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It’s Smart to Be Dense

As the world’s population continues to urbanize, our cities have two options for growth: densify or sprawl. To accommodate a more populous and more prosperous world, the spread-out, car-dependent model of the 20th century must change. In this video, the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) and Streetfilms team up to bring you the most important reasons for building dense.

If you like this one, don't miss our other productions with ITDP:

Clarence Eckerson Jr. has been making fantastical transportation media in NYC since the late 1990s. He's never had a driver's license and never will.

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  • Tribeca Trust

    This kind of video plays into the stupidity of the "hyper-density" policy that Bloomberg and De Blasio are pursursuing. It is far better to ask a question about how much density is "optimal"? Is there a range? Is there a minimum density and a maximum density? Hyperdensity rips apart our historic fabric inpursuit of luxury high-rises and leads up inexorably toward a future that is Dubai/Shanghai. Advocates for the city need to get more granular and abandon the knee-jerk, unqualified, "more density is good" notion pushed by Glaeser and others.

  • sensible internet commenter

    It's not advocating for "hyperdensity", just enough density to support alternative modes of transportation and mixed uses. Rather, it is showing the problems associated with a lack of density, namely suburban sprawl, and the benefits associated with at least moderate density and walkability.

    In fact, I think historic walkable urban areas are highly favored by density advocates rather than supertall towers. Those historic walkable areas are still quite dense.

  • zentierra

    The most important factor in this view for the future -and one that is seldom properly addressed- is "greed control". Having multi-modal/complete streets and great urban density means very little, if it can only be enjoyed by the elite. All it does, in its present form, is to either push those who are at the lower end of the economic spectrum out of the cities altogether (ie- just "switch" them into the suburbs...with all the ills that entails), or cause them to live in horrid conditions that call to mind turn-of-century tenements.

    GREED is the major impediment.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    Manhattan 70,000 pop square mile
    Paris 50,000
    Queens 30,000
    Brooklyn 25,000
    Bronx 20,000
    Staten Island 5,000
    Typical 1970s Suburb 2,500
    Exurbs of the 1990s 1,000 or less

  • Robert

    I am compelled to say that Geneva, Switzerland comes within about 1,000 persons per sq. mile of the average density of NYC. This quashes your argument as most of Geneva is a relatively low rise city with narrower streets vs. NYC. Hyper density need not be attained by towers.

  • Vooch

    agreed 1000%