© EURE. One of the most controversial aspects of the debate on urban sustainability is to what extent the overall environmental impact of cities is determined by its shape and spatial structure. Compact City Approach defenders argue that people living in the densest and central areas of large cities have a low environmental impact. Residential density and distance to the Central Business District (cbd) are the most common indicators proposed to capture urban spatial structure of cities. In this paper we estimate the ecological footprint of residential energy consumption, commuting and leisure purposes mobility from 475 surveys conducted in Concepción Metropolitan Area (Chile). After controlling for potential endogeneity problems and taken into account the socioeconomic aspects that may affect the value of the Ecological Footprint, residential density does not exercise significant influence, so compactness policies could prove ineffective. The results rule out that this result is due to the existence of compensatory behaviors that result in abnormally high mobility for leisure purposes in denser areas. Income is the main element explaining the observed variability in footprint values.