Densification Policy Hurts the Poor

Audio, Poverty, Frontier Centre

The majority of the world’s population now live in cities.

People leave poor rural areas hoping for a better life with more economic possibilities in urban areas.

The most successful cities are able to handle population growth and naturally expand their physical size.

Now, city planners are concerned about problems related to urban sprawl.

Some argue that cities should grow ‘upward’ rather than ‘outward’ – a policy known as Densification.

It tries to establish urban boundaries and replace private vehicles with mass transit, as well walking and cycling.

However, Densification has difficulties of its own, such as greater traffic congestion and poor air quality.

Transit can play a crucial role in moving people downtown, but it cannot effectively compete with the automobile in a city that is already spread out.

Densification is also a major factor in higher house prices.

Families with better incomes end up buying cheaper or smaller houses that could have otherwise gone to a low-income family, who may now be pushed out of housing completely.

In short, Densification reduces mobility and increases the cost of living.

I’m Roger Currie. Join us again next week for more thoughts on the Frontier.

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