From All About Cities blog: Stealth density vs high rise density

This is a recent post on Wendy Waters' Vancouver blog All About Cities

Living in walkable, urban neighbourhoods is becoming trendy. And communities are defined as “walkable” when virtually everything you could need from groceries to clothes to plumbing supplies can be acquired on foot.

But to support those businesses, you need a dependable large supply of consumers. Walkable places therefore tend to have higher housing density than less-walkable nodes.

Most cities and many urban residents believe that the only way to increase density in an area is to add high rise buildings. Although perhaps a quick and efficient way to add people, high rises and even mid-rise structures often stand in stark contrast in an existing community of ground-oriented dwellings.

City planning departments and civic governments could do more to promote what I call stealth density. That is, density that you can’t really see from the street–it flies under the radar, so to speak.

Take the Walk Score. My neighbourhood (Old City) scored 80 out of 100.  Read the rest of the post here.

This exchange on All About Cities stemmed from Wendy’s post Satellite Cities – Something to watch for

Frank Murphy Says:

June 4th, 2010 at 8:27 pm

Wendy, consider Nanaimo: potentially an hour, an hour and a half by foot passenger ferry into Vancouver harbour. Previous attempts at establishing a foot passenger ferry have failed but…

I know Richard Florida has done research as well on the satellite city and I’m not up to speed but –

What is the advantage to the smaller city. How does it rise above being just a “bedroom community”.

Wendy Waters Says:

June 7th, 2010 at 9:49 pm

Hi Frank,

Nanaimo is a tricky one because of the necessity of water travel and the inconsistency of transport options (catamaran one month, then gone, etc.)

An advantage to the smaller city would be business growth and residential demand. Some small businesses need proximity to “the big city” to sell their goods or services, but don’t necessarily need to be there every day. Cheaper office or industrial space in a satellite city is attractive to them.

If a business can thrive serving a nearby big city, then it can retain and attract staff to the satellite as well.

Frank Murphy