Working paper

Supporting smart urban development: successful investing in density

1 Jun 2018
Description

Unprecedented levels of urbanisation coupled with revolutions in transport, energy, and data technology offer new opportunities to reshape cities. Cities of the future need to be planned strategically to support environmental and social well-being as well as economic productivity. To do so, cities must encourage compact and connected urban growth. However, encouraging large concentrations of people to live and work closely together brings its own challenges. Building upon previous research by ULI, this report analyses the characteristics of ‘good density’ and begins to quantify the relationship between these characteristics, investor returns, and carbon emissions.

The research team found that cities with good density – that is, dense development thoughtfully designed to promote a high quality of life – are likely to be more resilient and prosperous in the long term, and therefore more likely to provide sustainable returns for investors, than cities without good density. Based on a quantitative analysis of 63 global cities, the report finds that cities with good density are associated with higher returns, capital values, and levels of investment flows for commercial real estate. The research is global in scope and provides evidence of important issues for the long-term resilience of cities both in the OECD and in fast-growing developing regions.

The study was conducted in two phases and undertaken by a multi-disciplinary research team led by Professor Kathy Pain at Henley Business School of the University of Reading. Through a systematic review of existing literature, the team identified six characteristics of urban form as commonly being related to good density and looked at the relationship between these characteristics, investor returns, and carbon emissions.

Research authors and contributors:

Professor Kathy Pain, Department of Real Estate & Planning, University of Reading Daniel Black, Daniel Black & Associates
Dr Jon Blower, Institute for Environmental Analytics, University of Reading Professor Sue Grimmond, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading

Dr Alistair Hunt, Department of Economics, University of Bath
Dr Stanimira Milcheva, Department of Real Estate & Planning, University of Reading Dr Ben Crawford, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading
Nick Dale, Department of Economics, University of Bath
Dr Sam Doolin, Institute for Environmental Analytics, University of Reading
Dr Senjuti Manna, Department of Real Estate & Planning, University of Reading
Dr Shuai Shi, Department of Real Estate & Planning, University of Reading
Dr Ruth Pugh, Department of Real Estate & Planning, University of Reading

Editor and project director:

Dr Margarethe Theseira, Independent research consultant

Publication Details
Language: 
English
License Type: 
All Rights Reserved
Published year only: 
2018
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