Can Denser Be Better?
The Walrus|January/February 2021
The idea that dense urban communities are bad for well-being is a myth. As it turns out, having more neighbours may actually help you live better

Watching covid-19 devastate New York City, the most densely populated metropolitan center in North America, making it easy to imagine that urban density is a problem. The soaring infection and mortality rates of early 2020 gave Canada’s urban residents reason to consider a switch to the country life — or at least more space in the suburbs.

But with covid-19 cases popping up everywhere, from metropolises to small towns, experts are reassuring city dwellers that they can safely stay put rather than create more sprawl. In fact, public health researchers from Johns Hopkins University have found that people living in denser communities are not experiencing higher infection rates than their spread out counterparts. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is also increasingly recognizing that intensification, or creating denser communities, can play a positive role in addressing not only housing affordability but other challenges — such as access to services, health status, and climate change — that factor into where people choose to live. Here’s how.

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