Demystifying compact urban growth: evidence from 300 studies from across the world

Most developed countries now implicitly or explicitly aim to promote more compact urban forms, as compactness is associated with a wide range of positive effects: increases in productivity due to agglomeration economies, travel time savings, and a smaller ecological footprint due to lower energy and land consumption. This working paper is the first attempt to comprehensively evaluate the state of evidence on the costs and benefits of compactness. It reviews more than 300 separate analyses to understand how compactness impacts on different dimensions of urban life: Economic dimensions: productivity, innovation, value of space, efficiency of public services delivery, traffic flow, and access to jobs; Social dimensions: social equity, safety, health, wellbeing and access to services and amenities; and Environmental dimensions: pollution, sustainable transport options, open space, and energy efficiency.