Sunday, July 29, 2012

the 'Jacobs density' effect

29 July 2012: The Wall St Journal has published an interesting article by Richard Florida discussing Urban density. The 'Jacobs' effect is named after the writer Jane Jacobs who argued that density can bring people together and the interaction can lead to richer urban life.
He is saying that it isnt enough just to built tall and increase density mechanically, looking just for numbers.
   Some of the best innovation has come from Silicon Valley, the epitome of low density Californian suburbia. But innovation also comes from London and New York which have moderately dense centres, but which also attract talent and have a vivacious and complex culture. Parts of Shanghai are approaching 125,000 people per square mile, but this does not automatically lead to innovation if people are stacked like eggs in labelled boxes on shelves.
   This underlines the ethos of our MArch in Sustainable Tall Buildings - that the students should strive to understand Culture, Context and Climate. In their design, they must have a Concept for a building that will encourage mixed use, complex urban-human interactions, with plenty of social spaces and a lively ground plane. 

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