Effects of urban form on social sustainability – A case study of Irbid, Jordan Effects of urban form on social sustainability – A case study of Irbid, Jordan
Ali, Hikmat H.; Al-Betawi, Yamen N.; Al-Qudah, Hadeel S.
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF URBAN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT 2019, VOL. 11, NO. 2, 203–222 https://doi.org/10.1080/19463138.2019.1590367 ARTICLE Effects of urban form on social sustainability – A case study of Irbid, Jordan a b c Hikmat H. Ali , Yamen N. Al-Betawi and Hadeel S. Al-Qudah Department of Architecture, College of Architecture & Design, Jordan University of Science & Technology, Irbid, Jordan; b c Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering, The Hashemite University, Zarqa, Jordan; Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering & Technology, Philadelphia University, Amman, Jordan ABSTRACT ARTICLE HISTORY Received 20 September 2018 This study aims at evaluating the role of urban form in achieving better social Accepted 28 February 2019 sustainability outcomes in Jordan, considering city of Irbid in particular. The study addresses five key aspects of urban form including density, landuse distribution, KEYWORDS building height, housing types, and accessibility to test their impact on social equity Social sustainability; urban and sustainability of community as two main qualities of social sustainability. Two form; social equity; localities representing different urban forms and social settings have been covered sustainability of community; for a more comprehensive view. The study adopted a mixed method approach density; landuse; accessibility; housing type comprising both qualitative and quantitative data using variety of data collection procedures and analysis including site survey and household questionnaire and applying simple linear regression models. Results reveal strong impact of urban form on social sustainability. Density, landuse, and accessibility seem to be the most influential aspects of urban form that shape way of living of inhabitants and affect their relationships, feelings, belongings, and solidity. sustainable development during the past decades, how- 1. Introduction ever, did not pay the social dimension as much attention The world has grown through series of rapid transforma- as to the environmental and economic ones (Vallance tions at the economic, social, cultural, and urban levels. et al. 2011). The less interest given to social dimension is These rapid demographic and social changes have come probably due to its qualitative nature and the difficulties with severe challenges of population growth, environ- of determining its objectives which limit its role, and mental degradation, inequitable land and housing mar- make it more difficult to be implemented and assessed kets, poorly resourced public sectors, lack of jobs and (Al-Dahmashawi et al. 2014). Additionally, social sustain- unfortunate living conditions, putting enormous stains ability is believed to be more challenging to define, on the infrastructure within cities particularly within comprehend, assess, and incorporate into frameworks developing countries (Colantonio and Dixon 2011; of sustainability studies. It has fundamental differences Rogers et al. 2012). The rising worldwide attention to with itscounter partsasitappearstobemoresubjective, these challenges, lead the world to think of sustainable less scientific, more ideological, and local which put it in development, in order to help cities to develop in a right a disadvantageous position relative to other dimensions way where the needs of today’s generation do not con- (Bostrom 2012; Ogunsola 2016). Nowadays, a stronger flict with those of future generations. Satisfaction of framework seems to emerge in implementing the social human needs is the ultimate goal for such development dimension within development in a way that links theory through positive relations between nature and society with practices in real life (Hemani and Das 2015;Littig that function for long term. The approaches towards and Grießler 2005). Concerns about social sustainability CONTACT Yamen N. Al-Betawi firstname.lastname@example.org Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering, The Hashemite University, P.O. Box: 3005, Amman, Al Jubeiha, Jordan © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group 204 H. H. ALI ET AL. have increased because of the excessive needs for future Murayama 2013). Dealing with social sustainability sustainable development to prevent the inequity from within city’s urban formswillhelpinsolving the damaging the required development (Bramley et al. problems and maintaining the communities’ basic 2006). needs in order to fulfil a better quality of life. It The concept of social sustainability is an analy- offers the opportunity to identify the strengths tical one that intersects with many concepts such and weaknesses of urban forms in order to enrich as: quality of life, well-being, security, participation, positive issues and solve the negative ones, leading human rights, and empowerment. These concepts towards achieving well-integrated communities. are given a large portion of attention in sustainable Jordan presents an example of the developing development. The social dimension of sustainable countries that faces challenges of urban growth and development is believed to represent the connec- a tendency towards facilitating sustainable develop- tion point between the social conditions on the ment towards achieving better living conditions. The one hand, and the physical destructed environ- country has experienced long term, economic, envir- ment on the other hand (Rafieian and Mirzakhalili onmental, social, and political consequences resulted 2014). Social problems that face communities such from a series of massive population and urban as; poverty, social segregation, and lack of social growth, causing high demands and competition interaction are all linked to the social sustainability. over resources while suffering from scarcity of assets Accordingly, social sustainability is seen as the (Saleh and Al-Rawashdeh 2007). This has triggered solution that comes from the sustainable develop- evident transformations in the urban and social fab- ment to solve such problems. It emphasises living rics of cities putting them in the face of complex in ways that can be sustained as they are healthy challenges among which are those related to the and satsifying for people and communities (Rogers sociocultural environment. Such rapid urban growth et al. 2012). It highlights people’srightsin having creates a difficulty for urban planners to develop an acceptable quality of life and addresses their suitable mechanisms to meet people’s demands claims to have good basic needs such as; housing, and work out positive planning for built environment education, and healthcare to create healthy envir- on a sustainable base. Failing to solve these chal- onments that support social relationships between lenges has resulted in serious threats that hinder community members and ensure their rights in efforts for development and weaken hopes for active having the basic services within their living envir- future plans. onments (Woodcraft et al. 2011). This orients the Recently, sustainability issues started taking thinking of decision makers, planners, and devel- place in the official agendas in a quite wider man- opers to consider creating socially successful com- ner. However, issues related to social sustainability munities, each living in a certain physical seem to still be missing, which highlights the need environment that has its own urban form and to provide appropriate efforts to strategically man- built environment conditions that influence how age social needs, as the majority of efforts have so individuals behave in their surrounding environ- farprovedtobeunsatisfactory. Theignorance for ment, and how they are influenced by it. appropriate management for the social challenges The integration between urban form and social and the appropriate development of built environ- sustainability is a vital issue because urban form ment resulted in heavy consequences on public makes up the place that supports the interaction facilities and services which impacts the individual’s between its members, and enhances their unity qualityoflife. In light ofthat, this studyattemptsto and cohesion. Broadly speaking, it is through physi- address social sustainability in Jordan. It helps spot- cal spaces and built form that social, economic, and ting the light on the potentials of urban form parti- environmental sustainability are all mediated cularlyfor thecityofIrbid andthelikeurban (Keivani 2010). Good urban form presents an envir- contexts in creating a socially integrated community onment that affects well designed public gathering that is capable of functioning for long terms. Doing spaces that encourage people to meet, enhance so, the study aims at evaluating the role of urban their health, security, and sense of place, in a way form on different aspects of social sustainability that preserves the cultural spirit for the community which will help better understand and respond to identity and its norms and values (Sharifi and community needs. