Densification has been a central method of achieving smart, sustainable cities across the world. This book explores international examples of the property rights tensions involved in attempting to develop denser, more sustainable cities through compulsory acquisition of property. The case studies from Europe, North America, eastern Asia and Australia show how well, or not, property rights have been recognised in each country. Chapters explore the significance of local legal frameworks and institutions in accommodating property rights in the densification process. In particular, the case studies address the following issues and more:

  • Whether compulsory acquisition to increase densification is justified in practice and in theory
  • The specific public benefits given for compulsory acquisition
  • The role the development industry plays in facilitating, encouraging or promoting compulsory acquisition
  • What compensation or offsets are offered for acquisition, and how are they funded?
  • Is there a local or national history of compulsory property acquisition by government for a range of purposes?
  • Is compulsory acquisition restricted to certain types or locations of densification?
  • Where existing housing is acquired, are there obligations to provide alternative housing arrangements?

The central aim of the book is to summarize international experiences of the extent to which property rights have or have not been protected in the use of compulsory property acquisition to achieve sustainable cities via urban densification. It is essential reading for all those interested in planning law, property rights, environmental law, urban studies, sustainable urban development and land use policy.

chapter 1|7 pages


ByGlen Searle

chapter 2|10 pages

Compulsory acquisition in the Netherlands

BySanne Holtslag-Broekhof, Thomas Hartmann, Tejo Spit

chapter 3|14 pages

Eminent domain use for densification in the United States

ByEd Sullivan

chapter 4|19 pages

Compulsory acquisition in UK public housing estate renewal

Legal, planning and project delivery perspectives
ByGary Cox

chapter 5|16 pages

Compulsory property acquisition for urban densification in Germany

ByJuliane Albrecht

chapter 6|14 pages

Accommodating densification and social sustainability in the inner city

Case study of Griffintown in Montreal
BySébastien Darchen, Claire Poitras

chapter 7|13 pages

The use of compulsory property acquisition and land readjustment in urban densification in Spain

ByDemetrio Muñoz Gielen, Marta Lora-Tamayo Vallvé

chapter 8|15 pages

Densification, dispossession and disposable lives

A case study of urban space production through the Expo in Shanghai
ByYunpeng Zhang

chapter 9|15 pages

Rural densification under China’s Link Policy

ByLong Cheng

chapter 10|24 pages

Land acquisition in Singapore

Taking and giving
ByAlice Christudason

chapter 11|18 pages

Everybody needs good neighbours, especially in strata

Are new Australian laws enabling forced sales of strata properties justified?
ByLaura Crommelin, Laurence Troy, Bill Randolph, Hazel Easthope

chapter 12|7 pages

Compulsory acquisition of private property rights for densification in Australia

ByJohn Sheehan, Charlie Glinka

chapter 13|15 pages


ByGlen Searle