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Cityscape: Volume 15 Number 3 | Article 13


The goal of Cityscape is to bring high-quality original research on housing and community development issues to scholars, government officials, and practitioners. Cityscape is open to all relevant disciplines, including architecture, consumer research, demography, economics, engineering, ethnography, finance, geography, law, planning, political science, public policy, regional science, sociology, statistics, and urban studies.

Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Rental Assistance and Crime

Volume 15, Number 3

Mark D. Shroder

Michelle P. Matuga

Population Density: Some Facts and Some Predictions

Stephen Malpezzi
Wisconsin School of Business

This article addresses the following point of contention: “In 40 years, the average person will live closer to her neighbors and farther from the ground than she does today.”

When thinking about the typical American regarding density and building height, I predict—no way, and probably not. When thinking about people globally, I predict—no, and no.

How strong are my prior beliefs? Of the four predictions, on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is winning a lottery jackpot and 10 is the sun rising tomorrow, my subjective confidence on each of them, in turn, is United States: 9, 6; global: 7, 8.

In this article I explain why I am more confident about my density predictions than my predictions about building height in the United States, although the reverse is true for my global predictions.

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