High urban density is good for cities

by Maskil on June 25, 2008

An excellent piece on the TreeHugger website regarding the Movement for Israeli Urbanism’s conference with the theme “The Quality of Density”. To quote from the article:

According to Irit Solzi, Chairwoman of the Movement for Israeli Urbanism, densifying Israel’s cities is a great opportunity, and not a curse, as some have portrayed it:

Every city can become a pearl! The idea that density is bad is a leftover from the Industrial Revolution era. Today, Israel is building cities with very low densities, which destroys their functioning. Transit, culture, creativity – none of these can survive in low density cities, and this means lower quality of life. Population growth is an opportunity. Mixed uses, varied buildings, small blocks, public transport – all of these will make our cities succeed. Otherwise, our cities will decline, and our open spaces will disappear.

Our love affair with the automobile in the 20th and 21st centuries has probably been responsible for most of the damage to urban fabric worldwide, and also for the poor planning models for new communities and extensions to existing ones. Initiatives such as this will go a long way towards creating environments that respect the differences between town and country. The struggle will probably only be won, however, when we have replaced our emotional attachment to the automobile with a rational embrace of a multi-faceted public transport grid.

The other side of our love affair with the car is the suburb, and the aspiration for a detached suburban home. While the first has taken firm root in Israel, the second (fortunately) still remains largely an aspiration.

South Jerusalem Blog Archive Why Israel is Losing Its Green Spaces: The Pointed-Roof Hypothesis

Simply put, higher density cities are far more efficient machines for living than those with a lower population density.

Israeli New Urbanists: Density Will Make Our Cities Better Places to Live : TreeHugger

The link to the Movement for Israeli Urbanism website (English and Hebrew) can be found here:

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