Villages in the City – Urban Planning for Neighbourhood Love

Karima Kourtit*, Peter Nijkamp, Umut Turk, Mia Wahlström

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The city comprises of a wide variety of heterogeneous territorial units (e.g. districts or neighbourhoods). In many – especially larger – cities, social capital assets (like community bonds) are mirrored at the level of neighbourhoods which form the home for many sociocultural communities or distinct socio-economic classes. We postulate in this study that the big city is essentially an ‘archipelago’ made up of ‘urban villages’. We analyse the residents' perceived attractiveness regarding their daily local neighbourhood by introducing the concept of ‘village love’ (or ‘neighbourhood love’), inspired by the recent literature on ‘city love’ (comprising ‘body’, ‘soul’ and ‘community’ constituents of urban life). Based on an extensive and detailed multi-annual database for all neighbourhoods in Rotterdam, the present paper seeks to identify the background factors shaping ‘village love’ in the city, with particular attention to the citizens' subjective appreciation for and access to a great variety of (physical and immaterial) urban amenities shaping the place-based satisfaction of residents. The theoretical framing of our research resembles the basics of traditional central place theory here transmitted to the urban space in which local proximity to amenities plays a key role. A wide array of relevant amenities impacting on the place-specific well-being feelings (‘village love’) of residents in various neighbourhoods in the city of Rotterdam is distinguished using inter alia-rich multi-annual survey data. This approach is empirically tested and verified by means of LISA statistics and advanced spatial econometric dependence models (‘urbanometrics’). The findings confirm the usefulness of a central place interpretation of ‘urban village love’ in the city.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalTijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Feb 2024


  • body
  • City love
  • community
  • happiness
  • neighbourhood love
  • soul
  • spatial dependence
  • urban village
  • urbanometrics
  • well-being


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