Anatomy of Density

An Approach for City Leaders to Consider Affordable Densification

Director of Urban Expansion, Solly Angel, and Research Scholar Patrick Lamson-Hall, along with collaborator Zeltia Gonzalez Blanco, have published “Anatomy of Density: Measurable Factors That Constitute Urban Density,” in Buildings and Cities. They write:

If affordable densification is to be successful, it is necessary to understand the factors that constitute urban density. A novel way is presented for factoring the average density of cities into constituent factors—three or seven factors—that when multiplied together reconstitute urban density. This factoring methodology is presented together with the preliminary measurement of these factors in 10 cities in 10 world regions. This approach allows, for the first time, a clear understanding of how different cities acquire their density: Hong Kong gets its density from building height; Kinshasa from crowding; and Dhaka and Bogotá from residential coverage. This anatomy of density offers a new outline for a comprehensive strategy for city densification: one that addresses each and every one of the factors that constitute urban density. [...]
This approach offers city leaders and urban planners a new way to consider and develop comprehensive policy options and strategies for city densification that addresses each and every one of the factors that constitute urban density and the tradeoffs between them.

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