The greatest concentration of the highest densities is in New York, which has 88 percent of the national population living at more than 25,000 per square mile (approximately 10,000 per square kilometer). Los Angeles ranked second at 3.5 percent and San Francisco ranks third at 3.2 percent (Figure 4).
This explains why everyplace in the US other than New York City feels a bit like a rural outpost.
No one, however, rationally believes that densities approximating anything 25,000 per square mile or above will occur, no matter how radical urban plans become.
The writer, Wendell Cox, must mean in the US, as far higher densities are being built elsewhere.
But why shouldn’t there be at least one other real city in the US? Before discarding as an irrational thought, consider how it could happen:
- Massive densification of an existing near-city. This does seem rather unlikely. As I’ve noted before, the population of San Francisco and Oakland would have to quadruple to be as dense as Manhattan and Brooklyn. Even with likely continued semi-dense infill development, and plausible recovery of lots of space for people via freeway demolition and robot cars, they would continue to be semi-urban.
- Massively dense near-greenfield (probably in an existing metro area) development. I gather this is happening all over China, but to happen in the US costs would have to go way down or demand unexpectedly go way up. The first could well occur through robot and other construction technology improvements, the second is not likely but ought to occur through the destruction of international apartheid.
- Mix of the first two: increased demand and decreased construction costs and space dedicated to cars allow at least one US city that isn’t NYC to do a huge amount of really dense infill development.
If there were to be a dense new city within an existing US metro area, where is most likely?
Which US city is the best candidate for achieving the third, mixed scenario?
(I very selectively quoted from the Cox post, which mostly focuses on 10,000 per square mile density. There are lots of comments on the post at Urbanophile, including those stating the obvious that 10k is not very dense at all.)