The word ‘granular’ is used to describe something that is made up of smaller elements, and ‘granularity’ is how small or large those elements are. If the elements are small, we call it ‘fine-grained’, and if the elements are large we call it ‘coarse-grained’. It is a term we use in economics, computer science, geology, and likely many other fields. For example, in computer science, an algorithm is fine-grained if it is divided into many small steps, and coarse-grained if it is divided into few large steps.
When talking about cities, we use the term granularity to talk about how the ownership of a city is divided up, particularly in the size of the lots that city blocks are divided into.
A fine-grained environment is a sign of a healthy environment, from an economic and an urbanist perspective. Large buildings are not bad, and the best cities have a diverse mixture. We should do our best to make our urban environment fine-grained – with development using as little land as possible. However, on the occasion when we do need to build large, we should do our best to make the result faux-grained.
The principle behind walkability and urbanism is because walkability and urbanism is about fitting as much as you can within walking distance. Treat land is if it is the most precious resource your city has. Never waste land or street space. Build real parks over greenspace. Create a place that is enjoyable, interesting, that encourages entrepreneurship, where you can mostly depend on your own two feet for daily errands. That is how you create a successful city…..
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