Aims and Objectives: The paper proposes a theoretical framework for the study and better understanding of the potential impact of environmental design on neighborhood sense of community. The framework is specifically formulated to address the major problems impeding the progress of this area of research.Context and Background Literature: Based on the theoretical development of the concept of psychological sense of community within the field of community psychology, research has confirmed a significant relationship between neighborhood sense of community and psycho-social dimensions of mental health and levels of subjective well-being. However, to date, despite a growing general interest in the use of environmental design as a tool for the enhancement of neighborhood sense of community, relatively few studies have investigated the relationship between physical characteristics of the residential environment and sense of community. Furthermore, in the absence of appropriate conceptual frameworks, these studies have remained exploratory in nature, largely a theoretical, conducted without a clear articulation of the possible mechanisms through which designed aspects of the environment may affect sense of community. In addition, operationalizations of sense of community in these studies have tended to be based on idealized notions of neighborhood community and have generally failed to take into account the specific socio-cultural characteristics of the particular referent community with which it is associated.Argument – The Proposed Framework: The proposed framework relies first on an explicit conceptualization of neighborhood community that integrates the different models of local community which dominate the ongoing debate about its nature as a socio-spatial entity. It is thus proposed as a solution to the problems related to the current lack of definitional consensus. It is also cross-culturally valid. It is not based on a normative, idealized notion of community. Rather, it emphasizes that the specific nature of a neighborhood community is a product of its socio-cultural context. In addition, the framework proposes explicit conceptual linkages between the construct of psychological sense of community, as defined in the community psychology literature, and the specific characteristics of the referent local community with which it is associated. It thus permits and promotes the context-sensitive operationalization and measurement of neighborhood sense of community. The framework also identifies and articulates two mechanisms through which physical characteristics of the residential environment may impact neighborhood sense of community: the instrumental and symbolic roles of the built environment. The “instrumental role” refers to the capacity of the built environment to enable or facilitate the occurrence of culturally appropriate or desired patterns of behavior. The “symbolic role” refers to the capacity of the built environment to affect perceptions about one’s social environment and about the cultural and social characteristics of the individuals and groups of which it is composed.Findings and Conclusions: Support for the proposed framework is provided through an analysis of the relevant theoretical and research literature as well as two empirical case studies conducted in Cairo, Egypt. In its conclusion, the paper discusses implications of the framework for future research and design applications.