“Experts” are saying that our population is growing and the demand for housing is outpacing the supply, and because of all of these factors and more, we must prepare for the future (and the present) by building more and more high density housing. This argument is made before the city council week after week as developers seek to maximize profits and play to the narrative they’re being told (and sold… and selling), and apply for apartments, single family homes with practically zero lawns, and more less-than-desirable housing products.
Now, lest I be misunderstood, I do believe the narrative. At least, some of it. Yes, population is booming. Yes, there is a “housing shortage.” (Probably. It explains the recent market-driven spike in home prices). Yes, there is a demand for “urban” development and dense housing.
BUT… (there’s always a big but).
Nowhere in any of these studies is it recommended that all of this density needs to happen on the fringes of the suburbs. As inner cities decline and big box retail goes away, why not work for denser downtowns, and let the ‘burbs be the ‘burbs? I’m not advocating for “urban sprawl” per se, but there’s a reason people moved from the cities to the suburbs. There’s a quality of life issue. Let’s not force dense development on the last bits of developable land. Let’s use density as a tool for redevlopment to reinvigorate our inner cities where decline and decay are happening before our eyes.