Posted on October 06, 2015

In Defence of Density

Cities around the world are discovering the wide-ranging benefits of high-density development. “Smart growth” communities are good for the environment, the economy and the health and well-being of those who live in them.

Across Metro Vancouver, we are seeing the rise of transit-oriented developments – dense communities that allow people to ‘live, work, and play’ in close proximity.

“A project like Station Square exemplifies intelligent urban planning,” said Houtan Rafii, Beedie Living’s Vice President of Residential Development.

Here’s how intelligent densification can make positive contributions.

Shorter Commute
Living close to work, school and recreation means you can spend less time in the car and choose active transit like walking or cycling. This is good for your health and the environment. Simple as that!

Improved Transit

Density is necessary to support transit services. As density goes up, transit services can be enhanced, making it a more convenient and appealing travel option.

Improved Productivity
Studies show that high-density living improves innovation and employee productivity. Ryan Avent of the New York Times writes, “Put two workers with similar skill levels in cities with differing densities and the denser place will be more productive, according to two decades of research from economists.”

Green Innovation

Last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found vertical development could be a key strategy in fighting climate change. Denser development makes innovative, environmentally-friendly heating and cooling options economically viable. This allows for experimentation with new technologies in a way that wouldn’t be possible in the suburbs.

Economic Opportunities
High-density housing provides economic opportunities for both the public and private sectors. Density increases demand for social services and businesses like restaurants and coffee shops. Road and street light infrastructure is more economical in high-density cities because it can be delivered at a lower per capita cost.

Cultural Diversity

A wide cross-section of people in a small space means you can enjoy the benefits of many different cultures without travelling far from home – specialty food stores, restaurants and festivals are just a few examples.

Green Space
High-density housing benefits the environment by preserving green space. Vertical development means fewer forests need to be clear-cut or countryside destroyed to make room for housing.