Diversifying the compact city: A renewed agenda for geographical research
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionDialogues in Human Geography. 2022. 10.1177/20438206221102949
The compact city has become part of the policy orthodoxy in dealing with climate change and other sustainability challenges, and scholars from a diverse set of disciplines have informed this policy through empirical research. In this paper, we argue that attuning research in this field to key perspectives and concepts in human geography and critical urban studies can help ‘diversify’ understandings of compact urbanism in ways that advance social and ecological justice. We show that the compact city has been conceived primarily through the lens of territorially bounded physical urban form, and thereby many of its social, political, and ecological implications are overlooked. Based on this critique, we propose a renewed agenda for compact urbanism that rearticulates it as a strategy for sustainable transformation by bridging socio-material and relational approaches and engaging the human geographical toolbox. Three entry points for this agenda are highlighted: (1) commoning the compact city; (2) metabolism of compact cities; and (3) antagonism in the compact city.