Top urban news, trends and reports curated for the world’s city leaders. Edited by David Hatch

Strategies for increasing urban density — and livability

Milan’s Bosco Verticale towers demonstrate that high-density living doesn’t have to sacrifice greenery. (Christos Barbalis/Wikimedia/cc)

Urban sprawl is not just an eyesore. The increased pollution, wear and tear on roads and public transit infrastructure comes with costs in terms of money and livability. 

Alexander Starritt writes for Apolitical that cities around the globe are taking some bold and innovative steps to contain mushrooming growth. The article, available on Fast Company, is the second in a 10-part series on How to Build the Perfect City.

Kigali, Rwanda and Toronto, Canada have enacted laws requiring their cities to expand upward, not outward, the article says. Medellin, Colombia is building a barrier around the city to halt sprawl. A 46-mile circular garden will serve as a buffer, and provide some much-needed recreational space.

[Read: Medellín’s ‘Metropolitan Greenbelt’ adds public space while healing old wounds]

Milan’s Bosco Verticale, two high-rise towers adorned with trees, demonstrates that high-density living doesn’t have to sacrifice greenery. Paris has designed a large park and housing development for part of the airspace above the city’s ring road. The City of Light also imposes hefty taxes on unoccupied homes.

The German city of Mannheim is pursuing the most daring idea. It has designed an entire neighborhood accessible only by tree-lined paths. In this urban utopia, there are no roads — and no cars. 


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