Dense populations help the environment by allowing services such as mass transportation to work for large amounts of people who can cost effectively take advantage of them in a smaller geographic area. Similarly, by having dense areas of populations, more natural areas can be preserved from suburban sprawl. On the negative side, dense population areas present overloads on natural systems that cannot be overcome and place a huge amount of stress on the immediate environment and beyond to support regions.
On an absolute scale, dense populations of humans are bad for the environment, because of all the greenhouse gases they are responsible for emitting. But they are environmentally friendly compared to less dense populations. When people are clustered tightly together, most of their needs can be met without them having to drive anywhere, cutting down on emissions associated with transportation. They also require less per-capita infrastructure such as roads and power lines, since they live closely together.
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