London Illustrates the Benefits – and Risks – of Compact Growth

 

“Increasing the number of people living and working in an area can generate huge benefits for a city – if managed well. Productivity rises as people spend less time and money travelling and can share knowledge and ideas more freely. Businesses can reduce production costs when they have access to more suppliers and workers. And it’s cheaper to provide services such as health care, waste collection and transport when more people use them.

But there are also risks. For the first time, researchers have estimated the monetary value of these benefits, finding both positives and negatives for urban residents. Their findings are published in the first working paper from the Coalition for Urban Transitions, a network of more than 20 organizations committed to enhancing the economic, social and environmental performance of cities.”

http://thecityfix.com/blog/london-illustrates-the-benefits-and-risks-of-compact-growth-sarah-colenbrander/

 

“A more compact city is not a silver bullet, however: there are also risks associated with increasing population density. Careful urban planning is required to mitigate these risks, and deliver the potential economic and environmental benefits.

First, a 10 percent increase in the number of people living and working in an area can lead to more congestion, with an estimated cost of $35 per person a year. Significant investment in public transport, cycling lanes and pedestrian walkways is essential to ensure that people can move around the city without cars.

Second, this increase in density increases housing costs by $240 per person per year. Such growth in housing prices might benefit people who own their own homes or rent out property, but it is a challenge for renters. As low-income households are more likely to rent, there is a risk that compact city policies exacerbate inequality.”

Governments can avoid an increase in housing costs through policies to increase housing supply. A steady flow of new homes coming on to the market can have a downward effect on housing prices, which may outweigh the upward effect caused by increasing population density.”

Acknowledging the growth of population in the city and the need to maintain and encourage diversity in existing neighborhoods, Asbury Park is currently developing affordable housing in Springwood Ave.

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