Health and well-being
In order to avoid building on valuable agricultural fields and natural land, there is an ambition to increase the density in our cities. A more densely populated city can also provide a better basis for public transport and active travel (walking and cycling) thanks to shorter distances.
However, increasing population density in cities is associated with great challenges!
A more densely populated city entails competition for space and increased density often occurs at the expense of green areas. Vegetation contributes to increased physical activity, social interaction and stress reduction. A more densely populated city without green areas can also suffer excessively high temperatures in heatwaves.
As density increases, housing may be located closer to industry, roads and railways – areas with more noise and pollution. A denser city also entails a likely increase in noise and air pollution levels if more people travel by car.
All this can lead to negative health outcomes. To provide a basis for planning a more health-promoting densely populated city, we study these connections and develop proposals for measures.
Densifying a city has positive impact by providing adequate housing, lowering of transportation needs and reducing needs of using arable land for housing. On the other hand, densifying a city have often shown to lead to unwanted health costs by exposing a larger proportion of the population to air pollution and noise, and by reducing urban green areas. In order to create a both dense and healthy city, with low environmental health impact, the scientific community and stakeholders need to work closely together in the planning of high-density areas (housing and infrastructure).
Read more about the project at LUPOP for researchers: