Compact development generally means that the space needs of a population can be satisfied with less land area. It typically emphasizes a majority of population growth and construction in previously designated urban areas by redeveloping land and by allowing greater densities in appropriate locations.

Characteristics include:

  • Development concentrated primarily in existing towns and cities, thus reducing sprawl;
  • Places jobs and housing in closer proximity to one another;
  • Conserves significant amount of natural resources, open space and rural lands;
  • Neighborhoods built within walking distance of commercial areas, parks and schools;
  • Reduced reliance on automobiles through a compact, walkable development pattern;
  • Encourages rehabilitation and repurposing of old buildings;
  • Smaller lot sizes allow for more inhabitants per acre


  • Cultural amenities, urban parks, community gardens, schools, jobs, shopping, and health care facilities would be located in close proximity to residential areas, so all residents can "live, work, and play" in close proximity;
  • Vibrant city centers in the urban core provide a mix of residential and commercial development, with traditional cities retaining their identities and new urban developments creating their own identities, while each provides a community feel and a "sense of place;"
  • Urban areas would have fewer new single family homes and an increased mix of live/work units, row houses, apartments, condominiums, and assisted living facilities, allowing all residents to "age in place;"
  • Allows natural areas to remain untouched, even those within city boundaries, consequently encouraging "Green Building" practices and "Low-Impact Development" practices;
  • More transportation choices offered because of shorter travel distances;
  • Improved air quality due through reduced dependence on automobiles;
  • Increased property values in central cities/urbanized areas;
  • Rural lands can be protected from development;
  • Improved regional attractiveness to tourists and new residents because of reduced sprawl.