The discussions and debates around building more walkable and bikeable cities invariably come back to issues of urban density. There are many competing theories as to how many people can or should live in compact, efficient living quarters.
Just about everyone who studies cities agrees decentralized rings of suburbs are a waste of time, energy, and social connection. Yet more are realizing the vertically gated communities found inside glass & concrete condos can be equally damaging.
To break it down, most arguments for density make sense: driving long distances is exacerbating our climate crisis while creating congestion nightmares as populations urbanize faster than ever. The downside, though, is while the housing crash of 2008 halted our sprawl addiction, the fallout means watching humble apartments get flipped into expensive luxury units.
Frustratingly, educated urbanists who understand the right reasons for promoting density have been recruited by the real estate market to make thier case for sky-rocking rent. While we’re arguing for density, we’ve forgotten who it is we’re building density for.
— Brent Toderian (@BrentToderian) August 21, 2015