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF URBAN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT 205 They ensure that existence of analytical and norma- 2. Literature review tive aspects is vital because it helps identify the 2.1. Social sustainability definition and context relationship between society and the surrounding nature, determine the main social values to be The abundant messy referencing to social sustainability attained, and how the societies manage their natural has created a good deal of uncertainty about the term’s resources. many meaning and applications (Vallance et al. 2011). Revising standing definitions reveals that social sus- There is a gap in literature regarding a common, clear, tainability can incorporate two basic connotations; the acceptable, and comprehensive definition among all first view social sustainability as a set of end-goals or disciplines about meaning of social sustainability. ‘outcomes’, while the second sees it as a ‘process’ that Despite the growing interest in social sustainability involves set of principles or life-enhancing conditions there is slight agreement over its definition and the that describe means for attaining certain situations or viewpoint that should be embraced in defining it. collective goals. In light of that, it can be said that the two Some authors provide direct definitions, while others most fundamental attributes in addressing social sustain- discuss the key themes for the concept (Omann and abilityare futurefocusand process.Futurefocusrefersto Spangenberg 2002; Colantonio 2007). The absence of the improvement of a just society for current and future consented definition is attributed to the multifaceted generations, where social sustainability can be defined as nature of the notion and the multi-disciplinary ‘Ensuring well-being of current and future generations, approaches that deal with it, resulting in a conceptual by recognising every person’s right to belong and parti- confusion and a lack of normative meaning for it (Wang cipate as a valued member of his or her community.’ 2014; Ghahramanpouri et al. 2015). (Castillo et al. 2007). As a process social sustainability is In general, social sustainability illustrates on how defined as ‘A process of urban development, supported community members integrate and interact with each by policies and institutions that ensure harmonious other to attain better life quality. It aims to preserve this social relations, enhance social integration and improve interaction if exist, or create the set of conditions to living conditions for all groups.’ (Ghahramanpouri et al. achieve them in case missing. It occurs when formal 2013). An appropriate definition for social sustainability is and informal processes, structures, and relationships one that combines both ‘future focus’ and ‘process’ actively support the capacity of people groups to cre- attributes. ate healthy and liveable communities (Wang 2014). The balance between goals of individual and com- Some debates address social sustainability as an influ- munity is vital, and the organisation between indivi- ential factor that constrains or promotes environmental duals’ works at their community to meet the goals is and economic sustainability rather than being an inde- required too. Hence, it is valuable to the think of the pendent pillar of sustainable development (Colantonio community within three levels; the individual micro- et al. 2009; Arundel 2011). Others attempt to discuss scopic levels, the organisational medium levels and social sustainability distinct from environment or eco- the group social capital level at the macro level nomic sustainability which leads social aspect to be (Wang 2014). Social sustainability may not always considered as the goal of sustainable development be mentioned directly within this term, but overlaps (Ghahramanpouri et al. 2013). According to Littig and with other concepts such social capital, social cohe- Grießler (2005, p. 70) this conceptual gap is due to the sion, and social exclusion. All these concepts stress lack of clear differentiation between the normative, on the role of the individuals within their society to political, and analytical aspects of social sustainability. work together and interact to have a more socially They defined social sustainability as: sustained community. Most of the available defini- A quality of societies. It signifies the nature society tions share number of similarities in their main relationships, mediated by work, as well as relationships themes to get better achievement of community’s within the society. Social sustainability is given, if work collective aims. They all express long-term viability, within a society and the related institutional arrange- satisfaction of needs, and the claim for socially cohe- ments satisfy an extended set of human needs [and] are shaped in a way that nature and its reproductive cap- sive and physically integrated urban unit, within abilities are preserved over a long period of time and which social sustainability combines the design of the normative claims of social justice, human dignity physical environment with the focus on how people and participation are fulfilled. use space and function as a community. Special 206 H. H. ALI ET AL. focus can be remarked on the influence of the built et al. 2015;Rogerset al. 2013; Colantonio 2011; environment and urban form. Several definitions for Woodcraft et al. 2011;Omann andSpangenberg 2002). social sustainability, including those of Polese and Within the context of urban form aspects that has Stren (2000), as well as Yiftachel and Hedgcock been identified as the most influential in the built envir- (1993) acknowledge the importance of the physical onment include social equity, well-being, social and environment within the urban sustainability debate. environmental equity, and sustainability of community In many social sustainability definitions, physical set- (Dempsey et al. 2012). Bramley et al. (2006) identify two ting is considered as being conductive to social coha- principle concepts at the centre of the notion of social bitation and promotion of well-being for diverse sustainability relating to urban form; social equity and groups. sustainability of community. These are considered key aspects that form the umbrella for several key indicators agreed as clarifying the relationships between urban form and social sustainability. Equity is perhaps among 2.2. Aspects of social sustainability the most known representatives of social aspects within The concept of social sustainability is shaped by the the sustainability literature. Social equity means the fair perception of political and practical agendas, resulting distribution of resources in society and access to oppor- in different themes that lead to the ultimate goals of tunities, to allow individuals to be joined to social, social sustainability (Spangenberg and Omann 2006). economic, and political issues at their community. On Literature has revealed a multiplicity of aspects that the contrary, inequality is deemed as a serious cause of have been referred to as themes or elements of social many problems of the world. It is believed to be at the sustainability given attention in sustainable develop- root of unsustainable behaviour as it erodes trust and ment goals. Baines and Morgan (2004) and Sinner et al. blocks positive integration among people (Rogers et al. (2004) identify the most common consented compo- 2013). Social equity clarifies the nature of accessibility to nents of social sustainability as social well-being, social services in the neighbourhood. It relates to social jus- capital, equity, and social and cultural dynamism. tice, and its powerful political and policy concerns Colantonio (2011) summarised key themes for social (Dempsey et al. 2009). Eizenberg and Jabareen (2017) sustainability as including: democracy, livelihood, pov- identified three dimensions in addressing social equity, erty reduction, human rights, solidarity, education, or justice. These include: ‘recognition’ which re-values employment, and others. On the other hand, Stiftung unjustly devalued identities, ‘redistribution’ involved in (2001) identified the milestones of social sustainability the remedy for injustice, and ‘parity of participation’ as satisfaction of basic needs, social security, social which promotes substantive public involvement in the innovation, equity, and self-determined lifestyle. production of space. Sustainability of community, Bramley and Power (2009)identified eight keycharac- referred to as experiential outcomes, is concerned teristics of sustainable communities, including: being with issues related to community itself and its ability active, inclusive, and safe; well run with effective parti- to be produce for long term. It can be seen as an cipation; environmentally sensitive; well designed and umbrella for behavioural issues such; social interaction, built; well connected; thriving; well served with com- social participation in formal and informal collective munity services and fair to everyone including those in group, community stability, safety, security, trust, their communities now and in the future. Vallance et al. sense of belonging (Forrest and Kearns 2001). This can (2011) present a threefold schema of social sustainabil- be reflected in pride in and attachment to the neigh- ity that comprise ‘development sustainability’ addres- bourhood, satisfaction with home, perceived quality of sing basic needs, social capital, justice, and equity; the local environment, stability, social interaction, and ‘bridge sustainability’ concerning changes in behaviour safety and security (Kytta et al. 2015). and ‘maintenance sustainability’ which refers to the preservation of social and cultural characteristics and 2.3 Social sustainability and urban form settings. Overall, among the mostly employed themes are social capital, social cohesion, participation, secur- The shifting in sustainable development towards the ity, empowerment, human rights, equity, identity, sta- motivation for the social pillar emerges new terms bility, well-being, and quality of life (Ghahramanpouri such as ‘urban sustainability’ and ‘social sustainability’. