9 Pages

The Acceptability of Urban Intensification

Since 1987, when Brundtland (WCED) raised an awareness of the problems, the response has been remarkable. Policies to deliver sustainable development have been widely adopted (Breheny, 1997). There has been considerable debate about the relationship between urban form and sustainability (Jenks et aI., 1997, 1996a; Urban Task Force, 1999; Breheny, 1992; Haughton and Hunter, 1994), much of which advocates compact, mixed-use settlements (Sherlock, 1991, 1996; Jenks et aI., 1996b). This work represents a significant area of theory and empirical research about urban form, and promotes the concept of the 'compact city'. Its basis is the idea of urban containment to protect valuable amenity and agricultural land from suburban sprawl (CPRE, 1996; HM Govt, 1996). The concentration of development within urban areas is claimed to reduce travel distances and thus emissions of harmful greenhouse gases (ECOTEC, 1993) and to encourage more sustainable modes of travel (DETR, 1998). Higher densities, it is suggested, would lead to more social vitality and economic viability for urban areas and more energy efficient land uses (e.g. Elkin et al., 1991).