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Urban Design Compendium

Density, Facilities and Form

Higher density developments can deliver more sustainable towns and cities, offering a high quality of life whilst minimising resource consumption. The social, economic, transport and environmental benefits of high density include:

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Clanricarde Gardens, Kensington & Chelsea 1067 Habitable Rooms per Hectare (HRH) (834 gross)
  • Improves viability of and access to community services
  • Enables more and better integrated social housing
  • Reducing costs of land acquisitions and site infrastructure
  • Increasing energy efficiency and the ability to be orientated for passive solar gain
  • Reduces car travel and parking demands

Factors in designing appropriate densities include:

  • Focus higher densities on urban centres to support services such as transport, schools and shops
  • Vary the density profile – across neighbourhoods and large scale developments
  • Ensure buildings, streets and places are of a human scale, are stepped up or down to neighbours and include high quality landscape to soften perceptions of place
  • Ensure high density does not mean smaller units
  • Consider how development may grow over time to enable further intensification

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