The challenge of compact urban development in Nicaraguan secondary cities

Morton, Ian (2015) The challenge of compact urban development in Nicaraguan secondary cities. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria university.

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Urban sprawl has one definitive characteristic - low intensity/inefficient use of land (Ewing et al., 2008) (Downs, 2000) (Peiser, 2001). Residential densification is the increase in the density of residential land use to combat the negative effects of sprawl. There has been very little academic research on either urban sprawl or residential densification in the specific context of developing countries. This research seeks to address this by looking at the issues in four Nicaraguan secondary cities using a mixed methods approach.

This work develops, for the first time in Nicaragua, a housing typology for secondary cities and a consultation of urban planning professionals on sprawl, density and residential densification.

Eight housing types have been identified, six of which have average densities that are low or medium (but very close to the boundary with low). The other types are outliers with higher densities – one slightly higher, the other much higher.

The consultation has 17 participants and uses a 2-stage Delphi technique. There was consensus that damaging urban sprawl was occurring in each of the cities and that more compact development through residential densification would be beneficial.

Participants identified appropriate methods of residential densification for the case study cities, each of which upon analysis, fits into one of the categories established by the City of Capetown Spatial Planning and Urban Design Department (2009, p. 6): either higher density development ‘on greenfield sites ... within [a] ... city’s planned growth direction;’ or higher density development on ‘vacant infill sites’ within existing urban areas; or densification lot by lot within existing urban areas, on lots which are already developed.

The consultation revealed current barriers to residential densification, ranging from the enduring “culture of low housing density” in Nicaragua to poor financing options for families to include earthquake resistant foundations in their self-build properties, which would permit safe building on more than a single storey.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: K400 Planning (Urban, Rural and Regional)
L700 Human and Social Geography
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Architecture and Built Environment
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: Becky Skoyles
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2016 08:16
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 23:40

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