5 Ways to Add Density (High Rises Not Included)

In some cities the idea of adding a high rise is always dead on arrival, even if the city desperately needs to add density. For those communities facing similar challenges, a post on Blooming Rock offers five ways to think outside the high-rise box.

1 minute read

February 8, 2015, 1:00 PM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Netherlands Homes

Giancarlo Liguori / Shutterstock

Taz Loomans introduces the idea of density by citing the example of Portland, which is pressured by high housing costs, a steady stream of newcomers, and an urban growth boundary. Unfortunately, notes Loomans, "[cities] have done a poor job in adding density in a gentler, kinder way that has fewer consequences to their existing character and existing populations, which are the reasons why people are moving there in the first place."

Before presenting the list of density options not born in the form of high-rise buildings, Loomans notes that cities shouldn’t be isolating, and that poorly designed high-rises have a tendency to separate people from the street and each other. Moreover, "high-rises aren’t the first thing cities should look to if they want to densify. There are a lot of options that can add to, not take away, from its organic vibrancy and sense of community." 

The list includes the following, with lots of elaboration and examples for each:

  1. Make Single-Family Houses into Community Houses
  2. Accessory Dwelling Units
  3. Duplex, Three-plex, or Fourplex Apartments
  4. Tiny House Communities
  5. Shared Urban Amenities

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