Posted on: July 15, 2022
For nearly a century, urban planners warned that densification in cities was something to be avoided at all costs. Ebenezer Howard and Le Corbusier popularized the ideal of low-density planning, and their ideas paved the way for the suburbs and highways that are now ubiquitous in most modern cities. Along the way, blocks of “blighted” areas of dense mid-rise housing and commerce were razed to accommodate this new suburban, low-density lifestyle.
Paradoxically, these ideas have been the source of the issues plaguing many of our cities today. Municipalities are grappling with unaffordable housing, urban sprawl, car pollution and traffic congestion and are struggling to revive once vibrant downtown neighborhoods years after they’ve been gutted to make way for cars and parking lots. The low-density approach might have worked fine for a couple decades, but its shortcomings are becoming ever harder to overlook.
Fortunately, some architecture firms have realized that densification can actually be a good thing, and they’re leading the way with projects that seek to counter lower density and ‘re-fill’ the urban landscape.
Take for instance the A+Award winning 1235 Vine Street project by Hawkins\Brown. Located on an underused city block in downtown Hollywood, this project will bring more jobs, commerce and life to the neighborhood when it is completed in 2024. The eye-catching combination of glass, white and pink-pigmented concrete and perforated metal, and the mix-and-match patterns of arches and square grids should provide a much-needed boost of vitality to the sleepy street. Hopefully, this will encourage similar infill developments in the nearby vacant lots in the years to come.
As such, urban infill projects are never individual entities that live in a vacuum, independent of their surroundings. Instead, they usually have a trickle-down effect on the rest of the neighborhood. Increasing density means increasing the number of people, jobs and opportunities in the area, thereby making that neighborhood more attractive and encouraging greater investment in the community.
Are you interested in making cities more dynamic through urban infill? Consider applying at firms that specialize in urban densification:
Van Meter Williams Pollack are nationally renowned for their urban infill projects. The firm focuses alongside local communities to create transit-oriented, mixed-use, multi-family and affordable housing projects using sustainable practices. The multi-city firm is currently hiring for a Job Captain, a Project Architect and a Junior Urban Designer for their offices in San Francisco and another Job Captain for their Denver office.
KSS Architects are also hiring for Project Architects for their Philadelphia, New York or Princeton offices. The firm values projects that are adapted to the conditions of the site while also helping strengthen the surrounding community.
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