Urbanisation - density

Housing density can be a good thing. No one wants to see towns like Lewes spread out like Los Angeles, covering the Downs in swimming pools and shopping malls. Then again, too much density can start to feel like overcrowding. Lewes resident John Stockdale wrote to the Sussex Express recently, concerned about the proposed Phoenix Development. His letter can be read on the Lewes Matters website. Stockdale points out that, while the South East Regional Design Panel recommend only 30-50 housing units per hectare, the Angel proposal for the Phoenix Quarter will build in excess of 200 units per hectare.

We’re not sure if his figures are correct. But if they are, how dense are we talking about? Well if each proposed new housing unit contains only one person, that will give the residential area of the new Phoenix Quarter a greater population density than any borough of inner London. If we assume instead that each unit were to contain the UK average of 2.41 people, it would have a population density of 482 per hectare. Of course we’re only talking about a small area here, but if that density were to be increased over a larger urban area it would be roughly that of the Kowloon City district of Hong Kong, and higher than Calcutta, Manila or Manhattan. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to this. Angel Property have not given out exact numbers of how many units they plan to build. But these comparisons underline the importance of bringing their proposal through every step of the normal planning consent process. DB

Getting mighty crowded: urban density can be a serious problem.
Pic by Simon Dale (visit his photoblog)
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Lewes Matters
(w) Website