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF URBAN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT 207 Jenks et al. (1996) focus on this shifting and describe it as with the ‘axes’ for the social dimension; human and one of the most hotly debated issues on the international community, which interact within ‘soft infrastructure’ environmental agenda. The integration between social to indicate the urban form, in away without neglecting sustainability and urban form is believed to be vital the role of institutional system in ensuring the durabil- because the built environment is the setting for living ity function of the required social sustainability. Leyden and interacting which can either facilitate or hinder social (2003), stresses on the role of design of urban form in sustainability in a community (Sharifi and Murayama enhancing social ties among residents. He indicates 2013; Al-Dahmashawi et al. 2014). Generally, urban that mixed-use and walkability are two qualities that form is not quite easy to define. It can be used simply tend to enhance better means of social sustainability. to describe the physical characteristics of an urban area, Dave (2009) illustrates on the important role of layout, denoting the aggregation of number of elements or land use mixing, and socio-demographic factors in pro- characteristics related to landuse patterns, transporta- moting positive social sustainability outcomes related tion system, and urban design (Dempsey et al. 2009; to access to facilities, amount of living space, health of Jabareen 2006). Lynch (1981, pp: 47) defines urban the inhabitants community spirit and social interaction, form as ‘the spatial pattern of the large, inert, permanent sense of safety, and satisfaction. More comprehen- physical objects of the city.’ Further definitions encom- sively, Chan and Lee (2008)extractedsixfactors that pass non-physical features as well. Commonly addressed extensively interpret the effect of urban form of social elements include size, shape, scale, density, landuses, sustainability. These include satisfaction with welfare building types, street patterns urban block layout, and requirements, conservation of resources and the sur- distribution of green space. roundings, creation of harmonious living environment, It is strongly deemed that the physical aspects of provision facilitating day life operations, form of devel- human spaces are crucial for achieving social sustain- opment and availability of open space. Hemani et al. ability, and enhancing human well-being. Existing (2012) consider the influence of other aspects including literature on sustainability associates various physical housing type, movement and accessibility, landuse dis- factors with social sustainability and exposes the tribution, and open spaces, shape and size, in addition privilege of how physical environment and commu- to density. The study reveals that different urban typol- nity urban settings enable sustainable social out- ogies and structures have diverse influential effects on comes (Eizenberg and Jabareen 2017). For instance, social capital and cohesion as well, on social justice. Jabareen (2006) associates social sustainability out- The work of Bramley et al. (2009) presents an comes with seven design concepts or typologies, intensive study within the field. The study highlights including compactness, sustainable transport, den- sense of stability, environmental quality, safety and sity, mixed land uses, diversity, passive solar design, residential satisfaction as important means of social and greening. Despite being more oriented towards sustainability that are typically affected by qualities environmental sustainability, the study imparts some of urban form including density, housing types, and useful thoughts regarding the social and the more presence of open space. Other studies underline holistic view of sustainability that one can build further aspects of consideration. Examples include upon. These typologies compile the structure of the the work Taylor and Harrell (1996) who emphasised anticipated sustainable urban form that can enhance sense of belonging and safety as two important the social aspects of communities and neighbour- means of social sustainability that are affected by hoods. In line with that, the study draws attention urban form. Ghahramanpouri et al. (2015) addressed towards the importance of applying the right scales issues related to preservation of local characteristics, of the proposed sustainability concepts that can best legibility, connectivity, comfort, safety, public ser- fit with different urban forms. vices, social amenities, inclusiveness, diversity, sense Recently there has been a growing trend among of place. researchers to view the concept of social sustainability Further studies intersect with alternative terms of from an urban planning and design perspective and social sustainability such as sustainable communities identify related aspects that contribute to this concept signifying the ability of communities to provide (Ghahramanpouri et al. 2015). The projection for the diverse needs of their residents, enhance life quality, social sustainability concept in the context of urban and being able to respond to surrounding environ- form is clarified by Spangenberg and Omann (2006) ment. This identifies an important shift in the notion 208 H. H. ALI ET AL. of social sustainability towards replacing the static neighbourhood is considered as the smallest urban traditional vision of achieving stability and practicing unit to be studied and developed to solve social pro- control over change, with a more dynamic practice blems (Rafieian and Mirzakhalili 2014). Therefore, the that is resilient, adaptable, and capable to cope with investigating for the role of urban form for the neigh- change and uncertainty. Resilience pertains the abil- bourhood on the social sustainability outcomes will ity of the community or urban system to sustain surely influence the whole city. itself, reorganise and recover from change and dis- turbance while staying within its ‘basin of attraction’ 3. Case study context without changing to other states or losing own iden- tity (Magis 2010; Ahern 2011). Today, the notion of Jordan is a developing country located in the resilience is rapidly gaining ground in the urban Middle East, with an area of 89,318 km ,and sustainability literature addressing resilience as an a total population of 9,559,000 according to recent important indicator of social sustainability that cov- estimates. Nearly 72% of population inhabits three ers multiplicity of attributes (Sharifia and Yamagatab major cities including the capital city of Amman 2014; Romero-Lankao et al. 2016). Building capacity, and the cities of Irbid and Zarqa, where the main- engagement, and equity are all key assets for urban stream of urbanisation takes place (DOS 2015). resilience, and hence for social sustainability. Since its establishment, the country has gone into Implications for such qualities include place attach- rapid series of population growth; the majority of ment, social cohesion, and diversification, all of which which is due to frequent immigration and refugee are strongly shaped by attributes of urban form that wavesthathavecomeupto the country. These help create sustainable urban communities. wavesofrefugeinadditiontothe naturalpopula- Jin and Zhu (2011) discussed four components neces- tion growth increase the pressure on this develop- sary for the construction of social sustainable commu- ing country for providing basic needs of housing, nities, the first of which is the physical design of services, infrastructure, and primary resources community, referring to architectural features, space resulting in serious environmental and social pro- texture, and environmental atmosphere. The built envir- blems (Saleh and Al-Rawashdeh 2007). The high onment for this community should be safe, dynamic, demands for needs with the low economic situa- secure, well designed, presents equitable opportunity tion of Jordanian citizens and the unclear manage- andaccesstoservicesfor all their residents(Dempsey ment for cities’ planning led to uncontrolled urban et al. 2009; Barron and Guantlett 2002). Based on that, growth that negatively affects the socioeconomic quality of life is one of the main conditions that social status and the overall quality of life (Al-Betawi sustainability should achieve through the existing of 2013). This in turn puts Jordanian cities in face of accessible social infrastructure that will enhance social real challenges with the surrounding environment interaction, increase sense of place and attachment, in regard of the health of inhabitants, community provide healthy resilient environment, and improve indi- services, social cohesion, and human rights (Cohen viduals’ satisfaction (Rogers et al. 2011). 