Your current web browser is outdated. For best viewing experience, please consider upgrading to the latest version.
ERROR
Main Error Mesage Here
More detailed message would go here to provide context for the user and how to proceed
ERROR
Main Error Mesage Here
More detailed message would go here to provide context for the user and how to proceed
search DONATE
Close Nav

Few American Cities Are Truly Dense. We Can Do Better.

back to top
commentary

Few American Cities Are Truly Dense. We Can Do Better.

Governing March 3, 2022
Urban PolicyOtherHousing

Only a dozen of our big cities have as many people per square mile as the average U.S. city had seven decades ago. The ones that have done best have employed effective strategies.

American city planners generally agree on the desirability of dense cities. Dense cities, with many people living in compact areas, are important as focal points of economic and cultural innovation, and also as places where residents voluntarily adopt housing prototypes and lifestyle patterns that have lower-than-average greenhouse gas emissions.

Thus, it’s sobering to look at the 2020 Census results and ask how many dense cities the U.S. actually has. As I discuss in a new report for the Manhattan Institute, the answer is not many. Only 12 of the nation’s 50 largest central cities had as many as 7,500 residents per square mile in 2020 — the average population density for U.S. central cities in 1950. Many other cities have a neighborhood or two that’s dense and walkable, where residents can stroll to shopping and services. But the number of cities where a sufficient number of such neighborhoods exist to pull the overage population density up to 7,500 per square mile are few.

Continue reading the entire piece here at Governing

______________________

Eric Kober is an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute. He retired in 2017 as director of housing, economic and infrastructure planning at the New York City Department of City Planning. Follow him on Twitter here.

Photo by marchello74/iStock

Saved!
Close