Is Density Inherently Desirable?
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."