Compact Cities?

Exploring qualities, drivers and strategies for promoting mixed-use urban development

Barcelona | Rotterdam | Gothenburg

Project leader: Jaan-Henrik Kain

Research and policy argue for more compact cities - referring to higher urban densities and mixed use - but there is little clarity on what actually needs to be made more compact to achieve all the purported benefits. 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 strategy-making and transition processes taking place within the different sectors and at different levels.

The aim of the present project is to contribute to a more precise and operational understanding of which qualities a compact city actually needs to include and how they can be promoted and realized. This will be achieved by meeting the following objectives:

  1. To develop a consistent, efficient and useful system of metrics for urban qualities linked to urban compactness
  2. To develop a framework for an integrated understanding of urban development drivers of different kinds and at different levels
  3. To develop recommendations for how strategies and strategy-making processes may support transitions towards
Urban densification will be studied in Barcelona, Rotterdam and Gothenburg, and developed knowledge will be applied to the Gothenburg context.