OECD Green Growth Studies

2222-9523 (online)
2222-9515 (print)
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The OECD Green Growth Strategy aims to provide concrete recommendations and measurement tools, including indicators, to support countries’ efforts to achieve economic growth and development, while ensuring that natural assets continue to provide the resources and environmental services on which well-being relies. The strategy proposes a flexible policy framework that can be tailored to different country circumstances and stages of development.

Also available in: French
Compact City Policies

Compact City Policies

A Comparative Assessment You do not have access to this content

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13 June 2012
Pages :
9789264167865 (PDF) ; 9789264167841 (print)

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This book examines the concept of the compact city and the implication of the current urban context for compact city policies. It explores their potential outcomes, particularly in terms of how it can contribute to Green Growth and looks at developing indicators to monitor compact city and track policy performance. It reviews compact city policies currently being implemented across the OECD in relation to the pursuit of Green Growth objectives and provides ideas to achieve better outcomes. And it assesses the key governance challenges faced by decision-makers as they seek to implement practical compact city strategies. This report is thus intended as "food for thought" for national, sub-national and municipal governments as they seek to address their economic and environmental challenges through the development and implementation of spatial strategies in pursuit of Green Growth objectives. It also illustrates best practices (which present key elements of successful compact city policies) based on empirical evidence that can be shared across OECD member countries.

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  • Foreword and Acknowledgements
    This publication is the final report of the OECD’s three-year project "Compact City Policies: A Comparative Assessment". It presents the project’s main findings and policy recommendations.
  • Acronyms and abbreviations
  • Glossary
  • Preface
    Sustainable urban development – achieving environmental preservation, social equity and economic development – remains an urgent global challenge in a world that continues to urbanise. This report discusses sustainable urban development from the perspective of urban spatial form – or how we use urban spaces. Importantly, it highlights how urban spatial policies can help foster economic growth and development while preventing environmental degradation and climate change. The report thus addresses a central concern of the OECD Green Growth Strategy, and is an important contribution to it.
  • Executive summary
    The compact city is one of the most discussed concepts in contemporary urban policy. Although compact cities take different forms, this report considers that the key characteristics of a compact city are dense and proximate development patterns, built-up areas linked by public transport systems, and accessibility to local services and jobs.
  • The compact city concept in today's urban contexts
    This chapter discusses the meaning of the compact city concept and the implications of compact city policies in current urban contexts. It is divided into three main sections. The first discusses the definition of compact city. The second illustrates key urban trends that are relevant to the concept and to the need for compact cities. The third reviews the history and evolution of the compact city concept.
  • How can compact city policies contribute to urban sustainability and green growth?
    This chapter deals with the outcomes of compact city policies. It explores how a compact city can contribute to urban sustainability goals. A particular focus is the link between environmental and economic outcomes: how the compact city can help to support and foster economic growth while addressing environmental concerns. This is a central concern of the OECD’s Green Growth Strategy. This chapter also addresses concerns about the outcomes of compact city policies and presents ways for policy makers to handle this complex issue.
  • Measuring the performance of a compact city
    This chapter deals with indicators for monitoring and evaluating the performance of a compact city. First, it reviews previous attempts to measure compact city performance and discusses the relevance and availability of the indicators. Based on the review, the chapter proposes 18 indicators as core compact city indicators. It then applies the proposed indicators to OECD metropolitan areas, discusses effective ways of using them, and identifies challenges and areas for further research. Seven indicators are examined using 3-D maps and other geographic information system (GIS) tools: i) population and urban land growth; ii) population density on urban land; iii) trip distance; iv) urban land cover; v) trips using public transport; vi) proximity to public transport; and vii) matching local services and homes.
  • Current compact city practices in OECD countries
    This chapter looks at current compact city policy practices in OECD countries. First, it describes major policy instruments in OECD countries based on the results of the OECD survey and a literature review. Next, it takes a closer look at policy practices in the five case study metropolitan areas: Melbourne (Australia), Vancouver (Canada), Paris (France), Toyama (Japan) and Portland (United States). Finally, it presents a comparative assessment from three perspectives: first, how policy goals and strategies respond to different local circumstances; then, whether appropriate policy instruments are utilised to address multiple policy objectives, including environmental and economic sustainability; and finally, how current policy practices incorporate complementary strategies to minimise the potential adverse effects of compact cities.
  • Key compact city policy strategies
    This chapter, based on the findings and assessments of current compact city policies in Chapter 4, proposes five key compact city policy strategies to be shared among OECD member countries: i) set explicit compact city goals; ii) encourage dense and proximate development; iii) retrofit existing built-up areas; iv) enhance diversity and quality of life; and v) minimise adverse negative effects. Under the five strategies, 20 sub-strategies are also presented.
  • Key compact city governance strategies
    This chapter draws on the case studies to discuss metropolitan governance for compact city outcomes. It looks at the issue of horizontal co-ordination of municipalities into a single functional metropolitan area for policy design and programme delivery purposes as well as co-ordination within local government structures in view of the integrated, multi-sector nature of the compact city policy model. It then turns to vertical coherence among levels of government within a single metropolitan area. The chapter also takes stock of arrangements to foster ongoing citizen participation in the development and implementation of compact city policies. It considers fiscal issues, particularly in relation to investment to fund core infrastructure to achieve compact city outcomes. Finally, issues related to transparency, measuring performance, accountability and reporting are discussed.
  • Compact city policies
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