Compact Cities: Sustainable Urban Forms for Developing Countries

By Mike Jenks; Rod Burgess | Go to book overview

Mike Jenks

Conclusion:

The Appropriateness of Compact City Concepts to Developing Countries

We should be grateful to the poor cities of the South for what they teach us, not only about our past, but about the future that awaits us if we do not recognise our common fate, and act accordingly.

(Seabrook, 1996, p.301)

To learn from the experience of developing countries has been one of the motivations for this third book in the series about sustainable urban form. There is a great deal of information to draw on. Reviews of data from many countries in the world, comparative case studies and detailed research from 11 developing countries form the content of the 26 chapters in the book. Grouping these into four parts gives first a broad context to the debate about compact cities in developing countries. Second, key issues are raised about core urban areas, the process of intensification, and urban sprawl on the periphery. These are then illustrated in the third part, through case studies. Finally, aspects of transport, infrastructure and environment are considered in some detail. Within this range of information there are some common themes, as well as distinct differences. It is clear that there is a live debate about the compact city in many regions throughout the world. It is reasonable to ask what issues are most significant, and how appropriate are concepts so well rehearsed in the West to achieving sustainable urban form in developing countries?


Urban form

Many complex factors relate to the sustainability of urban form, and include issues at the regional and city scale, and those of density and peripheral urban sprawl. These are considered below.


Urban regions and agglomerations

The rapid growth of urbanisation has meant that the world’s major cities have become ever expanding urban agglomerations, making metropolitan regions an important focus for policy-making and problem solving. The general characteristic

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