Published: 31st Mar 2011

Is it time Britain’s towns and cities re-drew their boundaries? Rupert Greenhalgh looks at how cities abroad have reined themselves in to maximise the benefits of economic growth Portland in Oregon has used an urban growth boundary to combat sprawl Interest in densification has received a lot of attention from policymakers and academics alike over the last decade. Agglomeration economies have been highlighted as the raison d’être of cities and the ‘secret of their success’. There is increasingly convincing evidence of the importance of agglomeration economies in terms of economic development: denser places share critical infrastructure; match business supply chains and sources of labour; and support innovation by creating the environment for shared learning and the exchange of ideas. Estimates suggest a growth in urban density, for example by doubling the size of a city, could result in up to a 10% increase in productivity. This … (To read the full article, subscribe below)