Royal College of Art research seeks a measurement that responds to more fluid patterns of living.
Planners frequently measures urban density by the number of dwellings per hectare.
But back in 2004, Ricky Burdett of the London School of Economics' (LSE's) pointed out that this was an increasingly unhelpful way of looking at and planning for cities. It should be modified to take account of “more complex inter-relationships (e.g. accessibility, internal occupancy levels, car use, parking, open space, distribution of facilities ... ” he said.
innovative methods of measuring city life that can help develop sustainable communities
In short, how we measure urban density has a profound and direct impact on the design of new developments. So in new research, Paul Clarke of the Helen Hamlyn Research Centre, Royal College of Art (RCA) set out to design a new way of looking at our metropolis. His research, Metricity, suggests innovative methods of measuring city life that can help develop sustainable communities that take account of “social and demographic change … ageing populations, more people living alone and rapid technological progress.”
Clarke looks at new types of settlement (on the model developed by Jeremy Myerson, RCA and Frank Duffy, DEGW), says why gay men and Starbucks might be more useful metrics than density and examines the life of two typical city dwellers in Tokyo and London. Metricity has been sponsored by Urban Buzz, 3dReid, Arup, Fletcher Priest and the DCLG.