Is Urban Intensification the Best Way to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions?


Dense downtown living more carbon intense due to higher consumption: a case study of Helsinki (10 page pdf, Jukka Heinonen, Riikka Kyr¨o and Seppo Junnila, Environ. Res. Lett., Sep. 26, 2011)

Today’s review article (partly) turns on its head the assumption by urban planners that intensification of the urban population is a worthy objective from an environmental and infrastructure point of view. This is based on a comprehensive cradle to grave assessment of CO2 emissions. Results indicate that a densely populated population core emits more than their suburban cousins for all categories of emissions except ground transportation because of the higher consumption of goods and services there. This conclusion may not be true of cities where the high consumer population lives in the suburbs but is a clear signal for planners to make their assessments on more than a transportation basis. Density may be a preferred option for other reasons but not necessarily for climate mitigation.

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

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