Gordon 1999 - “Are Compact Cities a Desirable Planning Goal?”

Gordon, Peter; Richardson Harry W.
“Are Compact Cities a Desirable Planning Goal?”
Journal of the American Planning Association.
Winter 1997: v.63, n.1; pp.95-105.
On the Web
Relevance: low

Gordon and Richardson dispute the need for promoting compact development (see Ewing (1997) for a rebuttal).  They claim that standard suburban development:

  • does not encroach on prime agricultural land,
  • is preferred by consumers,
  • is not less efficient for travel than compact development,
  • does not consume more energy (and energy is not scarce),
  • does not increase congestion (an may, in fact, reduce it), and
  • does not increase infrastructure and public service costs.

They also claim that:

  • auto travel is less subsidized than is public transit,
  • telecommunications make geography less relevant;
  • lower transportation and communications costs make the high cost of high density less cost-efficient;
  • most commuting is now suburb-to-suburb, not suburb-to-city; and
  • downtown renewal projects are often disappointing.

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