Experiencing Density

Life in London’s New High-Density Housing

Experiencing Density is a joint project between LSE Cities and LSE London exploring how residents experience life in different forms of high-density housing in London.

‘Experiencing Density’ is a project jointly led by LSE Cities and LSE London that explores resident experiences of life in London’s new high-density housing. Following on from a 2004 report by LSE Cities on high-density housing as an emergent trend, this interdisciplinary study will explore who lives in high-density developments, how different residents experience life in high-density accommodation, and what spatial, design and demographic factors make them work well (or not).

In many other global cities such as Hong Kong, New York City and Singapore, high-density living is the norm. However, this mode of residential building at this scale is a relatively new phenomenon in London, which has historically been characterised as a low-rise city of terraced houses and private gardens. If the capital is to accommodate a rapidly growing population without impinging on the Green Belt, as Mayor Sadiq Khan has promised, then new developments across the capital will inevitably increasingly take high-density forms. This research therefore aims to inform policy-makers and developers how such schemes can work best for their residents, and for London as a whole.

The project is qualitative in nature, and will focus on ten case studies across London that demonstrate high-density housing across a range of built forms, levels of density, and tenure types. A mixed-method approach will be utilised, incorporating surveys, in-depth interviews, and novel creative techniques such as resident diaries and tracking apps in order to develop a multifaceted understanding of contemporary life in high-density homes.

Images: East Village, Stratford; St George’s Wharf, VauxhallLondon Docklands.

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