In Western nations there is a comforting notion that, at least, an answer has been found to achieving sustainable urban forms. The paradigm that has been promoted is for the high-density, mixed-use, transport-efficient and socially and economically viable built form. This has been embodied in European policy since the early 1990s (Commission of the European Communities 1990) and numerous examples of ‘sustainable’ environments have been built in the United Kingdom, Europe and the West (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment [CABE] 2008). One of the dominant concepts behind these policies and examples is that of the compact city – claiming to satisfy the triple bottom line of sustainable development: environmental, social and economic sustainability.