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Urban Density vs Vertical Cities

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Urban density is a measure of how many people live in an area such as population per square kilometer. This is used as an urban design metric as dense cities tend to use less resources per person such as land and energy. Properly designed, dense cities are walkable with access to public space, green spaces, employment, shopping, entertainment, cultural activities and schooling. In theory, urban density is a way to accomplish both a high quality of life and a low environmental impact.

Urban Density vs Vertical Cities

Vertical cities, or the construction of high-rise buildings, is one tool for achieving urban density. It is also possible to achieve satisfactory levels of urban density in an area of buildings no higher than 4 or 5 storeys. Many urban designers and architects prefer this approach as being more conductive to a beautify city with a high quality of life.


Brusselization is a term for the careless introduction of high-rise buildings into an area of smaller buildings where they stick out as an eyesore. This particularly applies to an area of historic buildings that is likely to remain predominantly low-rise for the indefinite future.
The term extends from the uncontroled development of Brussels in the 1960s and 1970s that lead to random looking skyscrapers in otherwise attractive areas.

Big Thinking

Sustainable urban design tends to have a culture of small thinking. Compactness and efficiency are often core goals. As such, gigantic and expensive high-rises are unappealing to many urban designers.
Urban Density vs Vertical Cities
Urban Density
Vertical Cities
The population density of an area.
An area of high-rise buildings.
Relationship To Sustainability
A common technique to reduce resource consumption and improve quality of life.
Potential to improve urban density.
Large buildings can potentially include extremely efficient systems such as deep water cooling that may be infeasible for smaller buildings.


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