Is There a "Goldilocks Density"- Not Too High, Not Too Low, But Just Right?

Paris

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paris

credit: Lloyd Alter

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Density is all the rage these days, as academics and authors consign Jane Jacobs to the dustbin of history, noting that Hong Kong has the lowest energy use per capita of any major city, and is also the densest; so therefore, logically, the higher the density, the greener the city. The Economist Ryan Avent, in the Gated City, claims that controls on density are killing jobs and stalling economic growth in cities, the economic engines of the country.

But are they right? We accept that low density, ie sprawl, is bad, but is high density automatically good? Or is there an in between, a "Goldilocks" density that is just right?