The Problem With Density

Density is an imperfect and unreliable measurement of intensity, says architect and city planner Walter Hosack, and must be replaced with a yardstick that can more accurately measure cause and predict effect.

Hosack explains his concept of "intensity":

"When gross building area is planned or converted for a specific activity, such as a hospital, the physical level of intensity is also affected by the social activity planned. The combination is referred to as "land use", and its condition is affected by its economic stability and social acceptance. In other words, the land development capacity utilized produces levels of physical intensity, social activity, and economic contribution that affect our quality of life within the built environment.

The movement and life support divisions of our built environment open up land for development, but intensity begins with the square feet of building area and pavement provided per acre of land consumed -- in relation to the project open space that remains."



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