There is a consensus among planners and politicians that dense cities are better for the environment than sprawling urban landscapes. The aim of the project is to analyse how urban density affects people’s actions and choices of residential location.
The study employs theories and concepts from planning research and environmental psychology. Urban density is a key concept. Range and variety of urban functions are then important additions to measurement of physical densities. Another key concept is ‘affordance‘. ’Affordance’ is a quality or asset within a specific environment, which can be perceived and used by an individual for carrying out a certain activity.
The main method is a survey covering a stratified randomised sample of 4500 individuals in stratified within the Stockholm area. The stratified study areas were selected on criteria of physical density, mix of functions and accessibility within the region. The survey covers important ‘affordances’ inherent in the physical environment of the household, such as place of work, shops, schools and social networks. The data are analysed with statistical methods.
The paper concentrates on perceived affordances regarding workplaces. Preliminary results show that respondents’ perceived number of alternative workplaces within 1 kilometre from home has a positive correlation to both physical density and mix of urban functions. Any further away from home than 1 km, increasing perceived affordances had a stronger correlation to accessibility.
Preliminary conclusions are that physical density as such seems to increase the amount of perceived affordances only within a very close environment of the home. The range of affordances widens considerably with increasing accessibility. Probably accessibility outweighs physical density as a factor for influencing people’s choices of residential location.