The idea behind the dense city is that it is sustainable, accessible for all, offers services and public transport, and that it is well planned.

Densification has been the strategy for developing sustainable cities in recent decades. The need to better economize our resources and the physical environment has governed the way cities have been shaped and planned. By using land surfaces inefficiently, such as previous industrial land and oversized surfaces for infrastructure, cities can grow inside and out. Improved accessibility plays a major part in this development, where residents should be able to reach the different destinations of everyday life within walking distance or with other sustainable transport such as bicycle and public transport. The idea is also to provide increased opportunities for a mixed urban environment.

Closeness to activities and accommodation

According to city life surveys, the experience of being close to activities and accommodation is the most important factor when living in a city. Surveys also show that an intensive city with a high level of interaction between people is preferred among citizens.

Challenges of a densified city

Densification means higher pressure on public spaces and an increased need for public and commercial services. Children, the elderly, people with disabilities, women and men, should all be given a place in an increasingly dense environment.

Green spaces are important for recreation, climate adaptation and ecosystem services. The green spaces found in the city are subjected to higher wear as the number of visitors and residents increases. Areas of land that may have previously been left unbuilt for its poor characteristics such as high noise levels may be exploited. Similarly, dense environments can cause difficulties in creating both good indoor and outdoor environments with regards to solar and daylight needs. There is also a limit to the amount of load the existing technical supply systems are capable of.

In sustainable urban planning, the densification and multifunctional use of the city’s surfaces need to be handled consciously and one surface might have to be used for several purposes.

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