I just read J. Daniel Malouff post about how people can still live in higher density but aren’t getting the benefits of urban living at his blog Beyond DC . I know this type of community is not just limited to Washington DC or the USA it’s happening all across the world where communities are living in higher density but are lacking the transport and services needed to make urban living actually livable. As Malouff states
….suburban apartments are simply preposterous. If you’re going to be building at that density anyway, then for goodness sake use an urban layout.
Read more at Beyond DC – ‘Urban’ doesn’t have to mean more dense
High Density cities have there advantages include convenience, access to transport, reduction in services & infrastructure. Prathima Manohar has outlined more advantages & challenges in a recent post – The Advantages of High Density at Urban Vision
According to OregonLive.com the Portland city has announced plans to accommodate another 1 million people by increasing the density of the existing urban areas. The Portland plans to encourage developers to build up not out to increase density and reduce the dependence on cars. By redeveloping of existing buildings and industrial zones to increase the city’s density will protect existing prime farmland and key natural areas. Although development groups see the plan as unrealistic as it doesn’t allow for industrial zones for job creation and the groups also question the costs of use of existing infrastructure.
However, I have to wonder whether these development groups are more worried about the higher cost of developing existing built areas rather than green field developments.
Last week the NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL released a report titled DRIVING AND THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT: THE EFFECTS OF COMPACT DEVELOPMENT ON MOTORIZED TRAVEL, ENERGY USE, AND CO2 EMISSIONS stating that
Increasing population and employment density in metropolitan areas could reduce vehicle travel, energy use, and CO2 emissions from less than 1 percent up to 11 percent by 2050 compared to a base case for household vehicle usage……
The report continues to give examples of if 75% of all new and replacement housing units were developed at twice the density and people drive 25% less then then CO2 emissions would be reduced by 7-8% by 2030, 8-11% by 2050. However if only 25% of housing was developed at twice the density and drove 12% less then the reduction in CO2 would only be 1% by 2030 and 1.7% by 2050.
The report also outlined the obstacles with trying achieve 75% dwellings at twice the denisty including local growth, local zoning regulations, concerns about congestion and home values.
The report also stated that
Government policies to support more compact, mixed-use development should be encouraged, the report says. The nation is likely to set ambitious goals to address climate change and, given the large contribution of the transportation sector to greenhouse gas emissions, changes in land use may have to be part of the effort. If so, land use changes should be implemented soon, because current development patterns will take decades to reverse
For more information about the report go to the NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL website.
SOURCE: NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
IMAGE SOURCE: Flickr austrini (suburbia) Flickr DrPleishner (city)