2006). More detailed elements of the urban form could be Irbid is a boarder city in the northern side of of greater importance to address which provides Jordan, located 70 km north of the capital city of a valuable foundation upon which one can build an Amman. The city accommodates the second largest intensive framework through which social sustainabil- metropolitan population in Jordan and one of the ity can be examined in relation to aspects of urban highest migration rates. The city represents a case of form. Not to overlook other non-physical factors impor- a social mix of urban community comprising both tant for achieving social sustainability including social native citizens and refugees. Additionally, it is distin- process and structures. City design must take into con- guished for housing large number of villages of sideration both the human dimension by means of about five hundreds in total, denoting strong social social sustainability and the physicality of urban ties among its native residents. As a consequence it forms, represented in the quality of built environment faces some urgent challenges, ranging from increas- with the ultimate goal of achieving a more urban sus- ing population, through to lack of development land tainable model (Cavalcante 2016). To deal with social and rising housing prices, poorly resourced public sustainability within the urban form of cities; the sector, unemployment, lack of services and rising INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF URBAN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT 209 pressures on infrastructure and transportation, all of dealing with both social and physical based aspects; which negatively impact the life quality within the i.e. tangible and intangible attributes, a mixed city (Colantonio and Dixon 2011). method approach was adopted comprising both Based on the latest national census for the year 2015 qualitative and quantitative data using variety of the city accommodates around 1,770,158 inhabitants data sources and data collection procedures. The distributed over a density that is considered the highest study encompassed four main steps. The first step in the country (DOS 2015). It witnessed an excessive comprised extensive literature review on the subjects urban evolution in a quite short period of time expand- of social sustainability and urban form to outline ing from 1.8 km in the early 1950s into more than measures of social sustainability in regard to urban 40.0 km during the last years (Saleh and Al-Rawashdeh form, in addition to defining key aspects of urban 2007). This evolution took the form of a radial expansion form and the intervening variables that would affect departing from the old centre called ‘Tal Irbid’ towards social outcomes. The second step comprised deter- two main axes; the first moving north-east, while mining characteristics of urban form for the selected the second moving south towards the capital city of case studies, while the third step involved assessing Amman. The increase of population and the excessive aspects of social sustainability depending on primary need for accommodation and means of sustenance data gathered by means of household survey. By the started to change the city’slandscape in termsofits end, statistical analysis was carried out covering both social and urban fabrics. Overlooking such negative sorts of data to test the relationship between aspects effects, in addition to the limited concerns from decision of urban form and social sustainability. This step makers, planners, and even citizens has led to critical provides the statistical evidences to determine the social problems that are in need for solutions (Cuthill strengths and weaknesses for each aspect of the case 2009). studies’ urban forms. The growth of the city experienced the emergence of new nodes and the development of two main cen- tres. The old centre known as Al-Tal downtown repre- 4.2. Case study neighbourhoods’ selection sents the older Irbid with its heritage buildings that criteria reflect the traditional identity of the city, inhabited by The scales at which urban form can be considered vary extended conservative families of low or medium from the individual building or street up to the urban incomes. The new centre in the southern part of city block, neighbourhood and city. These levels of spatial where the Yarmouk University was established reflects disaggregation influence how urban form is measured, the modern face of Irbid with a social mix of commu- analysed and ultimately understood. In order to explore nity presenting variety of attitudes, norms and lifestyles the effects of urban form on social sustainability in (Malkawi & Al-Qudah 2002). This includes internal a broader manner the research adopted a comparative immigrants coming from all around villages in addition study between two urban centres within the city, each to inhabitants from other nationalities presenting uni- representing distinct urban and social contexts. For each versity students, workers and refugees. The diversity centre, a neighbourhood was selected as a case to be between the old traditional centre and the newly studied. The comparison was carried out at the neigh- established one was enhanced by landuse and building bourhood scale. This scale touches both social and phy- regulations applied for the areas. These impacted the sical elements and represents the physical space where shape of the urban form of the city and the social people meet, communicate, and live (Jafari and profile of inhabitants. Figure 1 shows the location of Ghorbani 2013). Multistage cluster sampling strategy the two centres and selected neighbourhoods. was used to select the neighbourhoods. This is a systematic approach where sampling is carried out 4. Methodology through several stages, at each stage the sample size gets reduced (Lavrakas 2008). The first stage involved 4.1. Approach selecting ‘Casabet Irbid’ district out of the nine districts The study aims at investigating effects of urban form that form the city of Irbid, as it contains the two men- on selected aspects of social sustainability. Due to tioned city centres. This district consists of seven admin- the multifaceted nature of the subject that involves istrative areas from which two representative areas were 210 H. H. ALI ET AL. Figure 1. Map showing the location of Irbid’s two centres and selected neighbourhoods. assigned in the following stage. Al-Barha area was assigned number of measures upon which it has been assigned to represent the old city centre, consisting of assessed. Fourteen variables were selected to measure eight neighbourhoods, from which Al-Matla’aneigh- social equity and 18 other variable were assigned to bourhood was selected. For the new city centre, Al- assess sustainability of community. Figure 2 summarises Nozha area was chosen which accommodates four measures selected for assessing social sustainability. neighbourhoods among which, Al-Hikma neighbour- Five main attributes of urban form were determined hood was selected. The selection of the two neighbour- to investigate impact of urban form on the selected hoods depended basically on location; being close to aspects of social sustainability. The first aspect involved the centres and comprise variety of densities, built density representing ratios of inhabitants, households, forms, and social fabrics. residential units, and dwelling footprints to the net resi- dential landuse area. Other aspects included landuse distribution, housing typologies, and building heights. The final aspect incorporated accessibility covering both 4.3. Defining research variables street connectivity and street integration. These two Based on reviewed literature and with reference to the variables indicate the directness of streets and the avail- local context of the case study a conceptual framework ability of alternatives routes on the one hand, and their was drawn to define the key themes and aspects to be effectiveness in making the movement within the neigh- addressed that better match with the spatial scale under bourhood more efficient on the other one. consideration to achieve the aim of the study. Two The third sort of variables included the intervening primary themes were identified for social sustainability variables. The relationship between urban form and including social equity and sustainability of community. social sustainability cannot be studied distinctly apart Each theme comprised number of key indicators. As for from some control variables that shape such relation- social equity four indicators were defined including ship and examine the outcomes of it. Variables that access to services, transportation availability, open were found to be significant included age, gender, space, and job accessibility while for sustainability of education level, income, household structure, number community indicators of social interaction, safety, resi- of family members affecting inhabitants’ feeling of dential stability, sense of belonging, and neighbourhood crowding, tenure type, and years of residency as it as a place to live were employed. Each indicator was affects the inhabitants’ sense of belonging. