The compact city is deemed to be a sustainable city, by governmental agencies, stakeholders and vested interest constituents. Higher density living is seen as a desirable contribution to genuinely sustainable urbanity, the greater number of people, the richer the community; “urbanity is based on density”, urban sprawl in un-sustainable. Development of brown field sites is seen as key to accommodating the exponential rise in the urban population. Former industrial complexes are being ‘revitalized’ into domiciles, centres of commerce and recreation zones, but at what cost? This paper considers the impact of the transition from industrial to residential urban habitats and assesses the role of design in creating harmonious attachments to these developments for their inhabitants. It correspondingly examines the critical application of diverse ecologies in this process and the potential to establish notions of place and a more sustainable environment. The urban landscape is a trans-disciplinary design construct, the creation of ecologically diverse landscapes within brown field developments is an achievable goal, but the design rationale and application should be contextually plausible. These themes are evaluated and the design options reviewed, in the mission to build a more eco-diverse, human friendly, urban renewal design paradigm.