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Densification of existing urban areas

Densification of existing urban areas (concept illustration)

This approach would focus new homes and jobs within Cambridge, because it is the main urban area and centre for services and facilities. This would be done by encouraging intensive use of brownfield land, building taller buildings, building on existing residential back gardens or in-between existing buildings, or redeveloping underused sites at higher densities. It could also look to increase the density in planned new settlements.


  • Reduces the need to use greenfield land to accommodate growth.

  • Living in central, well-connected and vibrant areas is important for many people.

  • Reduces the need to travel by car and so makes a positive contribution to addressing climate change.

  • Sites growth near to existing centres, which can continue to support their vitality and viability.


  • Needs to respond to the character of Cambridge, and protect its historic environment and green spaces, and therefore not suitable in all areas.

  • Land assembly can be challenging with multiple landowners often involved.

Read more about the other choices for where we may plan for new development:

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