“The carbon devil,” says Griffith U urban researcher Jago Dodson, “is in the detail on urban density.”

When different building scales are compared on objective environmental criteria the evidence suggests that high-rise apartments are often the worst performers. The building scale with least overall ecological impact – measured in energy, CO₂ and water use per capita – tends to be medium-rise of between three to six storeys, with individual detached dwellings the next best. …

Sydney, Australia’s densest city with 20 persons per hectare, is only three quarters as dense as Los Angeles, which has 27 persons per hectare. Yet public transport commuting in Sydney is five times the Los Angeles rate. Transport policy, Mees argues convincingly, is at least as important as urban form in shaping a city’s transport outcomes.

More here. 

Read more »