The world’s urban population exceeded its rural population for the first time in history in 2009 and now 54 percent of the world’s population, some 3.9 billion people, lives in urbanised areas.
Therefore, some of the most critical issues facing society today—from food and water supply, to energy, to access to affordable housing—all come down to one key challenge: coping with an increasingly crowded planet and an even stronger move towards cities. Solving this challenge requires effective management of rapid urbanisation to create liveable, prosperous cities. Density is an important tool in this respect, but comes in different forms than we have seen in the past. This presents two key questions: what is successful density? And how do we make it work?
Density plays a key role in shaping cities that are productive, sustainable and healthy. The need to create successful, dense urban environments has never been greater: by 2030, the number of people living in cities around the world will increase by one billion.
The real estate industry is a key participant in addressing the complex forces connected to rapid urbanisation. Our success depends on how we contend with these forces, including globalisation, rapidly developing technology, cultural changes and climate change.
To further explore these issues, ULI Europe is embarking on an initiative to explore density to learn from the past and extract best practices from existing examples. We aim to increase knowledge of density in the real estate industry and beyond, address the potential social, economic, and environmental benefits of investing in density, and devise strategies to make density a priority for the public sector. The initiative will involve a multi-faceted programme, including forums, reports, case studies and events that underscore the importance of effective density measures in creating thriving cities worldwide.
Making Density Work
“The efficient, effective and responsible use of land is a goal that would be a win-win for all cities, their businesses and their citizens: the key question though is how cities can achieve this while quickly absorbing the significant increases in population that are flowing from the world’s continuing rapid urbanisation. Densification may be an obvious answer, but how to deliver successful densification is not so obvious and is one of the most important topics of this urban decade. Good density will mark out the next generation of winning cities.”
– Rosemary Feenan, Director of Global Research, JLL and Chair, ULI Europe Policy Practice Committee