5b. How is density used in urban planning?
Density is a quantitative measure, (e.g. number of people or buildings per hectare, floor space ratios, footprints of buildings etc.) commonly used in land use planning because it is simple to calculate and express.
Density does not capture more qualitative characteristics typically associated with urban planning and design such as siting, scale and articulation of buildings, open/green space, pedestrian-friendly access, and transportation. Urban design is about place making within a local to regional to global context. It’s how buildings, streets and open spaces work together to create a sense of place. Varying density within a neighbourhood provides for a diversity of housing opportunities for residents.