This report offers a comprehensive understanding of the compact city concept, its role in today’s urban contexts, and the potential outcomes of compact city policies. It examines compact city policies across the OECD in relation to green growth objectives and the role of indicators in tracking policy performance. It proposes compact city strategies and ideas for achieving better outcomes and highlights governance challenges for implementing practical compact city strategies. Importantly, it highlights how urban spatial policies can help foster economic growth and development while preventing environmental degradation and climate change. The report thus addresses a central concern of the OECD Green Growth Strategy, and provides an important contribution to it.
Chapter 1. The compact city concept in today’s urban contexts
This chapter discusses the meaning of the compact city concept and the implications of compact city policies in current urban contexts. It is divided into three main sections. The first discusses the definition of compact city. The second illustrates key urban trends that are relevant to the concept and to the need for compact cities. The third reviews the history and evolution of the compact city concept.
This chapter deals with the outcomes of compact city policies. It explores how a compact city can contribute to urban sustainability goals. A particular focus is the link between environmental and economic outcomes: how the compact city can help to support and foster economic growth while addressing environmental concerns. This is a central concern of the OECD’s Green Growth Strategy. This chapter also addresses concerns about the outcomes of compact city policies and presents ways for policy makers to handle this complex issue.
This chapter deals with indicators for monitoring and evaluating the performance of a compact city. First, it reviews previous attempts to measure compact city performance and discusses the relevance and availability of the indicators. Based on the review, the chapter proposes 18 indicators as core compact city indicators. It then applies the proposed indicators to OECD metropolitan areas, discusses effective ways of using them, and identifies challenges and areas for further research. Seven indicators are examined using 3-D maps and other geographic information system (GIS) tools: i) population and urban land growth; ii) population density on urban land; iii) trip distance; iv) urban land cover; v) trips using public transport; vi) proximity to public transport; and vii) matching local services and homes.
Chapter 4. Current compact city practices in OECD countries
This chapter looks at current compact city policy practices in OECD countries. First, it describes major policy instruments in OECD countries based on the results of the OECD survey and a literature review. Next, it takes a closer look at policy practices in the five case study metropolitan areas: Melbourne (Australia), Vancouver (Canada), Paris (France), Toyama (Japan) and Portland (United States). Finally, it presents a comparative assessment from three perspectives: first, how policy goals and strategies respond to different local circumstances; then, whether appropriate policy instruments are utilised to address multiple policy objectives, including environmental and economic sustainability; and finally, how current policy practices incorporate complementary strategies to minimise the potential adverse effects of compact cities.
Chapter 5. Key compact city policy strategies
This chapter, based on the findings and assessments of current compact city policies in Chapter 4, proposes five key compact city policy strategies to be shared among OECD member countries: i) set explicit compact city goals; ii) encourage dense and proximate development; iii) retrofit existing built-up areas; iv) enhance diversity and quality of life; and v) minimise adverse negative effects. Under the five strategies, 20 sub-strategies are also presented.
Chapter 6. Key compact city governance strategies
This chapter draws on the case studies to discuss metropolitan governance for compact city outcomes. It looks at the issue of horizontal co-ordination of municipalities into a single functional metropolitan area for policy design and programme delivery purposes as well as co-ordination within local government structures in view of the integrated, multi-sector nature of the compact city policy model. It then turns to vertical coherence among levels of government within a single metropolitan area. The chapter also takes stock of arrangements to foster ongoing citizen participation in the development and implementation of compact city policies. It considers fiscal issues, particularly in relation to investment to fund core infrastructure to achieve compact city outcomes. Finally, issues related to transparency, measuring performance, accountability and reporting are discussed.
Annex A. Compact city policies: country profiles
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