Urban form and spatial structure as determinants of per capita greenhouse gas emissions considering possible endogeneity and compensation behaviors

Ivan Muñiz, Carolina Rojas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

© 2019 Elsevier Inc. Modifying the form and spatial structure of cities through urban planning can be an effective means to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in cities. The supporters of the Compact City Approach to urban sustainability propose dense and centralized urban systems. In the case of population density, they argue that it promotes displacements of foot and public transport, and that typical apartments of compact fabrics require less energy than single-family dwellings. Therefore, high density should lead to low GHG emissions. During the last decade this association has been questioned because: a) there may be compensatory behaviors (more energy consumption and more GHG emissions in mobility and housing during weekends and holidays, and b) the fact of not considering the effects of the endogeneity associated with self-selection. In this paper, we analyze population density as a determinant of mobility and residential GHG emissions in Gran Concepción (Chile) using multivariate regression models. The results obtained indicate that density does not exert a significant impact on GHG emissions in mobility and housing. It is income differences that mostly explain individual GHG emissions variability. This calls into question the possible effectiveness of compactness policies in regional, cultural and climatic contexts different from those of the US and Europe and are excessively oriented towards the maintenance and increase of density in urban centers and slowing down the expansion of suburban neighborhoods.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-87
JournalEnvironmental Impact Assessment Review
Volume76
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019

Keywords

  • Compact city approach
  • GHG emissions
  • Latin-American cities
  • Population density

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