When it comes to developing healthy, vibrant social communities in high density projects, two groups do it better — social housing tenant and owner-occupiers. Their longer occupancy allows them to commit more successfully over time to a local community.
By contrast, private renters often have little or no community connection, and indeed express no interest in having one. A recent architectural design study of high density living found that many private renters identified their communities as existing elsewhere, even in other countries!
High density, it seems, it not in itself a factor in determining successful social environments, but the length of occupancy most certainly is.
The study of some fourteen differing high density “schemes” in London, UK, identified several other factors that made made some high rises both individually and socially more successful than others.
Length of stay — strongly linked to the financial structure of occupancy — certainly played an important role. Also important were a number of issues related to building structure and living space design, as well as amenities that made high density living more enjoyable.
For a useful summary of the findings, read more at Building Design: Key Lessons To Be Learned About High-Density Living
And for a detailed exploration of the issues, read the entire report in LSE London and LSE Cities: Residents’ experience of high-density housing in London