chapter  8.4
5 Pages

Density, Environment and the City

WithGreg Bamford

This chapter highlights the issue of density, and considers the relation between density and a single environmental good, namely, home-grown food production. As population density increases, home-grown food production declines - the converse of the relation with petrol consumption. The fixation on density, with little scrutiny of, for example, land use, site cover or social organisation, impoverishes the debate. Lower densities are not necessarily an impediment to creating cities with significant environmental virtues. The sophisticated level of inter-household sharing and cooperation in cohousing is the key to its environmental possibilities. Housing is to be clustered to form sociable streets and squares, with relatively little space devoted to the movement of vehicles, enabling most of the site to be retained as open space. The common house relieves individual households of the need for their own laundry, workshop or guest room; and provides shared storage and recycling facilities, and spaces for children or teenagers.