Our research group has one ongoing and one completed research project on densification. The completed project (ResiDENSE) had its focus in housing policy. It was analyzed how urban densification impacts social aspects of housing e.g. gentrification. More information can be found here under the tab ResiDENSE. More information about the ongoing project called GoverDENSE can be found below.


«Governing densification – The impact of performance-based planning on qualitative urban densification (GoverDENSE)»

Duration January 2020 - December 2024

Funding Swiss National Science Foundation
Description The densification of the built environment – known in Switzerland as “inward urban development” – is an important step towards more sustainable land uses. However, like all socio-political processes, densification produces winners but also losers: it can potentially lead to more traffic, more noise, loss of green surfaces, loss of view, greater clienteles for common services, and above all higher housing costs.


Densification means dealing with the already built environment. Planning therefore takes place in a tight network of existing rights and duties. Against this complex institutional background, the project examines the governance of the densification processes and the conditions under which densification can take place, while retaining urban quality for all, including more vulnerable socio-economic groups.


The project compares the two functional regions of Bern in Switzerland and Utrecht in the Netherlands. We will reconstruct eight “stories of densification” (four per country). In each national environment, a detailed analysis of the institutions, policy instruments, performance incentives, actors’ strategies and resource conditions (sustainability) will be performed. At the same time, a GIS-based analysis will reconstruct densification processes across the entire functional regions, including socio-political and economic indicators.


This project will help to conceptualize densification as a governance challenge. A major challenge is to increase density without intensifying social inequalities. New findings are intended to provide effective ways to increase densification while ensuring high urban quality for all.


Description on the website of the SNF: 

Website of the project:

Involved persons