Many Americans have a common question “What is the purpose of compact urban development?” This answer varies based on the individual, but the general idea is that the goal of compact cities is to reduce travel time, reduce fossil fuel usage, and increase sustainability. While these policies promise to increase sustainability and reduce commute times, they do not address the environmental and health issues with dense populations and lack of green space.
Pros and cons of compact cities
A compact city policy aims to keep its population close to daily needs and minimize commuting times while simultaneously reducing fossil fuel use. However, critics argue that compact cities may not achieve the desired results. Although they may reduce pollution levels and offer shorter commutes, compact cities may also result in less green space and poor views of the surrounding landscape.
Proponents of compact city policies point to their many benefits. These policies can lower energy and carbon emissions, promote sustainable and alternate transportation, and increase accessibility and quality of life. On the other hand, critics point to the increased cost of living, displacement of lower-income families, and increased disparity of wealth in cities. Moreover, critics point to their impact on the environment. Dense population areas can increase pollution and waste, which requires expensive controls.
The compact city model has prompted critical reflection on its concept and the political economy of the urban environment. Compact cities have the potential to lock urban development into a system defined by proletarianizing. Yet, implementing these policies has also produced new critical lines of inquiry and promises to plan scholarship and practice.
A significant criticism of compact city policy is that it ignores societal and environmental impacts. The theory and practice of compact cities are based on the flawed boundary system of sustainability evaluation, and it also fails to account for the diversity of urban forms. The success of a compact city depends on how well local and regional plans are developed.
One of the most significant shortcomings of compact city policy is that it lacks trans-local relations. Cities have been accused of ignoring the trans-local development dimension by focusing on industrial-scale production. Yet, these cities are increasingly conscious of the trans-local ties that sustain them, and therefore, they are increasingly introducing trans-local relations into their planning process. These cities are not necessarily inherently wrong, and they are an excellent tool for evaluating how to maximize the value of their land resources.
Impact of compact city policy on human development
There is a direct relationship between the density of cities and human development, but the degree of impact varies across cities. The Human Development Index (HDI) does not follow a normal distribution, and compactness is associated with a lower GDP per capita. The compactness of cities influences economic growth in the towns with advanced industrial structures and high levels of trade openness. However, it is impossible to apply compact development strategies to underdeveloped cities.
Compact cities have high densities. The density of cities is the quantity of a particular feature within a specified area, a hectare, km2, block, neighborhood, city, or metropolitan region. Intensity is measured by the number of dwellings and units within a space, and building heights and volumes are essential density indicators. A compact city reduces the average distance between buildings, which improves human health and well-being.
The concept of a compact city is not new, and it has been a frequent topic of urban policy since the 1960s. It is a standard solution to society’s multiple challenges, including economic development, environmental degradation, and social cohesion. In the European Union, compact cities are the foundation for efficient use of resources, but this concept is often presented as unappealing to policymakers. A systemic analysis of urban density, which involves quantitative measures and qualitative concepts, can provide a deeper understanding of the qualities of a compact city. This kind of analysis is essential for effective urban transformation, and it can serve as a discussion platform to better understand what makes a compact city.
Research on the impact of compact cities has produced many different perspectives and objectives. However, the vast body of evidence demonstrates that compact cities benefit human development. It is crucial to identify the factors that affect urban performance and make these policies more sustainable. The impact of compact cities on human development is a primary goal of sustainable urban development. It is vital to recognize that cities differ in density and accessibility.
Costs of compact city policy
The benefits of compact cities are numerous. They are environmentally friendly, have reduced energy consumption, promote social cohesion, and increase productivity. In addition to lowering living costs, compact city policies can also improve access to jobs, services, and amenities. On the downside, they can increase the cost of living for low-income residents and encourage urban sprawl. Increasing the cost of living in a compact city could exacerbate social inequalities. Furthermore, compact cities may have high environmental costs, as dense populations concentrate on pollution and waste and require costly controls. While benefits outweigh costs, the debate over compact city policy remains.
The costs of compact city policy are many and include both financial and non-financial consequences. Despite the benefits of close cities, governments must adopt national policies that encourage the development of dense urban centers. Ultimately, these policies must avoid the displacement of low-income residents or marginalized urban populations. If governments can implement both approaches, the benefits of compact cities will be realized. There are several critical challenges to consider before implementing a compact city policy.