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Cities after COVID

Solly Angel Argues for the Kind of Densification Cities Need


NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge and NYU’s Cross-Cutting Initiative on Inequality hosted a webinar, “Cities After COVID,” on April 8. The panel of scholars included Director of Urban Expansion, Solly Angel, who spoke about six emerging trends in cities after COVID-19. On the sixth trend, “rising anxiety about the densification agenda,” Angel said:

It is important to increase density literacy among politicians, professionals, and activists to make it clear that the density that contributed to the pandemic, overcrowded multigenerational housing, mass events, crowded transit cars, or crowded bars and restaurants, is not the kind of density we need to increase to make cities more affordable and to combat climate change. The densification we need involves making room in cities, adding floor space so that more people can occupy the same area without overcrowding them any further. That kind of densification shortens the distance among urban locations and thus reduces the number of vehicle miles traveled. It makes transit more viable, allowing more people to live within walking distance of transit stations, and it makes it easier to walk or bike between locations.

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