Don't Say 'Density', Say 'Walkability'

The concept of increasing density has been given a negative connotation of causing crowdedness and eliminating privacy. This article argues that people will respond more favorably to plans that improve walkability.

"How do you reframe the notion of density, a word that suggests eating one's spinach and conjures up images of a hated neighbor playing loud music at 3 a.m.? Hint: it involves your feet."

"The first framing device to make more people embrace the joys of tighter living quarters is carbon footprint, scaring people out of their subdivisions with an ominous rumble of the extinction of the earth if we don't start abandoning our cars and do more walking. The second framing notion is 'walkability.' A compact, walkable neighborhood sounds sociable, old-fashioned, village-like. Not density, but desirability."

Full Story: Denser than thou

Comments

Comments

The problem with "density"

The problem is that the word "density" is frequently used in a qualitative sense, when it is actually something quantifiable. If density is inherently desirable, it should be easy to articulate how dense is dense enough.

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month

City Coasters

Hand-drawn engraved maps of your favorite neighborhoods are divided up across 4 coasters making each one unique.
$36.00
City Plate table setting

New Arrival! City Plates

City downtown cores printed on gorgeous decorative collectible porcelain plates.
$50.00