One of my myriad interests is the field of city planning, particularly the vision of walkable, vital cities articulated by Jane Jacobs and those who fall under the moniker of New Urbanism.
The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy does this movement a great service with their Visualizing Density website, which provides extensive photographic evidence of the ugliness and monotony of sprawl alongside photos of appropriately dense, liveable neighbourhoods. It begins:
Sprawl is bad. Density is good. Americans need to stop spreading out and live closer together. Well… that’s the theory, anyway. But, as anyone who has tried to build compact development recently will tell you, if there’s one thing Americans hate more than sprawl, it’s density… One reason people reject density is that they don’t know much about it-what it looks like, how to build it, or whether it’s something they can call home. We have very rational ways of measuring density, but our perception of it is anything but rational.
3 responses to “Visualizing Urban Density”
There is good discussion of New Urbanism in “The Essential Agrarian Reader.”
@Thom Cheers for the heads-up on that. I just put it on hold at the library.
i have little use for this.
urban density should be viewed at the human, or street-level scale, not from an aerial view, as much as i love maps and satellite images.
this method has limited usefulness.
the bird’s eye view of cities is not how they are experienced so i have trouble saying this is a way to “go visualize density”.