Towns and cities in the EU Member States, particularly in those countries that joined the Union in the 21st century, are growing at a fast pace and often without any clear vision. Residential areas are moving away from the centre, giving rise to problems relating to transport, the distribution of resources and the development of utilities networks. Urban development is therefore having a negative impact on the environment, and energy consumption is on the increase.
In 1990, the Commission’s green paper on the urban environment recommended the compact city as an environmentally sound development model. Recently, there has been a growing tendency towards the multi-centre urban development model. What are the EU’s recommendations concerning sustainable, environmentally sound urban development? What arguments exist in support of each of the development models, and on what data are the recommendations based?