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The compact city : a dead-end for urban sustainability? : an analysis of the compact city’s desirability dimension : a case study of Geneva

Matthey-Doret, Aude LU (2015) In Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science MESM02 20151
LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)
Abstract
The compact city model emerged as a sustainable response against the dominant trend of urban sprawl. However, the compact city model is not without controversy. Many scholars have questioned the veracity, feasibility and desirability of the compact city through three sets of critiques. Results from the desirability dimension have led to criticism of the model for running counter to the residential aspirations of its urban dwellers and for undermining social equity.
In discussing urban sustainability and urban form, I position my research in line with the Right to the City’s critical approach towards urbanisation processes. In addition, I follow a demographic and residential approach to the compact city, informed by the literature on... (More)
The compact city model emerged as a sustainable response against the dominant trend of urban sprawl. However, the compact city model is not without controversy. Many scholars have questioned the veracity, feasibility and desirability of the compact city through three sets of critiques. Results from the desirability dimension have led to criticism of the model for running counter to the residential aspirations of its urban dwellers and for undermining social equity.
In discussing urban sustainability and urban form, I position my research in line with the Right to the City’s critical approach towards urbanisation processes. In addition, I follow a demographic and residential approach to the compact city, informed by the literature on reurbanisation, to gain insight into the demographic changes and residential attractiveness of central cities.
This research analyses the desirability dimension of the compact city model by examining the case of Geneva along two main research axes; first by analysing compact city planning and its implications for social equity based on urban planning document analysis and expert interviews. Secondly by assessing the compact city’s desirability dimension among new urban dwellers based on a web-based survey and household interviews. This thesis is therefore carried out within a mixed methods research strategy, which combines qualitative and quantitative methods applied to the case study of Geneva.
Findings reveal a compact city planning which comes with social costs in the form of housing affordability issues and gentrification processes. Driven by the rules of the free market, the housing market pressured by an increased demand stemming from new immigrants – predominantly moreaffluent residents, the “new middle class” − leads to increased housing prices which par9cipate to broader housing affordability issues. Findings also show, on the one hand, a compact city model closely associated to Ley’s (1996) “new middle class” attracted by the urban advantages of proximity and accessibility and for whom the compact city is found desirable. While, on the other hand,
conventional families tend to leave the compact city.
Compact city planning falls short at conciliating the three imperatives for a sustainable urban development, and at meeting the social needs of all its inhabitants. Subsequently, new approaches which integrate the interconnections between the urban form and the social are required. (Less)
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author
Matthey-Doret, Aude LU
supervisor
organization
course
MESM02 20151
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
residential preferences, desirability, compact city, urban sustainability, reurbanisation, gentrification
publication/series
Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science
report number
2015:015
language
English
id
5468656
date added to LUP
2015-06-18 12:03:54
date last changed
2015-06-18 12:03:54
@misc{5468656,
  abstract     = {The compact city model emerged as a sustainable response against the dominant trend of urban sprawl. However, the compact city model is not without controversy. Many scholars have questioned the veracity, feasibility and desirability of the compact city through three sets of critiques. Results from the desirability dimension have led to criticism of the model for running counter to the residential aspirations of its urban dwellers and for undermining social equity.
In discussing urban sustainability and urban form, I position my research in line with the Right to the City’s critical approach towards urbanisation processes. In addition, I follow a demographic and residential approach to the compact city, informed by the literature on reurbanisation, to gain insight into the demographic changes and residential attractiveness of central cities.
This research analyses the desirability dimension of the compact city model by examining the case of Geneva along two main research axes; first by analysing compact city planning and its implications for social equity based on urban planning document analysis and expert interviews. Secondly by assessing the compact city’s desirability dimension among new urban dwellers based on a web-based survey and household interviews. This thesis is therefore carried out within a mixed methods research strategy, which combines qualitative and quantitative methods applied to the case study of Geneva.
Findings reveal a compact city planning which comes with social costs in the form of housing affordability issues and gentrification processes. Driven by the rules of the free market, the housing market pressured by an increased demand stemming from new immigrants – predominantly moreaffluent residents, the “new middle class” − leads to increased housing prices which par9cipate to broader housing affordability issues. Findings also show, on the one hand, a compact city model closely associated to Ley’s (1996) “new middle class” attracted by the urban advantages of proximity and accessibility and for whom the compact city is found desirable. While, on the other hand,
conventional families tend to leave the compact city.
Compact city planning falls short at conciliating the three imperatives for a sustainable urban development, and at meeting the social needs of all its inhabitants. Subsequently, new approaches which integrate the interconnections between the urban form and the social are required.},
  author       = {Matthey-Doret, Aude},
  keyword      = {residential preferences,desirability,compact city,urban sustainability,reurbanisation,gentrification},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science},
  title        = {The compact city : a dead-end for urban sustainability? : an analysis of the compact city’s desirability dimension : a case study of Geneva},
  year         = {2015},
}