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Strength in Numbers: Building Vibrant, Compact Communities

Chicago’s Gold Coast. Knob Hill in San Francisco. Fifth Avenue in New York. All of these places bring to mind elegant, affluent, residential neighborhoods and desirable places to live, work and play. They also share another characteristic that is not always considered positive: density. Density is a controversial issue for many communities, but a certain concentration of development is essential to obtain and maintain the amenities communities want. This Issue Brief examines how density contributes to communities by providing the critical mass of people necessary to attract public amenities. It also explores how to create “positive” rather than “negative” density through the use of creative urban design solutions.