Objective Measure or Critical Tool of the Neoliberal Agenda?
The publication of the planning agenda Towards an Urban Renaissance in 1999 marked a turning point in the approach towards urban development in the UK and specifically towards urban density. Density was attributed with a range of physical, environmental and social implications, or at least potentialities. Most significant of these was the association of high urban densities with more sustainable, socially diverse, compact urban models – a positive affiliation that lead to the introduction of minimum density ratios for new urban developments and the gradual introduction of density ratios as a component of development briefs for new urban housing.
Elaborating a potted history of architects’ use and manipulation of density ratios, I argue that density has been a critical and effective instrument of the neoliberal agenda. In its capacity to operate as both crude economic measure, and at the same time, qualitative descriptor of the urban experience, density has been a key device in rebranding urban living. In this article, I expound the role that architects have had in negotiating this duality, reviving an image of density that has been essential to its operation as a device for facilitating capital growth.
Abercrombie, Patrick, and John Henry Forshaw. County of London Plan. London: MacMillan & Co., 1943.
Allmendinger, Phil. New Labour and Planning: From New Right to New Left. London: Routledge, 2011.
Awan, Nishat, Tatjana Schneider, and Jeremy Till. Spatial Agency: Other Ways Of Doing Architecture. London: Routledge, 2011.
Barker, Kate. ‘Review of Housing Supply: Delivering Stability: Securing Our Future Housing Needs’. Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 2004. www.barkerreview.org.uk.
Berghauser Pont, Meta, and Per Haupt. ‘City or Sprawl? The Need for a Science of Density’. ’Scape, no. 1 (April 2007): 60–63.
———. Spacematrix: Space, Density and Urban Form. Rotterdam: NAI Publishers, 2010.
Bowie, Duncan. Politics, Planning and Homes in a World City. Housing, Planning and Design. Oxon: Routledge, 2010.
Boyko, Christopher, and Rachel Cooper. ‘Clarifying and Re-Conceptualising Density’. Progress in Planning 76 (2011): 1–61.
Brown, Neave. ‘The Form of Housing’. Architectural Design, September 1967, 432–33.
Churchman, Arza. ‘Disentangling the Concept of Density’. Journal of Planning Literature 13, no. 4 (1999): 389–411.
Clifford, Ben, and Mark Tewdwr-Jones. The Collaborating Planner?: Practitioners in the Neoliberal Age. Bristol: Policy Press, 2013.
Collins, Michael, and Patrick Clarke. ‘Planning Research Programme: The Use of Density in Urban Planning’. Department of the Environment, Transport and the Region, 1998.
Corbusier, Le. The City of To-Morrow. Translated from the 8. London: John Rodker, 1929.
Dempsey, Nicola, and Mike Jenks. ‘The Language and Meaning of Density’. In Future Forms and Design for Sustainable Cities, 287–309. Amsterdam: Architectural Press, 2005.
Evans, Robin. ‘Rookeries and Model Dwellings: English Housing Reform and the Moralities of Private Space’. In Translations from Drawing to Building and Other Essays, 93–117. London: Janet Evans and Architectural Association Publications, 1978.
Fincher, Ruth, and Kurt Iveson. Planning and Diversity in the City. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, 2008.
Gaskell, S. Martin. Model Housing: From the Great Exhibition to the Festival of Britain. Studies in History, Planning and the Environment 10. Mansell Publishing, 1986.
Glendinning, Miles, and Stefan Muthesius. Tower Block: Modern Public Housing in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, 1994.
Greater London Authority. ‘The London Plan: Spatial Development Strategy for Greater London’. Mayor of London, July 2011.
Gropius, Walter. The New Architecture and the Bauhaus. Translated by P. Morton Shand. London: Faber and Faber Limited, 1935.
Hall, Peter, and Colin Ward. Sociable Cities: The Legacy of Ebenezer Howard. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, 1999.
Hall, Professor Sir Peter. ‘Foreword: Nothing Gained by Overcrowding! - A Centenary Celebration and Re-Exploration of Raymond Unwin’s Pamphlet – “How the Garden City Type of Development May Benefit Both Owner and Occupier”’. TCPA, April 2012. http://www.tcpa.org.uk/data/files/Nothing_Gained_By_Overcrowding.pdf.
Harvey, David. ‘The Right to the City’. New Left Review 53 (October 2008).
Hilberseimer, L. Nature of Cities. Academy Editions, 1955.
Jacobs, Jane. Death and Life of Great American Cities. New edition. Random House Inc, 1997.
Llewelyn-Davies (Firm). Sustainable Residential Quality: Exploring the Housing Potential of Large Sites. London: London Planning Advisory Committee, 2000.
Maccreanor Lavington Architects, Emily Greeves Architects, and Graham Harrington Planning Advice. ‘Housing Density Study’. Greater London Authority, 30 August 2012. http://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/HousingDensityStudy_finaldocument_120830.pdf.
March, Lionel, and Leslie Martin. ‘Speculations’. In Urban Space and Structures, 28–54. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972.
Mayer, Margit, Catharina Thörn, and Håkan Thörn, eds. Urban Uprisings: Challenging Neoliberal Urbanism in Europe. 1st ed. 2016 edition. Place of publication not identified: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.
McFarlane, Colin. ‘The Geographies of Urban Density: Topology, Politics and the City’. Progress in Human Geography 40, no. 5 (1 October 2016): 629–48. https://doi.org/10.1177/0309132515608694.
Mozas, Javier. Density: New Collective Housing. a+t ediciones, 2006.
Mozas, Javier, and Aurora Fernandez Per. Dbook: Density, Data, Diagrams, Dwellings. a+t ediciones, 2007.
Office for National Statistics. ‘Key Figures for 2001 Census: Census Area Statistics’. Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics, 2001. http://neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/LeadKeyFigures.do?a=7&b=6174084&c=E3+3BF&d=14&e=16&g=346613&i=1001x1003x1004&m=0&r=0&s=1306493263993&enc=1.
Parvin, Alastair, David Saxby, Cristina Cerulli, and Tatjana Schneider. A Right to Build: The next Mass -Housebuilding Industry. Architecture 00:/ and University of Sheffield School of Architecture, 2011. http://issuu.com/alastairparvin/docs/2011_07_06_arighttobuild.
Swan Housing Group. ‘Bow Cross: Awards Entry for Best Regeneration Project’. National Housing Awards, 2014. http://www.swan.org.uk/media/174026/bow_cross_-_best_regeneration_project_2014.pdf.
Swenarton, Mark. Cook’s Camden: The Making of Modern Housing 2018. London: Lund Humphries Publishers Ltd, 2017.
Taylor, Nicholas. Village in the City. Published in Association with New Society. London: Maurice Temple Smith Ltd, 1973.
The Collective Partners LLP. ‘The Collective / Co-Living’. The Collective, 2015. https://www.thecollective.co.uk/coliving.
Unwin, Raymond. Nothing Gained by Overcrowding!: How the Garden City Type of Development May Benefit Both Owner and Occupier. [3d ed.]. Garden Cities and Town Planning Association, 1918.
Urban Task Force. Towards an Urban Renaissance. London: Department of the Environment, Transport and the Region, 1999.
Watson, Sophie. City Publics: The (Dis)Enchantments of Urban Encounters. Oxon: Routledge, 2006.
Wohl, Anthony S. The Eternal Slum: Housing and Social Policy in Victorian London. 2002nd ed. London: Edward Arnold Publishers, 1977.
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.