Masters Thesis

summary / introduction

MA Programme Environment & Energy 2000-01
Architectural Association

The Compact City
Density, Energy and Urban Form

Anna Krenz
September 2001

"The cities of the 21st century are where human destiny will be played out,
and where the future of the biosphere will be determined."

Herbert Girardet [1999, p.17]

While entering the 21st century humankind is facing major urban changes - massive migrations of population into cities and on the other hand - the growth of cities onto the natural green-land. Due to extended distances and social demands, cities, together with transportation modes within and between them, have tremendous impact on natural environment of the planet - they are the main consumers of energy and producers of pollution. Searching for the solution how to improve global situation the model of the Compact City was brought to the arena of international debate. The questions are - is the Compact City a solution? Can it be implied into existing cities or new developments? Can it decrease energy consumption and the use of private transportation?

Taking into account contradictory opinions of theoreticians and planners about Compact City it is crucial to understand the meaning, pros and cons of this model. This paper gives a critical opinion on the theoretical statements of the compact model in the second part. Due to the complexity of the subject it was chosen to analyse the parameters according to the importance of the energy resources conservation and decreasing the pollution. Since the analytical tools are required on a complex level, including computer software simulations, the paper deals with empirical analysis towards sustainable solution for contemporary cities. Can this solution be found?

While analysing a heterogeneous structure like a city, it is evident that the reality and theory create a matrix of connections and relations more appropriate, rather than a linear analysis process. Therefore assumptions can be driven from research undertaken by professionals and positive examples of the implementation of sustainable urban strategies. In the last part examples of successful urban practices are presented.

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