In the US, we are so afraid of grade changes – thus most things end up as flat as possible with the grade taken up in huge fills and retaining walls. This requires lots of space, which is wasteful, as well as lots of money, which is also wasteful. Density requires creativity in landscape architectural engineering, but in return we get beauty, efficiency, and lower costs.
Our cities and towns won’t be truly sustainable until they are dense, which increases the efficiency of land, infrastructure, transport and movement, as well as of local businesses. They can’t be dense until we understand the physical abilities to make them so.
The picture below shows the same space from above. I estimate that nearly 25′ of grade is taken up in no more than 75′.
The photo below shows the same space from the side. Note how the grade is addressed with steps, ramps, and walls.