UCL Global


Developing and intelligent urban density in the time of COVID

A short course on developing and intelligent urban density in the time of COVID. Part of the Cities partnership Programme.

15 September 2022

Urban densification has long been seen as an approach to counteracting urban sprawl and delivering sustainability, via more compact cities and efficient use of resources such as land, urban transportation, materials, energy etc. However, an emerging body of literature points to the shortcomings of urban densification including stress on urban infrastructure, damaging of ecosystems and biodiversity, and encroaching on cultural and heritage spaces.

An important strand within this literature sees urban densification as a ‘veil declaration’ for property-led development which is often connected to negative social impacts; for example, spatial displacement, gentrification and urban inequality.  Additionally, positive trickle-down effects from regenerative property-led development to more deprived communities are not always apparent in reality.  However, it has also been argued that urban design, combined with real estate development and planning strategies can effectively create more attractive places and place-making processes, recognising that although real estate actors may enforce constraints, they can also facilitate the creation of successful places.

This project will investigate residential densification through discourse analyses of recent strategies adopted in both London and Rome to address the housing crises. 


Urban Planning

UCL leads