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Health and High-rise – Is density bad for you?

  • New Law Lecture Theatre 101 Eastern Ave Camperdown, NSW, 2050 Australia (map)

Three expert panellists addressed health issues related to increased density. Associate Professor Stephen Corbett, Director of the Centre for Population Health in the Western Sydney Local Health District, Dr Jennifer Kent, Urban Planner, Macquarie University and Dr Peter Sainsbury Director, Population South Western Sydney Local Health District. 

The message from the health professionals and an academic studying links between health and urban environments, was pretty consistent: Density done well can improve levels of activity, social interaction and access to healthy food. These are all good for our health.

But the speakers agreed that it is possible to have too much of a generally good thing. Density done badly can have perverse health outcomes. Examples raised were new residential development located along heavily trafficked roads; density increases without the necessary infrastructure; and poorly designed apartments that fail to meet residents’ needs for air, light and space.

How much is enough? How much is too much? Where are the limits of the benefits of increased density?

Read the SMH write up

The full report from the event is here

The panelists referred to the Heart Foundation Giles-Corti et al. report Increasing density in Australia and the NSW Government, Sydney Local District Health Healthy Urban Development Checklist