The Human-Scaled Future of Dense Development

Ivan Harbour
Senior Partner
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, London

Critics of height argue that it de-humanizes our cities. Yet a critical mass is a necessity for vibrant city life. If we can overcome the technicalities of building tall and dense, our cities’ streets can thrive and prosper. To make this happen, we must move towards working together to share resources, so we can blur the boundaries between building plots to ensure the continuity of the public realm.

We already have the tools to do this; the challenge lies in the coordination of the public and private institutions that govern urban space. District heating and cooling systems, transitional spaces between buildings, seamless connectivity between modes of transport, creative combinations of shelter and seating – at the ground plan and at height – the placement of buildings so that they shade but do not overshadow streets, and so on… All of these attributes can be found in many places, though rarely all at once. Large-scale urban redevelopment schemes provide a rare opportunity to intersect these factors optimally. The presentation looked at the example of Barangaroo South, Sydney, as a potential template for future city-planning.

Accompanying PowerPoint Presentation

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