Scales of Urban Density
Urban density is a multifaceted concept that can be measured in various ways, depending on the context and purpose of the analysis. Population density and residential building density are among the most common and straightforward measures of urban density.
The idea of taking a scaled approach to density, rather than simply maximizing height or density, can help create more livable and human-scaled environments. Mid-rise buildings, which typically range from 5 to 12 stories, can offer a number of advantages in this regard. (Wu, Hao, Somwrita Sarkar, and Levinson, D. (2020) How Transit Scaling Shapes Cities)
For one, mid-rise buildings can help create a more diverse and mixed-use urban fabric, with a variety of building types, uses, and scales. This can create a more dynamic and interesting streetscape, with a range of activities and experiences for residents and visitors alike. Mid-rise buildings can also help maintain a human scale in the built environment, with buildings that are tall enough to create a sense of density and activity, but not so tall as to overwhelm the surrounding streets and neighborhoods. (Wu, Hao, Somwrita Sarkar, and Levinson, D. (2020) How Transit Scaling Shapes Cities)
One fine example is the regeneration of the Brains Brewery site in Cardiff sounds like an ambitious project that could bring a significant amount of new development to the area. The inclusion of 50 new bars and restaurants and 1,000 apartments suggests that the development is designed to be a vibrant mixed-use space that caters to a range of different needs and interests. ( BBC ,11 July 2018)
The proposed car park and public square could also help to improve access to the site and create a more welcoming and pedestrian-friendly environment. However, it’s worth noting that car-centric development can also have negative impacts, such as increased traffic congestion and air pollution, so it will be important to monitor and mitigate these issues. ( BBC ,11 July 2018)
Countries like Singapore maintains good living standards in public housing through systematic upgrading programs that enlarge and improve older flats and enhance public areas with new lifts, covered walkways, and better landscaping. To optimize land use, the government employs the Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme to demolish older apartment blocks and rebuild them at a higher density. This scheme encourages affected residents to relocate to nearby flats, promoting renewal and growth without dispersing established communities.( Issue 2 – Urban solutions , 2nd February 2013)
Singapore’s land policies optimize land use and development cycles through measures like land value creation, regulations, rights of use, and limited lease tenures. City planners review the Master Plan every decade, and “white sites” allow developers to propose land-use, boosting urban growth. ( Issue 2 – Urban solutions , 2nd February 2013)
Scaled density can help to bring living space back to city centers and promote more compact and sustainable urban development. By building mid-rise buildings with higher-density residential units, it is possible to create more housing opportunities in urban areas and reduce the need for sprawling suburban development.(Wu, Hao, Somwrita Sarkar, and Levinson, D. (2020) How Transit Scaling Shapes Cities)
Central residential living is an emerging trend in many cities around the world, as more people seek to live closer to work, entertainment, and cultural amenities. Living in the heart of the city can offer many benefits, such as greater access to public transportation, reduced commuting times, and a stronger sense of community and place.
Wu, Hao, Somwrita Sarkar, and Levinson, D. (2020) How Transit Scaling Shapes Cities, Accessed on 15.03.23
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-east-wales-44800129 – 11 july 2018 , accessed on 15.03.23
https://www.clc.gov.sg/docs/default-source/urban-solutions/urb-sol-iss-2-pdfs/essay-10-principles-for-liveable-high-desnity-cities-lessons-from-singapore.pdf ( Issue 2 – Urban solutions , 2nd February 2013)
Featured Image – Urban design work – Worked and edited by the author