Compact City Policy: How Europe rediscovered its History and met Resistance
By Jan Scheurer

Celebrations of Urbanity - The Urban Reinventors, Issue Nr. 2, December 2007

"Reurbanization and the pursuit of more compact settlement structures only just starting to become mainstream vocabulary in the USA and Australia during the 1990s, and may initially have been driven by market mechanisms rather than a rigorously promoted planning paradigm. In Europe, the situation is starkly different. Similar to their New World counterparts, many European cities experienced rapid suburban expansion at the expense of the functional integrity of their established urbanized areas during the 1950s to 1970s, assisted by the need to overcome severe housing shortages following wartime destruction and/or disinvestment. However, perspectives changed profoundly when the post-war economic boom faded during the 1970s and many metropolitan areas experienced stagnation, if not decline in population. A simultaneous reinvigoration of interest in urban centers resulted from the transition to a postindustrial economy and the emergence of social groups more attracted to inner urban, rather than suburban, amenities…"

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Jan Scheurer currently conducts research projects on transport, mobility, accessibility and urban design in collaboration with the Australian Institute for Urban Studies (AIUS), the Metropolitan Transport Forum (MTF), Department of Infrastructure (DOI), Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) and the City of Melbourne. He has co-authored an inventory study on urban form in Melbourne’s growth areas, and was Chief Investigator on the ARC Linkage Grant ‘Reimagining the Australian Suburb – Local Governance and Community Building’. His PhD research, completed in 2001 at Murdoch University (Perth), examined the impact of mobility management strategies in residential neighborhoods in the context of urban sustainability. Jan teaches in urban design and transport planning at RMIT University, Murdoch University and the Planet professional training program at DSE, and supervises research students at all levels.

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