Around the world, the vast majority of people are flocking to cities not to dwell in their centres but to live in the new suburbs expanding their outer limits. Reflecting this, from 2000 to 2015, the expansion of urbanised land worldwide outpaced urban population growth. The result is unprecedented urban sprawl.
Expansive suburbs of single-family, freestanding housing are ubiquitous in countries such as Australia, the US and the UK. Most Australians still aspire to own a large detached house in the suburbs.
Public resistance to so-called infill development is unlikely to be overcome without a major change in how cities approach urban densification. We advocate greenspace-oriented development, or GOD, which provides substantial, public green spaces to serve surrounding higher-density neighbourhoods.