Compact city development: High ideals and emerging practices
Hege Hofstad, European Journal of Spatial Development (2012)
Compact city development has, over the last 20 years or so, emerged as the preferred response to the goal of sustainable development. As such, it is pertinent to examine planning practices to see whether the traditional economic bias in planning is now balanced by aims and practices in support of environmental and social sustainability. In this light the social, environmental, and economic goals linked to densification and mixed use development will be the main focus of this article. In addition, the article assesses whether distinct institutional practices support the balancing of these goals.
The empirical basis is formed by urban plans in four Scandinavian cities in combination with qualitative interview data. The article concludes that on a discursive level, social, environmental and economic goals are represented in compact city strategies. Institutionalised practices, however, show that economic goals remain at the core of planning. Environmental and social aims still play second fiddle, but new measures are in development that may gradually strengthen their influence over urban development practices.
Compact city; dose it create an obligatory context for urban sustainability?
Abdolhadi Daneshpour, Amir Shakibamanesh; International Journal of Architectural Engineering & Urban Planning (2011)
Throughout the early and mid 1990s, there was widespread faith in the compact city model’s ability to provide urban sustainability. However, where compact city policies had been implemented, follow-up studies began to show the predicted benefits did not happen as they should be. The article tries to peruse two opposite approaches of “Urban Sprawl” and “Compact City”, with an analytical – critical procedure and their consistency with sustainability. It also compares sustainability strategies of the new urban design paradigms (such as New Urbanism, Transit Oriented Development (TOD) and Smart Growth) with compact city considerations. At the end, the article discusses about the question that does the compact city paradigm creates an obligatory context for sustainability? In fact, This article supports the belief that instead of concentrating on one particular solution, there is a need to recognize and accept the fact that a divers urban futures are likely to exist within a city and that urban compaction should only be seen as one way of achieving sustainable urban form. As indicated in the article ,each country should adapted the compact city considerations that best suits the local conditions and makes the best contribution to urban sustainability in a way that is both acceptable and feasible in their local environments. Because of the many challenges that the compact city concept faces, the focus should be on creating a diverse urban forms and sustainabilities that are most likely to ‘fit’ the area they are to be implemented in. Indeed, there should be a greater focus upon the processes, functions and design of the city and how they contribute to sustainability, rather than just the density dimension of compact city which occupied most of the literature throughout the 1990s. By concentrating on a more micro level scale, urban design can help overcome acceptability and feasibility critiques of the compact city that correctly highlight the radical cultural, political, social and institutional changes that will be required to move away from the sprawl.
The compact city fallacy
Michael Neuman, Journal of Planning Education and Research (2005)
The problems of urban sprawl have long been recognized. The classic response to sprawl has been compact settlements of one form or another. Yet the profession’s modern origins stem from responses to overcrowding. Relieving crowding by letting in more light and air led to less compact urban form. This paradox remains unresolved despite recent compact city, smart growth, healthy community, and new urbanist efforts. This article reviews empirical data of whether compact cities are sustainable. Then, after reviewing current debates on sprawl and the compact city, it outlines the intellectual origins of sustainability and analyzes whether its theory supports the compact city hypothesis: compact is more sustainable than sprawl. It concludes that conceiving the city in terms of form is neither necessary nor sufficient to achieve the goals ascribed to the compact city. Instead, conceiving the city in terms of process holds more promise in attaining the elusive goal of a sustainable city.