Motivation, Limiting Principles, Household Characteristics, Urban Structure, and Residential Choices

Oscar Perilla

DOI: 10.2190/N8J7-CV22-8ATW-LP4G


This paper reviews some theoretical, empirical, and practical drawbacks of urban problem approaches based on analogies to physical processes. It suggests an abstraction of man, as the basic building unit of the urban system, retaining motivation characteristics of people that seem to underlie human behavior in an urban setting. It states some of the basic principles that appear to underlie and limit this behavior and outlines the consequences on urban growth and structure that follow from these principles and characteristics. It also presents some empirical work that indicates the approach is useful to clarify structural relationships in the system, and to study the effects of some individual, community, and institutional goals on the development of urban forms. The approach seems useful to identify system interfaces where coordinated contributions from several disciplines are needed. The approach apparently can yield a surprisingly large amount of sensible information from samples as small as 17-50 households.

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