Measuring Community Character

PAS QuickNotes 72

By David Morley, AICP


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Community character refers to the distinct identity of a place. It is the collective impression a neighborhood or town makes on residents and visitors. People often choose the places they live and spend their leisure time based — in part — on their perceptions of community character. Nevertheless, many people find it difficult to explain which characteristics are essential to their sense of place.

This edition of PAS QuickNotes highlights the importance of identifying the key measurable qualities that contribute to perceptions of community character, and it suggests a small set of these measures grouped under three categories: urban form, natural features, and demographics.


Page Count
Date Published
Feb. 1, 2018
Adobe PDF
American Planning Association

About the Author

David Morley, AICP
David Morley, AICP, is a Research Program and QA Manager at the American Planning Association in Chicago, where he manages and contributes to sponsored research projects; manages the development of the Research KnowledgeBase; develops, organizes, and participates in educational sessions and workshops; and writes for APA publications. Mr. Morley also edits Zoning Practice.