• Moving to Opportunity
  • Volume 14 Number 2
  • Managing Editor: Mark D. Shroder
  • Associate Editor: Michelle P. Matuga

Defining Neighborhoods in Space and Time

Ralph B. Taylor, Temple University


The terms community and neighborhood reference some of the most notoriously slippery social science concepts. One publication (Hillery, 1955) appearing more than five decades ago listed more than 90 definitions of community, tapping 16 different themes. The concept of neighborhood is similarly diffuse, precluding scholarly consensus (Keller, 1968). “There are many ways of defining neighborhood” and “different definitions serve different interests” (Brower, 1996: 17). Each of these two concepts has received scholarly attention for a century or more (Burgess, 1925; McKenzie, 1923), has waxed and waned in that period as a topic of interest to both scholars and policymakers, and has been defined in numerous ways.

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