Density is fun?
Most people who live in dense cities do not agree. The high cost of living and the lack of infrastructure such as available doctors, food, schools and other services due to high density is not a bonus for people living in overcrowded, unaffordable cities.
The real answer? Having less children. Adopting, fostering, and teaching as an alternative to having children is helpful to all life on this planet. Limiting our population growth is the true answer to allow for affordable housing, affordable food, electricity, wildlife habitat, and helping maintain an healthy environment for all.
Great idea: To save Earth’s current biodiversity and the quality of life for all humans, we need to set aside at least half the planet’s lands and oceans for conservation. This is the argument made by naturalist and author E.O. Wilson in his 2016 book Half-Earth, and while this is a lofty idea, it is a good one.
Developers and their advocates tout that "density is fun" and "our cities aren't full" but nothing could be further from the truth. As human population continues to skyrocket across the globe, wildlife habitats, water supplies, clean air, and our human food resources continue to decline. Just because we build skyrises in our cities, this does not equate to continuing the current quality of life for humans or the wildlife that we share on this planet. The earth is not ever-expanding. Endless skyrises and human housing infill does not mean that there will be enough food or resources to support us all. We are already stretching the earth's limits, and we continue to do so with every child born.
Think about it: each human child in the first world countries consumes an immense amount of resources. How many showers, toilet flushes, toilet paper rolls, diapers, car rides, plane rides, meals, electricity, products, etc does each human consume? Just because we build higher buildings and more dense housing, it doesn't mean that all of this consumption declines – in fact, it is quite the opposite.
Many of the "Yimby" types are always arguing that our cities are not full, that we can build endlessly to accommodate more people. But our current population growth is unsustainable, even if we did just build higher in the cities already here, food, water, electricity and other resources are not infinite. Increasing human density does not equal good quality of human life for any life on this planet.
It is time to start seriously considering that slowing down our population growth is the only way to keep housing, food and other resources affordable for humans – and, it's the only way to protect the earth's wildlife, air, water and natural areas healthy for future generations to come. The earth is not growing and housing doesn't grow on trees – we need to understand this simple concept and keep our population from growing past the already 8 billion humans already here to protect both wildlife and humankind.
Want to learn more? Check out this interesting 60 Minutes episode: