¿Compact Cities?

​Exploring qualities, drivers and strategies for promoting sustainable urban development

Research and policy argue for more compact cities, referring to higher urban densities and mixed use. Compact cities are endorsed as a response to critical social and environmental challenges by turning cities more resource efficient, liveable, lively and equitable. Proximity, diversity and scale are said to promote social equity, environmental quality, new technologies, accessibility, quality of life, innovation, economic development and less development on rural land. However, compact cities may also result in crowding, unaffordable housing, health problems, congestion, pollution, and loss of green space. Even if it is argued that more compact cities will reduce socioeconomic segregation, urban innovation for competitiveness may result in mosaics of winners and losers, both locally and globally, where successful cities and social groups shift environmental burdens onto other, less fortunate localities.
 
All in all, there is little clarity on what actually needs to be made more compact to achieve all the purported benefits and how such qualities best can be measured. There is also poor understanding of how different development drivers co-produce or counteract compact cities, where such drivers are active within multiple sectors and at multiple governance levels. Additionally, knowledge is lacking regarding how compact cities could best be achieved through planning, design, strategy-making and transformation processes taking place within and between the different sectors and levels.
 
The ¿Compact Cities? research group studies the ideas and realities of compact cities from different perspectives, such as spatial analysis, systems thinking, action net theory, actor network theory, planning theory, complexity theory, citizen participation, social inclusion, and regenerative design.

Current research projects

•    Complex adaptive systems and urban planning
 

Previous research projects

•    URBAN-NEXUS
 

Education activities

•    Nordic Master’s Program Sustainable Urban Transitions
•    Linnaeus Palme student and teacher exchange with Maseno University, Kenya
•    Design and planning for social inclusion, master’s course (22.5 credits) in the Design for Sustainable Development master’s program
 

Collaboration

•    Gothenburg Research Institute, University of Gothenburg
•    School of Public Adminstration, University of Gothenburg
•    Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology, Kenya
•    Mistra Urban Futures, Gothenburg, Sweden
•    ARC group, La Salle, Ramon Llull University, Barcelona
•    BCNecologia, the Urban Ecology Agency of Barcelona
•    Instituto del Conurbano, Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento, Buenos Aires
•    Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires
•    Maseno University, Kenya
•    CS Studio Architects, Cape Town, South Africa
•    Universidad de la Habana
•    University of Victoria, Canada
•    Universidad Centroamericana, Nicaragua
•    Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil
•    Universidade Federal do ABC, Brazil

Published: Tue 29 Mar 2016. Modified: Fri 09 Feb 2018