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF URBAN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT 211 Figure 2. Measures selected for assessing social sustainability. 212 H. H. ALI ET AL. 4.4. Data collection randomly, ensuring that these subgroups represent the whole sample (Lavrakas 2008). In this study each Two main sorts of data collection procedures were neighbourhood was divided to four equal zones or applied to acquire primary data for the research. strata, to ensure that the questionnaire will cover all These include site survey to record data about features neighbourhood parts. Twenty-five questionnaires were of urban form including buildings’ heights, housing distributed randomly within the boarder of each zone types, and landuse distribution. Data for such aspects with attention to having variety in respondents’ age, were additionally gathered from secondary sources gender, and other socio-demographic variables to including Jordan National Population Census for ensure having a truly representative sample that com- the year 2015, Great Irbid Municipality documents prehensively covers almost the entire neighbourhood. and spatial data base. The second approach involved administrating a household questionnaire as a tool to collect factual data related to the intervening variables 4.5. Data analysis comprising neighbourhoods’ inhabitants’ characteris- Choosing the techniques of analysis depends on the tics, in addition to their attitudes and viewpoints type of data and the most appropriate criteria for ana- towards aspects of social sustainability within their liv- lysis. Aspects of urban form including density, landuse ing context. distribution, housing type, and building heights were The questionnaire was divided into four main sec- analysed using GIS software that proved to be efficient tions; each addressing a particular subject using specific in gathering, analysing, displaying, and representing style of questioning. The first section comprised ques- data. Space Syntax (Depthmap X 0.3 version) was tions about socio-demographic and intervening vari- used to analyse accessibility comprising both street ables. The second section measured the perception of connectivity and integration. This software explores inhabitants regarding the effect of urban form on sus- the relation between human beings at their societies tainability of community (safety, social interaction, resi- and the structure of the surrounding space. It is an dential stability, sense of belonging, and neighbourhood analytical tool for configuration of space in a way that as place to live) and social equity (access to services, represents the environment through abstract formats. open spaces, transportation availability, and job accessi- This abstraction represents the hierarchical relation- bility). Answers for this section were based on five Likert ships; through creating certain configurations of social scales ranging from 1 representing strong disagreement relationships (Bafna 2003). up to 5 for being strongly agree. The third section Data covering aspects of social sustainability and provided detailed questions about the social equity in the impacts of urban form on social sustainability neighbourhood, while the fourth section investigated were both analysed using the Social Package for households’ satisfaction about their neighbourhood Social Science (SPSS). Simple Linear regression analysis from social viewpoints. Together, the four sections was applied to investigate the impacts of each aspect acted to provide the comprehensive information that of urban form on variables of social sustainability. This reflects both quantitative/factual data and qualitative/ helps clarify the relationships between each two vari- perceptual data covering different physical and social ables; dependent and independent based on predic- dimensions. All questions were coded in order to ease tion for values of dependent variables as a function for the drafting, reporting, and analysing procedures. To the independent ones, and determining the presence ensure that the self-completion questionnaire will func- and type of correlation between the variables. In total tion well, and to validate the efficiency of the question- 370 simple linear regression analyses have been con- naire a pilot study was conducted before the distribution ducted to measure these relationships. of the questionnaire form over respondents. This stage helped identifying clarity of questions, length of ques- 5. Results and discussions tionnaire, and the appropriateness of covered aspects. In total 100 questionnaires were distributed at each 5.1. Characteristics of urban form selected neighbourhood within the city of Irbid. A strati- The research studied selected attributes of urban fied sampling strategy was used. This strategy is consid- form that were argued to affect social sustainability ered a simple technique which divide the sample to outcomes. Different sorts of data gathering and ana- groups or strata from which the sample was chosen lysing procedures were applied including secondary INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF URBAN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT 213 data sources, field survey besides GIS, and space compared to 28.8 person/km at the old city cen- syntax analysis. Table 1 illustrates studied aspects of tre; Al Matla’a. However, the net dwelling density urban form and applied data collection and analysis seemed to be higher at the old city centre, reflect- procedures. ing a more horizontal distribution and proximity Following are the main findings: among buildings with minimal vacant spaces and The old centre is characterised by unplanned setting higher coverage area. What is obvious here is that and alteration of green areas into commercial and resi- although the net residential density is higher at the dential use (Al-Kheder et al. 2009). The nature of this new centre, the percentage of built up area was area reflects the simple traditional way of living, with found to be lower and the percentage of vacant strong kinship, family ties, and place attachment. The land higher than the case from the old city centre dominant housing type comprises detached houses as featured in Table 2. This opens the eyes to with two to three stories. The urban fabric is primarily address the way of distribution of inhabitants dense and tangling narrow pedestrian networks within each urban form. (Fakhoury and Haddad 2016). On the contrary, the new centre is distinguished by its mixed social life, multi-family housing modern building style with four 5.1.2. Landuse to five floor heights. This has affected the morphology Residential landuse covers the largest portion of land of the city where apartment buildings spread becoming forming 66% of Al-Hikma neighbourhood total land- the dominant housing type. Unlike the old city centre use area and 69% at Al-Matla’a neighbourhood area. the social fabric of this centre is distinguished by its Despite covering nearly the same percentages, the diversity. In light of that, it is believed that the city pattern and typology of residential landuse seem to presents a plentiful case to be studied being the be quite different for the two neighbourhoods. Every house of a social mix of urban community on one residential type has its own set of regulations for hand, and its urban fabric that comprises variety of setbacks that play a major role in defining the dis- urban forms and development settings. Figure 3 pre- tance between neighbourhood blocks, building sents an areal view for the two studied neighbour- heights, and building material which affects the gen- hoods. Further details about attributes of urban form eral appearance of the neighbourhood, as well as its and the distinction between the two studied neigh- density. Al-Hikma neighbourhood is dominated by bourhood case studies are as follow: types A and B of residential landuse that reflect lower densities, buildings ratios, and coverage areas as well as higher setbacks. On the contrary, Al-Matla’a 5.1.1. Density neighbourhood is more dominated by types C and Results reveal a disparity in the net population D that present the lower setbacks and higher cover- density among the two studied neighbourhoods. age areas. On the other