Lecture explores planning risks and barriers to suburban densification

14 Mar 2024

On March 6, the Department of Urban Planning and Design at Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University invited Professor Richard J. Dunning from the Department of Geography and Planning of the University of Liverpool to deliver a public lecture on planning risks and barriers to suburban densification. In the lecture, Professor Dunning combined housing and social issues and conducted an in-depth academic exchange with the teachers and students present on the topic.

Professor Dunning is Professor of Land Economy and Housing and Director of the Planning Institute at the University of Liverpool whose research interests include housing demand, housing development, and urban infrastructure needs.

Professor Dunning said that as more and more people move to urban areas, the housing pressure in urban areas is increasing, while at the same time, there is untapped potential in the suburbs. Therefore, the adverse effects of the housing shortage can be mitigated by suburban densification.

He also mentioned that there is a growing body of research on suburban densification, and suggested that a variety of approaches could be used to achieve suburban densification, such as considering the appropriation of part of the garden land, subdividing large houses, converting part of the non-residential land into residential land, and wholesale redevelopment.

However, there are still some planning risks associated with suburban densification.

He said: “Some economists and developers, for example, blame the discretionary planning system for the lack of housing supply. At the same time, planners do not allocate enough development sites, and case-by-case planning is also a risk. In addition, there are no small sites allocated in the development plan and the application cost per unit is high.”

The research results show that there are other problems, such as land supply and assembly risk, market risk, and financial risk. In this regard, Professor Dunning believes that solving the risks requires multi-faceted thinking.

“We also need to compare the planning risk of Britain with Germany, France and other countries, and gradually avoid the planning risk and suburban densification barriers in the comparison,” he said.

By Yizhuo Liang

Edited by Yi Qian

Photos by Shuyang Xu

14 Mar 2024