Continuing with the density theme, I recently read this post from New World Economics. The website is spartan and the post is very long, but it persuasively makes the point that higher density and good design produce better neighborhoods than low density places — which it refers to as “Suburban Hell.” Even if you don’t read the whole post, I’d recommend clicking over to see a whole bunch of pictures of what good density actually looks like.
One of the most important points the post makes is that adding density increases walkability, is environmentally friendly, and supportive to local business:
The high population density itself does a lot to solve the problem of automobiles, because, at that level, a lot of things are now in walking distance. Although a family will still want a car to interact with the rest of Suburban Hell America, nevertheless, within their neighborhood, it should be possible to walk to the school, bank, grocery, hardware store, restaurant, bar, dentist, friend’s house, and so forth, which cuts down the amount of trips necessary by car (and consequently automobile traffic within the neighborhood) considerably. As we noted earlier, when there are 30,000+ people within an easy walk, a business also doesn’t need to have twenty or a hundred parking spaces to be viable.
In other words, the more people in a given space the more vibrant that space becomes. And again, click over to the post to see what “adding density” actually looks like.