The compact city has become one of the staple concepts in 21st-century urban theory and policy, as it aims for a more sustainable future, considering contemporary global environmental and climate crises as well as rapid global urbanization. Meanwhile, urbanization is not only increasing its impact on the world but also resulting in an increasingly heterogenous global settlement pattern of urban spaces, including the mobility of theoretical and policy tools across this landscape of settlements. Nevertheless, like many urban theories and policies, the compact city is primarily discussed, practiced, and researched in cities that surpass scalar thresholds that some hold as required to be deemed urban and worthy of consideration, thus not capturing the full variety of settlements worldwide but, instead, a progressively smaller fraction of them. As a result, most smaller settlements – regardless of their recognition as a city or not – are less equipped to engage with compact city theories and policies. Bias towards large-scale settlements risks that smaller settlements will be overlooked entirely when it comes to compact transformations, or that smaller settlements will fail in attempts to do so because of a lack of understanding of small-scale settlements and how compact qualities uniquely interact with such scalar contexts. Therefore, this thesis reframes the compact city as a theory of compact urbanism, applicable in settlements of any scale, and builds a theoretical and policy platform for compact urbanism in small, remote settlements, which represent a scalar context that is furthest from those that dominate the urban field. This is done using qualitative and comparative analyses of data collected from walking interviews with laypeople in four remote settlements, each with under 10,000 inhabitants, in Northern Norway and the Scottish Highlands and Islands. The findings demonstrate how the scale of small, remote settlements uniquely influence many aspects of compact urbanism, framed through the characteristics of density, mixed land use, and non-car dependency, and how these qualities should be accounted for in compact transformations in small, remote settlements. Ultimately, this thesis makes a case for why scale needs to be decoupled from urban theory altogether in favor of an urban theory, including but not limited to compact urbanism, that recognizes the complexity of scale in the study of the material and social dimensions of global settlements.