The Plaça Reial of Barcelona has a high vitality, with pedestrian spaces and a variety of establishments in its vicinity.
Comparatively, Plaça dels Països Catalans has a low vitality, with fewer establishments and large, surrounding streets which inhibit pedestrian movement.

Urban vitality is the quality of spaces in cities that attract diverse groups of people for varied activities over frequent, varied times.[1][2] These spaces may be perceived as alive, lively or vibrant, in contrast with low-vitality areas, which may repel people and be perceived as unsafe.[3][4]

The urban vitality index is a measure of this quality and has become a fundamental tool in urban planning, especially in interventions for spaces with low vitality.[5] The index is also used to assist the management of spaces that already have high vitality. However, the success of high-vitality spaces can sometimes lead to gentrification and overtourism that may reduce their vitality and initial popularity.[6]

The concept of urban vitality is based on the works of Jane Jacobs, especially her most influential work, The Death and Life of Great American Cities. In the 1960s, Jacobs criticized the modern and rationalist architecture of Robert Moses and Le Corbusier, whose work centered private cars. She argued that these forms of urban planning overlooked and oversimplified the complexity of human life in diverse communities. She opposed large-scale urban renewal programs that affected neighborhoods and that built freeways through inner cities. She instead advocated compact and mixed-use development with walkable streets and “eyes on the street” to deter crime.[7]

The concept of urban vitality is important in Mediterranean urbanism and its history, in which public space, walkability and squares are valued as centers of social interaction and cohesion, in contrast to the Anglo-Saxon urbanism of large, car-centric infrastructures with greater distances between conveniences.[3][4][8]

Conditions for high urban vitality

Urban vitality can be quantified thanks to the analysis of the elements that determine it. Among them are:[9][10]

See also


  1. ^ Mouratidis, Kostas; Poortinga, Wouter (December 2020). "Built environment, urban vitality and social cohesion: Do vibrant neighborhoods foster strong communities?". Landscape and Urban Planning. 204: 103951. doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2020.103951. hdl:11250/2823395. S2CID 224862850.
  2. ^ Kang, Chaogui; Fan, Dongwan; Jiao, Hongzan (2021). "Validating activity, time, and space diversity as essential components of urban vitality". Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science. 48 (5): 1180–1197. doi:10.1177/2399808320919771. S2CID 218914835.
  3. ^ a b Índice de vitalidad urbana. La aventura del saber. RTVE. 7 February 2019.
  4. ^ a b Jane Jacobs y la vitalidad urbana en Barcelona. TEDxBarcelona. 8 September 2021.
  5. ^ "La importancia de la vitalidad urbana". Ciudades. November 2017.
  6. ^ Delclòs-Alió, Xavier; Miralles-Guasch, Carme (June 2018). "Looking at Barcelona through Jane Jacobs's eyes: Mapping the basic conditions for urban vitality in a Mediterranean conurbation". Land Use Policy. 75: 505–517. doi:10.1016/j.landusepol.2018.04.026. S2CID 158995589.
  7. ^ Jane Jacobs. The Death and Life of Great American Cities.
  8. ^ Delclòs-Alió, Xavier; Gutiérrez, Aaron; Miralles-Guasch, Carme (March 2019). "The urban vitality conditions of Jane Jacobs in Barcelona: Residential and smartphone-based tracking measurements of the built environment in a Mediterranean metropolis". Cities. 86: 220–228. doi:10.1016/j.cities.2018.09.021. S2CID 158254925.
  9. ^ Alió, Xavier Delclòs; Guasch, Carme Miralles i. (January 2021). "Jane Jacobs en Barcelona: las condiciones para la vitalidad urbana y su relación con la movilidad cotidiana". Documents d'Anàlisi Geogràfica. 67 (1): 51–72. doi:10.5565/rev/dag.567. S2CID 234023321.
  10. ^ Liang, Yang; D’Uva, Domenico; Scandiffio, Alessandro; Rolando, Andrea (2022). "The more walkable, the more livable? -- can urban attractiveness improve urban vitality?". Transportation Research Procedia. 60: 322–329. doi:10.1016/j.trpro.2021.12.042.