hand, public and community Density was calculated by dividing number of inha- facilitates were found to cover the double ratio at the bitants at the neighbourhood on the total area Al-Hikma neighbourhood compared to Al-Matla’a dedicated for residential use. The net residential neighbourhood. This reflects a higher governmental density was found to be higher at the case study concern towards the new city centre facilities. The of Al-Hikma neighbourhood representing the new existence of such public building increases the city centre; counting for 37.6 person/km , Table 1. Studied aspects of urban form and applied data collection and analysis procedures. Variable Data required Data source Data analyses 1. Density Dwelling unit area Questionnaire GIS software Area for each dwelling Maps/Great Irbid Municipality 2. Housing Type Housing types Site survey Excel for percentages/GIS for housing type 3. Building Height Numbers of building floors Site survey Excel for percentages/GIS for building height 4. Landuse Percentage landuse Maps/Great Irbid Municipality GIS software 5. Accessibility Street connectivity Maps/Great Irbid Municipality Space syntax Street integration 214 H. H. ALI ET AL. Figure 3. Areal view for the two studied neighbourhoods. Table 2. Percentage of built up and vacant area for studied typology in the neighbourhood from the old city centre neighbourhoods. counting for 66% of the total housing units, compared Vacant land to 22% for the multifamily apartment buildings. The Net Built up area area residential situation seems to be the opposite in the case of the Area Area Density 2 2 2 neighbourhood from the new city centre where apart- Neighbourhood (km)% (km)% (person/km ) ment buildings present 64% of the total housing units Al-Hikma 0.32 60 0.32 40 37.6 and 20% for the detached units. Al-Matla’a 0.65 81 0.15 19 28.8 5.1.5. Accessibility chance of access to services and raises the social Two variables were tested to measure accessibility of the equity at this centre. urbanformineachneighbourhood;streetconnectivity, and street integration. These were measured using space syntax software ‘depthmap X 0.03’ by giving values for 5.1.3. Building heights the connectivity of each point and the integration Results reveal a more horizontal building distribution between them within street network. Table (3, 5 and 6) with a lower skyline closer to human scale at the case summarises the minimum, maximum, and average of of the old city centre. Nearly 41% of the total buildings these values for both case studies. Street connectivity in Al-Matla’a neighbourhood are two stories height, values range from 1 indicating the lowest connectivity while 28% were found to be of three stories height. intersection to 23 reflecting the highest connectivity This contrasts with the situation in the case of Al- intersection. The average value of connectivity for Al- Hikma neighbourhood from the new centre where Hikma neighbourhood was found 7.03, which is slightly the majority of buildings reflect a greater tendency lower from that for Al-Matla’a neighbourhood which is towards vertical distribution. Around 70% of total 7.7. Both cases presents relatively low levels of connec- buildings were found to reach four to five stories tivity, despite the presence of some locations that scored height, while buildings of one or two floors height high levels of connectivity close to 20. Regarding street present very low percentages. integration, Al-Matla’a neighbourhood reflected higher average of street integration scoring 2.04; ranging from 5.1.4. Housing type 0.88 to 3.39, compared to Al-Hikma neighbourhood The study tried to investigate the role of housing type which reflected lower average of street integration scor- on the social sustainability outcomes. Single detached ing 1.45 only. Figures 4 and 5 presents images from Al houses were found to be the dominant housing Matla'a Neighbourhood and Al Hikma Neighbourhood INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF URBAN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT 215 Figure 4. Images from Al Matla’a neighbourhood. Figure 5. Images from Al Hikma neighbourhood. respectively, while Figure 6 illustrates main characteris- moderate to relatively low levels of satisfaction among tics of urban form for the two studied neighbourhoods. survey respondents, indicating a deficiency in the quali- ties of aspects associated with social sustainability. Aspects gaining higher satisfaction levels included 5.2. Assessing social sustainability safety, transportation availability, and social interaction. On the contrary, access to services and open spaces Results reflect variety of responses regarding satisfaction appeared to be the least satisfactory. Good urban form with social sustainability among residents. Overall, based should be arranged in a way that guarantees the higher on the household questionnaire, findings display 216 H. H. ALI ET AL. Figure 6. Characteristics of urban form for the studied neighbourhoods. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF URBAN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT 217 Table 3. Values of street connectivity and integration for studied outcome can be justified based on the characteris- neighbourhoods. tics of the social fabric and the population inhabit- ing those neighbourhoods. Sustainability of Street connectivity Street integration community is a quality that is so much concerned Neighbourhood Min Max Average Min Max Average with issues related to the community and its ability Al-Hikma 1.0 20 7.03 0.64 2.49 1.45 to interact, live and reproduce for long terms. It is Al-Matla’a 1.0 23 7.7 0.88 3.39 2.04 the umbrella for behavioural issues related to social sustainability including social interaction, participa- tion, stability, safety and sense of belonging, most value of access to services. This value is extracted by of which are strongly associated with characteristics measuring the quality of services, their availability, of people and community. Unlike the new city cen- affordability, and time to reach. Failing to provide satis- tre, the old centre is inhabited with a homogenous factory services means insufficiency in any of these attri- community that represents more conservative kin- butes. Empirical evidences via site survey and GIS ship bonds, family ties and attachment to the place, analysis, strongly matched such results, revealing scar- providing more opportunities to interact and city of public open spaces and inefficient provision and belong. The new centre is characterised by a more distribution of services. Table 4 summarises the average open lifestyle and the assemblage of diversity of scores obtained from the household questionnaire for educational, health care, commercial and official the social sustainability indicators applied in the activities, making it a place of better opportunities research. and accessibility for services and job opportunities. Referring to neighbourhood case studies, results As social equity is considered with the fair distribu- show big disparity in responses regarding social tion of resources among community members equity and sustainability of community. People liv- including access to public amenities, community ing in the neighbourhood representing the old city facilities and job opportunities, the new centre pre- centre were found to be more satisfied with the vails. The concept of social equity covers the right of majority of aspects related to the community sus- inhabitants to reach jobs, public health and educa- tainability including, social interaction, residential tional facilities, public amenities and community stability, and sense of belonging. On the other services, in addition to availability of public trans- hand, higher scores were recorded for social equity portation and means of commuting. These indica- in the neighbourhood signifying the new city centre tors are directly connected to qualities of urban considering all studied indicators that comprise form. Table 4 shows average scores obtained from access to services, open spaces, job accessibility, the households questionnaire for the social sustain- and availability of transportation. Part of this ability indicator applied in the research. Table 4. Average scores obtained from the household questionnaire 5.3. Investigating the influence of urban form for the social sustainability indicators applied in the research. on social sustainability Al-Hikma Al-Matla’ Statistical analysis was carried out to explain relation- (New Centre) (Old Centre) ship between aspects of urban form and social sustain- Aspect Average Average ability based on the available variables by a systematic Social Equity way using simple linear regression. The effect of each 1 Access to services 3.65 2.49 aspect of urban form was measured on a detailed level 2 Open spaces and parks 2.71 1.54 covering all social sustainability measures, employing 3 Availability of Transportation 3.77 2.89 R to indicate amount of variance, t-value, and degree 4 Job accessibility 4.10 2.91 of significance. The sign of t-value indicated the nature Sustainability of Community 1 Social interaction 2.32 4.19 of the relationship whether being positive or negative. 