Compact Urban Planing and Boundaries



Compact urban city planning generates prosperity and creates a homogeneous society. The well being of the city depends on the society that belongs there, however when there are even detached problematic boundaries it prevents the whole from being decent. Compact urban city planning can avoid the isolation of the society by breaking down the physical boundaries that might also create social boundaries if not paid attention. While Venice had a dense plan, a part of it known as Venetian Ghetto was isolated by both physical and social boundaries, which has taken away the prosperity of the city by the problems the sensitive area caused. Florence and London on the other hand, are cities that generated with a compact city planning without letting physical boundaries. They kept their level of prosperity and homogeneity even in the periods that immigration rose rapidly. Venice, as oppose to London and Florence, portrays how the physical disconnection in urban planning prevents the prosperity and the health of the society, which also causes social isolation.

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Furthermore, one of the most significant examples of how physical disconnection prevents prosperity is the Venetian Ghetto in Venice, Italy. This was initially a region in Venice where all the Jewish families were placed after the expansion of their population following a group exit from Spain. The Jews were only allowed to exit the Ghetto and enter the regular city during the day and they were locked in the night. So if they needed something from the city they would have to wait until the morning. The Venetians, by doing that, they gradually turned this region into a ghetto since the Jewish population rose as time passed, however the life standards could not follow up the fast overpopulation. This had multiple negative effects not only to the Jewish community but also to the rest of the island. By putting these people on the corner, which is already divided by physical boundaries, the only outcome would be wretchedness and misery. People would become more aggressive and start harming the rest of the Venetians as a result of their isolation from the society. In addition, in Venice which was one the cities with dense urban planning and a very high prosperity in 1500’s, the social and physical boundaries were the only problematic urban issue that have started to interrupt the society’s safety. Dense urban planning should be implemented in order to prevent social isolations and that circulation around the city is not interrupted. In fact, the interruption to Venice’s dense plan and circulation was not the limitations brought to circulation of Jewish people, but also a very wide canal, Canal Grand, was serving as a wall between the city and the ghetto.


Moreover, Florence in the Renaissance is a working well example of dense urban planning. This is a city, which was designed in a way that became superior to other main cities. There was a lot of emphasis given to circulation and monuments. That is because they wanted to make every civilian’s life easier and more comfortable and also increase the attractiveness of the markets, trades, art that the city capitals provide. Dense urban planning worked as a great way to create immediate growth and development in Florence. Florence was one of the biggest European cities that let a lot of merchants, bankers, businessmen and art investors to dwell homogeneously in the city. Although there were class differences between the people due to socio-economical structure of the society’s culture, the city existed of a very compact urban planning. Nowadays in Florence, one could see that lots of the buildings were built in the fourteen and fifteen hundreds because that is when Florence was at its peak of growth and they are not constructed around a cosmic center or divided by a physical boundary. This is a technique to make the society more homogeneous and decent, that also makes the governing easier by improving the both city and the society. As a result, although there was a river, Fiume Arno, cutting through the dense plan in the center, it did not lead to physical or social boundaries. Bridges provided the access and there were a lot of attractions in the both sides of the Fiume Arno.


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Another city that the compact urban planning had helped its improvement was London during the 18th century. Although London was a very attractive trading and business center, neither The British Empire nor England had improved enough to make London a first world metropolis for business. London also had a physical boundary cutting through the dense city, which was the River Thames. The River Thames had never served as a boundary in the society, since there were bridges, which helped by making the city’s circulation vivid. The majority of the attractions were centered and especially with the industrial era London started to expand a push its limits rapidly. Even though there were some problems with the sudden overpopulation, the welfare of the city was balanced. London’s expansion around the existing city boundaries did not become detached areas from the society as it happened in the Venetian Ghetto, so the society had benefited from the dense city plan by having no social or physical boundaries.


In conclusion, the answer of using compact urban planning when a city is improving tends to prosperity. I strongly believe that both physical and social disconnection can have catastrophic results not only to the city itself, but also to the people of the city for a very long time period. This happens with the creation of ghettos as seen in the example of the Venetian ghetto, which harmed not only the Jewish people placed in the area, but also Venice as a whole, both socially and physically. Florence and London on the other side are two perfect examples of compact urban planning making easing the circulation and making the citizens’ life more comfortable. Thus, the prosperity comes from a homogeneous compact city plan without any social or physical boundaries.




Richard A. Goldthwaite, The Building of Renaissance Florence, Jhu Press, October, 1982

Clive Emsley, Timm Hitchcoock and Robert Shoemaker, “London History, Old Bailey Proceedings Online, version 7.0, 23 october 2013

Anonymous. The Geography of the Renaissance. The Renaissance Connection

Moment.  “Venice, Harlem and Beyond.”  Last modified May 2013.

Ruderman, David B.  Essential Papers on Jewish Culture in Renaissance and Baroque Italy.  New York, 1992.

Wikipedia.  “History of the Jews in Venice.”  Last modified May 2011.








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