The Anatomy of Density: Urban Densification in PracticeRSVP
Join the NYU Marron Urban Expansion Program in a series of four webinars to explore the increased importance of urban density and its attributes in cities the world over.
More than ever, urban density is at the fore of discussions of mitigating climate change, managing pandemics, promoting housing affordability and economic development, and protecting the countryside from further encroachment. There are calls for making cities denser, to increase the use of public transit, biking, and walking, and for containing urban expansion to force the densification of existing urban footprints. Yet densities have continued to fall over the past three decades, and densification advocates have little to show for their efforts. It is now urgent to understand how to turn the tide and advance a pragmatic densification agenda for cities the world over. This webinar series provides a new and deeper understanding of urban density and its critical role in shaping the destinies of cities in the decades to come. The series includes:
- Anatomy of Density
- Densify and Expand
- Urban Densification in Practice
- Densification Strategy for NYC’s Next Mayor
Session 3: Urban Densification in Practice
Join the Urban Expansion program and Buildings & Cities for its third webinar, “Urban Densification in Practice,” as part of its “Anatomy of Density Series.” Urban densification has long been accepted as a key planning strategy for cities, aimed at curtailing expansion into virgin lands on the urban periphery—commonly derided as “sprawl”—while making cities more productive, more affordable, healthier, more vibrant, and more resilient to climate change. In practice, however, densification of existing neighborhoods has been difficult to attain with the tools available to city planners and has often been successfully resisted by NIMBY (“Not in My Back Yard”) activists. Indirect efforts at densification by forbidding urban expansion have often failed and, when successful, have typically resulted in land-supply bottlenecks that reduced housing affordability. This webinar will focus on emerging practices aimed at making more room within existing footprints of cities to facilitate densification, while avoiding its pitfalls and successfully confronting local resistance. This, it turns out, is not so simple: the costs and benefits of densification depend intricately on its direct, indirect, and cumulative effects on present and future inhabitants, at various scales, and with spatial justice in mind. This webinar will focus on four case studies in cities or countries that attempted, or are attempting, to densify in practice—(1) South Africa, (2) Jinan, China, (3) London, and (4) Israel—and discuss the merits and limitations of densification strategies in various urban settings.
- Angela Hawken, Director of the Marron Institute, and Richard Lorch, the editor of Buildings and Cities, which recently published a special issue on urban densification will introduce the event.
- Jacques Teller, who was the guest editor of the special issue on urban densification in Buildings and Cities, the author of its editorial essay, "Regulating Urban Densification: What Factors Should Be Used?", and a co-author of "Addressing the Determinants of Built-up Expansion and Densification Processes at the Regional Scale" will moderate the event. He will introduce the agenda for the webinar, the four case study presenters, and the discussant.
- Ann Bernstein, author of Building Better Cities: A New Approach to Housing and Urban Development, will introduce and report on the South Africa case study.
- Xin Li and Minna Sunikka-Blank, co-authors of "Urban Densification and Social Capital: Neighborhood Restructuring in Jinan, China," will introduce and report on the Jinan, China, case study.
- Nicola Livingstone, co-author of "Planning for Residential ‘Value’? London’s Densification Policies and Impacts" will introduce and report on the London, England, case study.
- Nava Persov and Naomi Carmon, co-authors of "Densifying and Upgrading the Existing Housing Stock: An Evaluation Study of an Innovative Program" will introduce and report on the Israel case study.
- Shlomo (Solly) Angel, co-author of "Anatomy of Density II: A Comprehensive Strategy for Making Room for City Densification," will discuss and summarize the case studies within a comprehensive strategic framework for urban densification.