Coordinating density; working through conviction, suspicion and pragmatism


A new article on the issues of planning density and London

Mace, AlanHolman, NancyPaccoud, Antoine and Sundaresan, Jayaraj (2014) Coordinating density; working through conviction, suspicion and pragmatism. Progress in Planning, NYP . ISSN 0305-9006 (In Press)

Abstract: Achieving higher density development has become, as part of sustainable development, a core principle of the contemporary planning professional. The appeal of density is its simplicity, it is an independent measurable element to which various separate claims can be and are attached; it achieves greater public transport use, makes it possible to live nearer to work, supports mixed uses providing a more lively street-scene and so on. As the academic literature has shown the reality is much more complex as achieving a positive outcome through adjustments to density may lead to negative outcomes elsewhere; it can allow more people to live near public transport nodes but can be detrimental in terms of housing affordability for example. Given this tension between the simplicity of the claims and the complexity of application we are interested in how planners seek to balance the multiple advantages and disadvantages of density; to what extent do they approach density as a simple variable or as a complex act of balancing. We address this question by looking at four higher density developments in London.

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