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Thanks, Winnie, for bringing up this subject for discussion. I completely sensed what you were describing, since it is something that nowadays we see happening so often, and still can’t do anything about it.

The growing need to accommodate even more people is causing the loss of large green areas due to the urban sprawl, which is an unfair fight where the built environment is mercilessly taking over what is left of nature. I have always lived and have preferred individual houses with their own front garden and back yard, being against high-density buildings. But this situation makes you rethink twice and reorganize your priorities when you feel the obligation to speak up for the environment you have taken for granted. And yes, making cities to start growing vertically doesn’t seem now like a bad idea.

So, after reading about projects like the Bosco Verticale, in Milan, Italy, it gave me hope and confident about how much good these high density “green” housing towers can bring to a whole city. (Oviedo, 2019)

Besides the environmental benefits of “biological towers” as Bosco Verticale, there is also the opportunity to have a compact city, which at the same time, has its own long list of advantages. Manohar (2011) describe a couple of the reasons why “high density and compact cities are the most ideal development pattern for the future”:

  • Promotes thriving communities and integration, since a higher density neighbourhood establishes a mixed-use land with a greater variety of activities (shopping, services, amenities, work, travel options), welcoming at the same time much more cultures in the same area, which motivates social unity and cooperation between people.
  • Economical savings, since housing and transportations costs, infrastructure maintenance (roads, street lighting), services, etc., can be offered at a much-reduced cost, compared to a low-density city.
  • Sustainability, by offering more transportation options, and people might be living close to their work gives them the opportunity to also walk or cycle to it.

Moreover, as we see on the image 1, high rise buildings in a hectare mean more green spaces and facilities to be available to more people.

Image 1: High density and urban form. Source: Towards an Urban Renaissance, by Urban Task Force (1999).

In conclusion, times change, cities change, and so must people, because keeping the same point of view from 20 years ago, or the one most beneficial for my own, it is what is going to make us end with our environment’s limited resources.


References:

  • Boeri Studio (2014). Vertical Forest. [online] Available at: https://www.stefanoboeriarchitetti.net/en/project/vertical-forest/ (Accessed: 26 April 2019)
  • Manohar, P. (2011). ‘The High-Density Advantage’, The Urban Vision, 15 January. Available at: http://theurbanvision.com/the-high-density-advantage/ (Accessed: 26 April 2019)

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School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

Tel: 0191 208 6509

Email: nicola.rutherford@ncl.ac.uk


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