Urban Density is a measure of how many people take up a space, relative to the size of that space. In conversation, density is mentioned as “low, medium and high”. Generally low density refers to vast areas of land with fewer inhabitants and high density refers to urban centers such as New York City. Urban areas require high density to thrive and to remain sustainable. Many of our cities have experienced population losses due to suburban sprawl, causing our city centers to fail.
As cities perished under suburban flight in the 1960’s the many under utilized and vacated buildings remained as a reminder that what seems a good idea one day turns out to be not so great the next. Under utilized buildings in urban cores are great for restoring into residential properties in order to increase density and bring life back to the urban core.
Re-using existing assets, materials, energy and water sources is cost effective and sustainable. As cities experience population growth, creative use of land, space and materials will be increasingly necessary to accommodate residents and their needs.
Build for community
One of the greatest draws a city can offer its inhabitants is the opportunity to socialize. Entertainment, nightlife, cultural experiences, and green space encourage activity. As cities revitalize, those that incorporate building connections and improving opportunities for social interaction are experiencing the strongest population growth.
Allow for pedestrians
Cities of the past were designed to accommodate traffic. Large, high speed roadways cross cities, often times killing once viable sections of the urban core. Buildings were demolished to make way for large seas of parking lots, creating less walkable streets.
In an vibrant urban core, pedestrians rule. Larger sidewalks, smaller intersections, bike lanes, reduced traffic speeds and revitalized buildings create a feeling of safety and leisure. A strong urban city can accommodate traffic as well as promote pedestrian activity.
Near is dear
Our hectic lifestyles require quick and easy access to daily necessities. Providing amenities within walk able distance is the lifeblood for an urban center. Following the popular “Live Work Play” model only works when a city is not dependent on a vehicle to transport people to their daily activities. To attract urbanites, cities must offer multi-modal transportation options as well as a mix of retail, entertainment, and housing options.