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The Difficulties of Density

Despite its merits, in the U.S., density peaked in the 1950s and has declined since then.
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Sean Davis/flickr

The biggest issue shaping the future of our cities, and our nation, is the question of how we grow. Do we continue to try to sprawl our way to the American Dream, or do we add the density that powers innovation and economic growth?

A new study by the urban economist Issi Romem of BuildZoom sheds light on both America’s historical pattern of growth and development as well as how these patterns shape the trade-offs and choices we have about our future. Using detailed data from the American Community Survey, Romem tracks the connection between housing development, sprawl and density since the 1940s.