Making Dense Cities More Liveable thru Better Design and Planning

Home / Climate Adaptation / Making Dense Cities More Liveable thru Better Design and Planning
climate adaptation barcelona spain

An article in the Conversation makes a great case on how urban living could be bliss and gives some examples of metropolitan cities worldwide that shift our perceptions of living in dense urban areas.

When we think about urban density, the picture that usually comes to mind is congested roads, expensive housing, noise and air pollution, shoebox apartment living, vertical slums, etc. – not a lovely picture at all.

While this condition is true in many crowded cities worldwide, there are some exceptions.

Melbourne, Australia, is a fast-growing city, but it does not have to mean congested roads, high housing or rental prices. The city could do better like Paris or Barcelona – dense cities that Aussies admire and visit regularly.

Paris houses 213 people per hectare, Barcelona 156. Contrast it with Melbourne, which averages 38 people per hectare, and Sydney at around 50 people per hectare.

Though densely populated, Paris and Barcelona are great cities because their higher density of living makes their streets bustling through well-designed mid-rise apartments close to shops, services, and efficient public transport.

Without adequate public transport, roads will soon be jam-packed with cars, high-rise apartments will come with multiple parking floors, and streetscapes will be rife with vehicle crossover ramps.  

According to the article, parking spaces are valuable spaces that could otherwise be used for green spaces to counteract the urban heat island (UHI) effect. They are essential for all the residents’ health and well-being.

An example of a liveable dense city is a Netherlands neighbourhood that houses 100 dwellings per hectare. It has minimal street parking, a speed limit of 15km per hour, and lots of trees and plants. 

One will barely miss rows of apartments because of the prominence of trees and vegetation in the area.

The point of this type of city design is that it puts people and place first.

The article says this urban design is possible in any city with a “courageous policy change”.

This type of urban design that allows for green spaces, fewer cars, utilizing public transport, and retrofit urban spaces to cope with natural hazards is also a great climate adaptation and mitigation strategy and one that could increase a city’s resilience against climate change effects like rising temperatures, severe rainfall, and flooding.

Read the entire article by clicking the link below:

Source Citation:

Croeser, T. & Gunn, L. (2020, February 19). No need to give up on crowded cities – we can make density so much better. The Conversation. Retrieved from

Leave a Reply

Translate »