Is Density Inherently Desirable?

Kaid Benfield wades into the density debate by pointing out that density and sprawl can go hand in hand.
August 6, 2012, 2pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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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."  

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Published on Monday, August 6, 2012 in Switchboard
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