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Urban Design for Planners 7: Proximity and Density
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Urban Design for Planners 7: Proximity and Density

Urban Design for Planners 7: Proximity and Density

89 min

This course is approved for 1 AICP CM credit

This course will explore two related concepts: proximity and density. Design can help enhance proximities among people, goods, and services. Density, if designed well, can be a community asset by increasing proximities between people, goods and services. For proximity, the objective is to evaluate distances between where people live and what people need as well as to propose design interventions that increase desirable proximities. For density, the objective is to show how neighborhoods can increase density in ways that preserve character.

In This Course

  1. Emily Talen introduces the goals and content of the course.
  2. What is Proximity?
    For urban design purposes, the best approach to proximity is to select a set of urban facilities or places to which access is important and then evaluate distances throughout the neighborhood to those facilities or places.
  3. This chapter shows how to construct an accessibility map. The exercise begins by identifying the most desirable facilities and then identifying the areas that have low and high access to these places. First, draw a buffer around each place, using a distance of a quarter mile, which is generally the distance people can walk within five minutes.
  4. QGIS: Identifying High-Need Areas
    High-priority areas would most benefit by proximity to desirable facilities. These areas can be identified by overlaying areas of high population density, high social diversity, low income levels, and areas with a lot of children and seniors. This chapter shows one approach to finding high-need areas.
  5. QGIS: Overlaying Need with High Proximity
    This chapter will show how to identify potential sites for targeted public investment by demonstrating how to overlay need with areas of high proximity and then save different graphic formats.
  6. Google Earth and GIMP: Increasing Proximity
    Design interventions to increase proximity require finding the most important sites for development and proposing new infill for those locations. Such infill could include any number of new neighborhood-serving uses.
  7. What is Density?
    Design for increased density is critical for residents to visualize the trade-offs involved. Density does not always detract from a community. Done well it contributes better public spaces, essential services, walkable environments, and, potentially, affordable housing. The analysis of density begins with two basic assumptions: First, density should be higher in certain places and lower in others. Second, the ways that locations can accommodate density vary according to context-specific conditions at the location.
  8. QGIS: Identifying Locations
    Where would an increase in density be most suitable? Three kinds of locations stand out: civic institutions, commercial areas, and public transit.
  9. QGIS: Determining Density
    To determine the kind of density appropriate for a given location, overlay the available spaces from Chapter 8 with each transect zone identified in the second "Urban Design for Planners" course.
  10. SketchUp: Creating a T-Zone Layer Model
    The next step is to propose specific locations where each building type could reasonably be added. This chapter shows the steps for creating a SketchUp model composed of different layers of T-zone buildings and blocks.
  11. SketchUp: Increasing Density with Affordable Housing
    This chapter presents a final idea for increasing density, this time with a focus on affordable housing.

Published 2014