How smart is smart growth? Examining the environmental validation behind city compaction
Reviewartikel, 2019

Smart growth (SG) is widely adopted by planners and policy makers as an environmentally friendly way of building cities. In this paper, we analyze the environmental validity of the SG-approach based on a review of the scientific literature. We found a lack of proof of environmental gains, in combination with a great inconsistency in the measurements of different SG attributes. We found that a surprisingly limited number of studies have actually examined the environmental rationales behind SG, with 34% of those studies displaying negative environmental outcomes of SG. Based on the insights from the review, we propose that research within this context must first be founded in more advanced and consistent knowledge of geographic and spatial analyses. Second, it needs to a greater degree be based on a system's understanding of urban processes. Third, it needs to aim at making cities more resilient, e.g., against climate-change effects.

Sustainable urban development

Smart growth

Environmentally friendly urban development

City compaction

City densification


Åsa Gren

Kungliga vetenskapsakademien

Johan Colding

Stockholms universitet

Kungliga vetenskapsakademien

Högskolan i Gävle

Meta Berghauser Pont

Chalmers, Arkitektur och samhällsbyggnadsteknik, Stadsbyggnad

Lars Marcus

Chalmers, Arkitektur och samhällsbyggnadsteknik, Stadsbyggnad


0044-7447 (ISSN)

Vol. 48 6 580-589


Hållbar utveckling


Building Futures (2010-2018)


Tvärvetenskapliga studier


Miljöanalys och bygginformationsteknik





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