EP8: ‘Higher Density vs Urban Sprawl’
With spiralling house prices, an insatiable demand for new homes in urban and suburban areas and a building boom set to try to meet this demand, where should we build? Is it possible to redesign communities to densify and ensure good family living or are we set to continue the pattern of more sprawl that locks in car dependence and congestion?
To meet the housing demand and needs, Ireland needs to build as many as 200,000 new homes over the next three years to resolve the housing crisis. There have been decades-long arguments between politicians, planners, developers and city dwellers on whether we should build up instead of out to solve these housing shortages. While the debate still rages on, Ireland has by far the lowest apartment rate of any EU countries at just 12%, and still is struggling to make higher density attractive and sustainable. Other European cities have shown how higher densities and attractive communities can be created within existing built-up areas, that are not just accepted but welcomed by existing communities. How can we replicate this in Ireland’s cities and how high is too high? Using Dublin City as the example, Dr Lara Dungan will explore urban densification, the need to build upwards and make better use of under-utilised urban land, while providing attractive, affordable urban housing. It will also cover the importance of proximity, density and diversity in city life by exploring the “15 minute city” model, where everything needed for a good life is available within 15 minutes of where you live by walking or cycling, which reduces the need for cars and urban sprawl. And will explore the obstacles to achieving this urban utopia.