Urban sprawl research

A city’s development is often defined by its ability to either build up or build out. As Calgary is often criticized for the latter, department of sociology graduate student Anne Huizinga is researching life in high-density environments. While studies on high-density living have been conducted in the past, Huizinga said certain aspects of the issue are largely unexplored. She warned against assigning negative or positive connotations to any one kind of development until more research is done with human subjects.

“All that we know about high density [housing] is studied in public housing or low-income housing so we don’t know what high density does across a wide demographic range,” Huizinga explained. “The positives out there are all to do with variables other than the human experience — economic, scientific, with regards to the environment, things like that. The negative attributes are usually attributed to humans but that is also linked to poverty.”

Huizinga’s research in this field may hold insight for public policy makers and developers dealing with Calgary’s rapid growth.

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