2 Safety 3.65 3.07 Statistical analysis was carried out over again to inves- 3 Residential stability 3.00 3.40 tigate the impacts of each aspect of urban form on the 4 Sense of belonging 2.68 3.70 average value for each indicator. This level of analysis 5 Neighbourhood as place to live 3.8 2.70 gives a general overview of the relationships. 218 H. H. ALI ET AL. 5.3.1 Influences on social equity have reported controversial outcomes of density on Social equity is a broad key aspect of social sustain- means of social sustainability, emphasising that such ability. Effects of urban form on this aspect were relationship between urban density and social sustain- explored among four main indicators comprising 14 ability is non-linear but so much moderated by context; measures in total. Overall, consistent with several i.e. context dependent, and mediated by other factors research findings, density and accessibility appeared that strongly shape its sort of influence (Kytta et al. to be the aspects with utmost significant relation- 2015). As indicated by Jabareen (2006), the relationship ships among the majority of social equity measures; between density and urban form is based on the con- meaning the most influential. Housing type seems to cept of ‘viable threshold’, according to which density be the least to express significant relationships, while plays a positive role in enhancing desired social inte- building heights appeared to have no direct impact gration within certain number of people, otherwise it on aspects of social equity. Table 5 summarises might play an inverse role. Landuse appeared to have results for the effects of urban form on social equity impact exclusively on availability of services and public indicators. spaces. This impact seems to be advantageous in the Regarding access to services, results reveal positive case with higher variety and compatibility of landuses. impact of accessibility in regard with time to reach Four measures were applied for assessing open spaces; services, public transportation availability, availability public space availability, use of public spaces, time to of public open spaces and services’ availability. The reach park, and satisfaction level with public spaces; all impact of density seems to be significant, yet incon- of which appeared to be significantly affected by den- sistent in terms of the nature of influence. Higher den- sity. Yet, regarding availability of space the relationship sities were found to positively affect service availability, seems to be negative; i.e. the higher the density, the while negatively increasing time of travel and decreas- less availability of public open spaces. Strong associa- ing availability of public transportation. Density is tion has been also reported between accessibility and a complex concept that can be measured in different the use of public space as well as time to reach parks. ways and can be strongly influenced by multiplicity of For transportation availability, significant relationships factors. The negative impact of density seems to be have been reported solely with density and accessibil- related to other factors related to policies and regula- ity. Job accessibility was negatively affected by density, tions that shape building distribution, typologies, set- but positively by accessibility. backs, and coverage, heights that could all affect density indirectly. Such impact, particularly in the old 5.3.2 Influences on sustainability of community centre, on the availability of public transportation is Effects of urban form on sustainability of community compatible with lack of infrastructure that supports aspect were explored among five main indicators com- walkability along streets and pathways. Several studies prising 18 measures in total. Density and housing type Table 5. Summery results for the effects of urban form on social equity indicators. Social Equity Access to Services Open Spaces / Parks Transportation Availability Job Accessibility 2 2 2 2 R t Sig. R t Sig. R t Sig. R t Sig. Density 0.27 1.65 0.02 0.07 -2.4 0.02 0.22 1.5 0.01 0.18 0.56 0.28 0.15 0.74 0.05 0.14 -1.5 0.024 0.13 -1.7 0.04 0.23 -0.91 0.04 Landuse 0.01 0.62 0.54 0.01 0.74 0.46 0.09 0.95 0.04 0.01 0.37 0.17 0 -0.16 0.9 0 0.46 0.64 0.14 -0.66 0.02 0.12 1.1 0.072 Housing Type 0 0.33 0.74 0.05 2.2 0.28 0.03 -1.7 0.09 0.03 1.8 0.8 0 0.03 0.97 0.02 1.29 0.2 0.09 -0.93 0.35 0.09 0.92 0.59 Accessibility 0.14 4.4 0.02 0.12 4.4 0.4 0.2 2.04 0.04 0.3 0.49 0.03 0.2 0.14 0.03 0.01 0.61 0.54 0.16 1.1 0.03 0.25 5.7 0 Building Height 0 0.5 0.62 0 -0.16 0.88 0.03 1.53 0.13 0.5 2.4 0.81 0.01 -0.96 0.34 0 0.02 0.84 0.01 0.77 0.44 0.42 2.1 0.53 The upper rows Al-Hikmah neighbourhood from the new centre, while the lower rows represents Al-Matla’a neighbourhood from the old centre. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF URBAN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT 219 seemed to be the aspects that are most influential, Sense of belonging was found to be higher at the reflecting the highest significant relationships among neighbourhood with the higher density, contrary to all sustainability of community measures. Building number of studies that report negative effects of high height appeared to be the least influential aspect, density on sense of belonging (Bramley et al. 2006). while landuse, and accessibility were found to have This might be justified based on other social aspects bigger influence, yet on specific aspects. On the other associated with the old centre where density is higher hand, social interaction and safety were found to be including for instance influences of stronger kinship affected by almost all aspects of urban form. Table 6 and family ties among people, in addition to land own- summarises results for the effects of urban form on ership by heredity. This helps linking people more to sustainability of community indicators. their built environment and increasing their sense of As for social interaction, results reveal that higher pride and belonging. Additionally, it was found that densities and accessibility values are positively asso- people living in detached houses (the dominant hous- ciated with higher levels of interaction providing greater ing type in the old centre) were more likely to feel chances for meeting, talking, knowing each other and attached and belonged to their neighbourhood. having causal contacts among people. This is consistent Other aspects including accessibility, landuse, and with findings from several studies that ensure the strong building heights were found not to have significant association between compactness or high density and relationship with the sense of belonging. Regarding social interaction. The effect of high density is strongly residential stability, landuse, housing type, and acces- linked with landuse distribution and guidelines which sibility were found to be more influential, compared to impose certain types of houses, as well as, higher cover- density and building height. High accessibility seems to age ratios and lower setbacks resulting in greater proxi- positively impact residential stability by decreasing mity of dwelling unit to each other. This closeness plays residents’ intentions to change their houses or neigh- a positive role in enhancing opportunities for social bourhood. Living in detached houses was also found to interaction among residents. Unlikethecasewithother enhance residential stability. The last indicator com- aspects, building heights were found to be associated prises feeling neighbourhood as a place to live. negatively with social interaction. Regarding safety, den- Density seems to have no impact on the sense of sity seems to have no impact on feeling safe during pride, while having negative impact on the other mea- daytime and when using public transportation, but sures including privacy, calmness, and house accessi- a positive impact on feeling safe during night time, bility. Results reveal an inverse relationship between and feeling secured about house and properties. The high density and positive feeling of privacy and calm- same sort of influence has been recorded regarding ness. On the other hand, accessibility seems to have no house type and accessibility. effect on the sense of pride, privacy and feeling neigh- bourhood as a place to live. Higher buildings have Table 6. Summery results for the effects of urban form on sustainability of community indicators. Social Equity Social Interaction Safety Residential Stability Sense of Belonging Neighbourhood as Place to Live 2 2 2 2 2 R t Sig. R t Sig. R t Sig. R t Sig. R t Sig. Density 0.14 1.99 0.05 0.12 -3.9 0 0.08 -0.86 0.04 0.17 0.32 0.03 0.1 -0.72 0.05 0.21 3.2 0 0.21 -0.09 0 0.15 -0.04 0.01 0.16 0.16 0.02 0.23 -0.31 0.04 Landuse 0.12 1.5 0.01 0.13 0.78 0.04 0.04 1.2 0.02 0.16 -1.27 0.21 0.21 1.01 0.03 0.21 2.5 0.02 0.11 -0.37 0.01 0.09 -1.4 0.01 0.25 -0.5 0.62 0.19 -0.33 0.04 Housing Type 0.19 -1.5 0.01 0.18 0.03 0.02 0.13 0.07 0.04 0.11 -0.27 0.02 0.05 0.06 0.05 0.21 0.82 0.04 0.12 1.4 0.02 0.25 1.5 0.11 0.21 1.1 0.03 0.11 -0.33 0.04 Accessibility 0.1 0.73 0.05 0.09 0.35 0.03 0.02 -0.5 0.63 