form. Finally we use cluster analysis on these factor scores to identify distinctly different neighborhood types. Applying these methods to neighborhoods around new single family homes in the metropolitan Portland, Oregon, we are able to identify eight factors of urban form and six neighborhood types. We then show that most new single family homes in metropolitan Portland are built in new suburban neighborhoods but a substantial portion is occurring in traditional urban neighborhoods.