Houses, not Housing.

The human population has increased by 5 billion people in less than 100 years.

Assuming the stuff on the right is built somewhere in the west with western zoning laws, the stuff on the left has equal density to the stuff on the right because the stuff on the right has mandatory green space that is wholly unfit for human use.

Can confirm. Source: living in the west with western zoning laws.


Two different high density zones[1], built in the classical (Venice) and in the modern (Vollsmose) mode. Notice the zoom level is equivalent. The area on the left has plazas and enclosed parks, the development on the right has nebulously defined “green space,” but more of it.

I would wager indecent sums of money that the people living in Venice get more enjoyment from their beautiful streets and small, intimate, enclosed parks than the people in Vollsmose get from the huge grass field around them. Well done on attempting to make an enclosed courtyard w/ tall buildings on three sides but if you’ve tried being there, it still comes off as a hostile mess.

If you live in Venice, you can conceive of coming out of your apartment or house to enjoy the common areas. If you live in Vollsmose, you flee the common areas – they are exclusively used for transit from your apartment to somewhere else, somewhere better.

I’m using Vollsmose as my example for two reasons.

First, Vollsmose is the highest-density area in the city it is in.

Second, Vollsmose has been part of a study called “Drawing Vollsmose with your Feet,”[2] a project where they gave local youth (aged 16-20) GPS tracking units to find out where they spend their time.

Some choice quotes from the participants, after it was found that they don’t use the green areas:

It feels like a detour if you go through the green areas from Beech Park to Larch Park – even if it isn’t. It doesn’t feel natural to walk around behind. If you walk along Vollsmose Alley, there’s always somebody to talk with.

A second participant:

The scooters make it so you don’t sit or lie down in the green areas

The participant is here referring to motor scooters that travel not through the green area (the grass is very unsuited for those wheels) but past the green area on the roads – being in the green area feels like being in traffic, not like being in a park.

Interestingly, a different area that is equally open – the setback next to a nearby car park – sees more use (and is less green):

I am happy to live in Beech Park, you’re close to the stores.

Beech Park is where we meet, it’s a popular place where we can find each other always.

The Beech Park store front setback is a destination, it has a purpose so people go there, which means there are people to meet there so people go there etc. Unlike the green areas, there are a few benches. Additionally, and also unlike the green area, there is no visible fast-moving traffic. Sure it’s right next to a parking lot but people go slow in a parking lot to avoid hitting the cars.

[1] Venice has a density of 12000 per square kilometer, Vollsmose has a population density of 10000 per square kilometer – fairly close to equal.


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