0.01 1.9 0.82 0.04 1.98 0.51 0.2 5.5 0 0.11 3.3 0 0.15 1.22 0.22 0.04 0.02 0.3 0.03 1.7 0.08 Building Height 0.13 -1.1 0.27 0.19 3.5 0 0.01 -0.34 0.73 0.01 -0.72 0.47 0 -0.07 0.99 0.07 -1.5 0.14 0.1 2.1 0.03 0 -0.03 0.97 0.01 -0.6 0.55 0.02 1.3 0.21 220 H. H. ALI ET AL. positive impacts on increasing the calmness and priv- studied cases, satisfaction with social sustainability was acy level for those who live at the higher floors and this found to be slightly higher in the old city centre. The result is agree with previous studies (Bramley et al. old city centre of Irbid city figured higher levels of 2006; Dempsey et al. 2012). But in total of its effects community sustainability. Social interaction, residential on sustainability of community aspect the study found stability, and sense of belonging were found to be that lower building with closer human scale urban form considerably attained within its urban and social fabrics achieve better results of sustainability of community. representing qualities of higher densities, stronger Additionally, results show that increasing the setbacks family bonds, and social homogeneity, humanised between dwelling units enhance the calmness and urban scale and the dominance of detached housing privacy due to the given space, thus feeling about the typology. On the contrary social equity seemed to be neighbourhood as such place to live was raised, and better achieved in the new city centre providing for increased the residential stability. The detached hous- higher levels of accessibility to services and opportu- ing type with its different areas provides an acceptable nities to work, more choices and bigger opportunities, level of privacy much better than apartment type. This as well as better connectivity and means of traveling. result is due to the independency that offered by this The study declares a vital role of urban form in type. Detached house also creates better calm environ- facilitating social sustainability. It has a lot to do ment from the apartments where inhabitants share the with enhancing development through guaranteeing entrance, floors and housing services, it has strong the availability of services for inhabitants, improving correlation with social interaction, stability, sense of their life quality, enhancing connection, and raising belonging, and ‘neighbourhood as a place to live’ indi- solidarity among them. However, urban form seems cators. This type provides usually a yard which is con- to work in different ways on different aspects of sidered an outdoor space for setting, talking to social sustainability agenda. The effects of the key neighbours and interaction. aspects of social sustainability seem to work in opposite directions where winning in some aspects is associated with losses in others. This has been 6. Conclusions remarked in several works along with the current This study investigated the relationship between urban one. For instance, improving sociability via higher form and social sustainability. Although the basics of densities might on the contrary lessen the opportu- urban form are universal, every location normally nities to attain an appealing living environment and develops based on its interaction with the surrounding a more just living conditions. Social equity and sus- conditions and the perception of its inhabitants for tainability of community seem to be relatively con- their built environment. Each urban form facilitates flicting in regard of some aspects. This entails to the social conditions of a place to ensure inhabitants’ think in terms of trade-offs between social objec- fulfilment of their needs. These social conditions are tives and the related attributes of the built environ- affected by the characteristics of urban form. ment to reach the required balance in order to The study identified key qualities of social sustain- maximise the social gains of the community. In ability that are claimed to be mostly affected by aspects view of that, a more sustainable urban form is of urban form at neighbourhood scale. Five main believed to be one that blends features of both aspects of urban form had been addressed in the studied cases, presenting more street connectivity study; density, landuse, housing type, buildings and integration, humanised urban scale, diversity, heights, and accessibility. Results reveal strong associa- balanced mix land use, and greening and controlled tion between features of urban form and social sustain- urban density, leading towards higher levels of ability, yet in a disparate manner in regard to different social equity, justice, and sustainability of commu- aspects. In line with findings of several studies, density nity. This involves enhancing positive attributes of and accessibility appeared to be central attributes that urbanforminanintegrative complementaryman- significantly affect social sustainability. The nature of ner through which they go together and do not this influence is so much shaped by other attributes of conflict. Addressing the influence of further aspects urban form including landuse distribution and housing of urban form, particularly on the street level, will be type. Different urban forms respond in diverse means of great value in that sense. Connectivity, inclusive- with aspects of social sustainability. Regarding the two ness, permeability, legibility, adaptability, resilience, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF URBAN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT 221 neighbourhoods of Amsterdam [master’s thesis]. Amsterdam: and sense of place are all aspects worth considering University of Amsterdam. in future research. Bafna S. 2003. Space syntax: A brief introduction to its logic and This study presents an attempt to a context- analytical techniques. Environ Behav. 35(1):17–35. sensitive understanding for the influence of urban Baines J, Morgan B. 2004. Sustainability appraisal: a social form on social sustainability. Further investigations Perspective. In: Sinner J, Baines J, Salmon G, Fenemor A, Tipa G. (Eds), Sustainable development: a summary of key can be made to explore the impact of other attributes concepts. Ecological Research Report No.2, New Zealand. of urban form. Additional studies are recommended to 95–112. get farther into a more thorough view for the subject, Barron L, Guantlett E. 2002. Housing and sustainable commu- providing more policy oriented outcomes. Linking nities’ indicators project: stage I report –model of social sus- social outcomes with planning inputs is an important tainability. WACOSS Housing and Sustainable Communities Indicators Project. West Perth: Western Australian Council of goal to achieve. More social-goal oriented planning is Social Services Inc. advocated to maintain living quality and sustainability Bostrom M. 2012. A missing pillar? Challenges in theorizing and of community. This should work in hand with other practicing social sustainability: introduction to the special perspective goals to meet the best possible aims of issue. Sustainability. 8(1):2–14. sustainability and community development. Bramley G, Dempsey N, Power S, Brown C. 2006. What is ‘social sustainability’ and how do our existing urban forms perform in nurturing it? Paper presented at PRC. Proceedings of the Acknowledgements Planning Research Conference, Sustainable Communities and Green Futures; April; London, UK. Our utmost thanks and appreciation to all those who partici- Bramley G, Dempsey N, Power S, Brown C, Watkins D. 2009. pated and took part in the research, particularly during the Social sustainability and urban form: evidence from five data collection phase, being part of the data collection team, or British cities. Environ Plann A. 41(9):2125–2142. those households for their kindness and cooperation in gather- Bramley G, Power S. 2009. Urban form and social sustainability: ing data about their satisfaction with their residential contexts the role of density and housing type. Environ Plann B. 36 and neighbourhoods. Special thanks are also for employees (1):30–48. from Greater Irbid Municipality who helped in providing infor- Castillo N, Price A, Moobela C, Mathur V. 2007. Assessing urban mation and spatial data about the case studies. social sustainability: current capabilities and opportunities for future research. Envir, Cult, Econo Soc Sustainability. 3(3):39–49. Cavalcante L. 2016. Re-thinking the urban form of social Disclosure statement housing in Brazil: A search for urban sustainability [mas- ter’s thesis]. Rochester (NY): Golisano Institute for No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors. Sustainability. Chan E, Lee G. 2008. Critical factors for improving social sustain- ability of urban renewal projects. Soc Indic Res. 85:243–256. ORCID Cohen B. 2006. Urbanization in developing countries: current trends, future projections, and key challenges for Yamen N. Al-Betawi http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1975-2328 sustainability. Technol Soc. 28(1–2):63–80. Colantonio A. 2007. Social sustainability: an exploratory analysis of its definition, assessment methods, metrics and tools. 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