The Compact City: A Sustainable Urban Form?

By Mike Jenks; Elizabeth Burton et al. | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Part 3

Environment and Resources


The compact city debate has been driven largely by environmental arguments: for example, that it is the most energy efficient urban form, it reduces the need to travel and hence transport emissions; and that it conserves the countryside. The previous section investigated the importance of social and economic arguments to the general debate; this section now examines the environmental issues in more depth. First, the environmental claims made in support of the compact city need to be tested, and supported by empirical research, if they are to form the basis for urban policy. Secondly, as well as contradictions with other issues, there may be internal contradictions to the environmental arguments in support of the compact city; there may be counter-claims that reveal ways in which the compact city is not environmentally sustainable. The following chapters address both these problems.

Transport is arguably the single biggest issue for environmental arguments relating to urban form, as reflected by the large number of chapters devoted to this topic. It is claimed that the compact city reduces travel demand, increases the propensity for walking and cycling, and supports public transport. But is this actually the case? Barren investigates the effect of density on travel demand, particularly for work-related travel. Farthing et al. investigate the effect of increased accessibility to local services and facilities on non-work-related travel behaviour, and Nijkamp and Rienstra analyse the public transport dimension. From this work it is not at all clear that the compact city would yield the advantages it is claimed. The authors tend to agree that local journey lengths may be reduced, but this may not be significant in comparison with the longer trips associated with recreation. They are also united in their belief that a modal shift away from the private car is unlikely.

With rising car ownership, transport issues may continue to control and influence urban form in the way they have done in the past-a case of the tail wagging the dog-in which case a re-emergence of the more traditional compact urban form would remain an elusive goal. Barrett and Nijkamp and Rienstra


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Compact City: A Sustainable Urban Form?
Table of contents

Table of contents



Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 350

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?