Compact Integrated and Connected Cities

Principles, Benefits, and Strategies for Sustainable Urban Environments

Compact, integrated and connected cities represent a contemporary and sustainable approach to urban development. These cities seek to optimize land use, promote social cohesion and improve connectivity through efficient and accessible infrastructures.

 This article explores the principles, benefits and strategies of compact, integrated and connected cities, highlighting how they can contribute to creating more sustainable, liveable and resilient urban environments.

Principles of Compact, Integrated and Connected Cities

  1. Compactness:

Compactness refers to the densification of land use to maximize efficiency and accessibility. In a compact city, urban developments are denser, with housing, shops, and services located in close proximity, reducing the need for long commutes.

Example: The development of mixed-use neighborhoods where housing, offices, shops, and recreational spaces are all within walking or biking distance, encouraging a more active lifestyle and reducing reliance on the car.


Integration involves the inclusion of diverse land uses and the creation of urban environments that promote social cohesion and accessibility. This includes the integration of different types of housing, green spaces, infrastructure, and public services.

Example: Urban development projects that combine affordable housing, schools, health centers, parks, and commercial areas in the same neighborhood, promoting diversity and equal opportunities for all residents.


Connectivity refers to the creation of efficient and accessible infrastructures that facilitate movement and communication within the city. This includes public transportation networks, bike paths, pedestrian paths, and communication technologies.

Example: Efficient and well-connected public transport networks that facilitate fast and accessible travel to all areas of the city, combined with ICT infrastructures that improve communication and access to information.

Benefits of Compact, Integrated, and Connected Cities

  1. Environmental Sustainability:

Compact cities reduce urban sprawl and destruction of natural habitats, while mixed-use integration and efficient connectivity decrease dependence on the car and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Example: Promoting public transport and the use of bicycles instead of private cars significantly reduces the city’s carbon footprint, while urban densification allows more natural areas and green spaces to be conserved.

2.Improved Quality of Life:

Compact, integrated, and connected cities improve quality of life by facilitating access to essential services, reducing commuting times, and promoting social interaction. The availability of public spaces and green areas contributes to the physical and mental well-being of citizens.

Example: Creating urban parks and public squares where citizens can meet, exercise and relax improves mental and physical health, while proximity to services such as schools, health centres and shops makes daily life more convenient and fulfilling.

3.Social Cohesion and Equity:

The integration of different types of housing and services in mixed neighbourhoods promotes social cohesion and reduces inequalities. Connectivity improves access to job and educational opportunities, favoring social inclusion.

Example: Neighborhoods that combine affordable housing with market options, along with schools, health centers, and recreational spaces, promote a diverse and equitable community where all citizens have access to the same opportunities and services.

4.Economic development:

Densification and mixed-use integration create environments conducive to trade and innovation. Well-connected areas attract investment and foster economic growth by facilitating access to markets and resources.

Example: Innovation districts and tech hubs that combine workspaces, housing, and recreational areas, attracting startups and tech companies looking for dynamic and well-connected environments.

Strategies for Implementing Compact, Integrated, and Connected Cities

  1. Comprehensive Urban Planning:

Develop urban plans that promote densification and the integration of land uses, ensuring a balanced distribution of housing, services and public spaces. Comprehensive planning must consider the current and future needs of the population.

Example: Urban master plans that include strategies for densification, the creation of mixed-use neighborhoods, and the expansion of public transportation infrastructure and green spaces, all with the active participation of the community.

2.Investment in Transport Infrastructure:

Invest in efficient and accessible public transport networks, as well as bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, to improve connectivity and reduce dependence on cars.

Example: Develop metro, light rail and bus networks that connect all areas of the city, complemented by safe bike lanes and pedestrian paths, promoting sustainable and accessible modes of transport.

3.Inclusionary Housing Policies:

Implement policies that promote the construction of affordable and diverse housing in terms of typology and price, ensuring that all citizens have access to adequate and affordable housing.

Example: Incentive programs for developers to build affordable housing in high place value areas, combined with regulations that require the inclusion of a percentage of affordable housing in new development.

4.Promotion of Citizen Participation:

Encourage the active participation of citizens in urban planning and management, ensuring that decisions reflect the needs and desires of the community. Citizen participation increases the legitimacy and success of urban initiatives.

Example: Digital platforms and community workshops where citizens can express their opinions and collaborate in the creation of urban development plans, ensuring that policies and projects reflect community priorities.

5.Use of Smart Technologies:

Implement smart technologies that improve urban management and connectivity. This includes the use of sensors, big data, and digital platforms to optimize infrastructure and public services.

Example: Traffic management systems based on real-time data, smart city platforms that integrate public services and geospatial data to improve efficiency and emergency response, and mobile applications that facilitate mobility and access to services.


Compact, integrated and connected cities represent a model of sustainable urban development that optimises land use, promotes social cohesion and improves connectivity. By adopting strategies for densification, integration and improvement of infrastructure, cities can create more liveable, inclusive and resilient urban environments. The implementation of smart policies and technologies is crucial to make the most of the benefits of this urban model, ensuring that all citizens can enjoy a better quality of life in a sustainable and connected environment.