Is Density Inherently Desirable?

Kaid Benfield wades into the density debate by pointing out that density and sprawl can go hand in hand.

It's easy to believe that mandating density is the simple solution to heading off sprawl-based development patterns and their associated ill-effects. As Benfield notes, "Search for almost any definition of suburban sprawl and you will likely find a reference to low-density development.  For a lot of people, the terms are synonymous:  if it's sprawl, it's low-density and, if it's low-density, it's sprawl." 

However, for those that argue "high density is good, the higher the better," Benfield counters that a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between density and desirable development patterns is needed. "Higher densities by themselves don't cure sprawl, and sometimes even create new problems that muct [sic] be dealt with," writes Benfield. "Density is important, but it isn't enough and must be approached with sensitivity."  

Full Story: It doesn't have to be low-density to be sprawl


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