As residents and public officials debate how to manage development and density, we must also consider the type of community we want to cultivate (“Zoning wars heat up as big projects loom,” May 11).

Current planning for downtown development envisions one- to two-person households renting small apartments while working close to home.

This target renter bikes, walks or uses mass transportation to commute. She mostly drives on weekends, if at all. However, as these young professionals inevitably fall in love with our city (and with each other), they will likely require more space and home ownership opportunities.

Neglecting to provide such will drive new residents out to the suburbs, exacerbating the traffic and sprawl that denser housing is supposed to improve.

Further, for those of us who care about downtown, developing only one type of density diminishes our community. A vibrant, meaningful neighborhood includes a diversity of family types, including singles, couples, families and seniors.

Having neighborhoods with invested, diverse households improves schools, provides children to enroll in those schools and develops relationships, civic interest and social capital among neighbors of all ages and income levels. These benefits are not as quantifiable as market-based assessments of need and profit but will provide far more life-affirming experiences than any live-work-play model ever could.

If our housing must become more dense, let us at least make it more rewarding to live in close proximity to one another.

Elena Tuerk

President, Westside

Neighborhood Association

Rutledge Avenue

Charleston