Metropolitan planning policy in Australia has focussed on creating more compact cities for the past twenty years. Yet the multi-nodal expression of Australian compact city policies has, to date, proven difficult to implement (Newton and Glackin 2014; Chhetri et al. 2013; Woodcock et al. 2011; Bunker 2014). Much of the existing research examining progress towards the compact city is based on data that is now 10 years old, thereby omitting the significant growth in infill residential development that has occurred more recently in Australian cities. In this presentation, we outline a new method to investigate longitudinal changes in population, land use, and built form in activity centres. We firstly describe the challenges involved in using common data sources and methods, before showing how the use of Google Street View, aerial imagery, and census data can be combined to overcome these challenges and provide a simple and accessible method to track changes indicative of the compact city. Preliminary findings from the application of this method to nominated activity centres in the Greater Brisbane area reveal signs of significant progress in some centres, however overall progress remains mixed. Future research that examines these results in combination with land use policy, transit accessibility, property valuations, and employment changes may highlight important implications for the planning of future compact city development.