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Greenhouse Gas Implications of Urban Sprawl in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area

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  • Sanna Ala-Mantila

    ()
    (Department of Real Estate, Planning and Geoinformatics, Aalto University School of Engineering, P.O. Box 15800, FI-00076 AALTO, Finland)

  • Jukka Heinonen

    ()
    (Department of Real Estate, Planning and Geoinformatics, Aalto University School of Engineering, P.O. Box 15800, FI-00076 AALTO, Finland)

  • Seppo Junnila

    ()
    (Department of Real Estate, Planning and Geoinformatics, Aalto University School of Engineering, P.O. Box 15800, FI-00076 AALTO, Finland)

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    Abstract

    Suburban households living in spacious detached houses and owing multiple cars are often seen as main culprits for negative greenhouse consequences of urban sprawl. Consequently, the effects of sprawl have been mostly studied from the viewpoints of emissions from home energy consumption and private driving. Little attention has been paid to the changes in other consumption. In this paper, urban sprawl is linked to the proliferation of semi-detached and detached housing, described as a low-rise lifestyle, at the expense of apartment house living i.e. , high-rise lifestyle. We analyze differences between the low-rise and the high-rise lifestyles and their environmental effects in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, taking into account all consumption activities. Environmental effects are assessed by combining greenhouse gas intensities from a consumption-based environmentally-extended input-output (EE I-O) model with expenditure data. Then these carbon footprints are further elucidated with regression analysis. We find that low-rise lifestyles causes approximately 14% more emissions than high-rise lifestyles. However, the relative contributions of emissions from different sources, whether direct or indirect, are almost equal for both. Furthermore, when controlling the level of expenditure, the differences between the two lifestyles unexpectedly disappear and in certain cases are even reversed. We believe that our consumption-based approach facilitates the understanding of sprawling lifestyles and offers important insights for sustainable policy-design and urban planning.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Sustainability.

    Volume (Year): 5 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 10 (October)
    Pages: 4461-4478

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    Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:5:y:2013:i:10:p:4461-4478:d:29720

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    Related research

    Keywords: environmental sustainability; density; urban sprawl; Environmentally Extended Input-Output (EE I-O) analysis; cities; climate change;

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    1. Glaeser, Edward L. & Kahn, Matthew E., 2010. "The greenness of cities: Carbon dioxide emissions and urban development," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 404-418, May.
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    7. Thomas Wiedmann, 2009. "Editorial: Carbon Footprint And Input-Output Analysis - An Introduction," Economic Systems Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(3), pages 175-186.
    8. Weber, Christopher L. & Matthews, H. Scott, 2008. "Quantifying the global and distributional aspects of American household carbon footprint," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2-3), pages 379-391, June.
    9. Shammin, Md. R. & Herendeen, Robert A. & Hanson, Michelle J. & Wilson, Eric J.H., 2010. "A multivariate analysis of the energy intensity of sprawl versus compact living in the U.S. for 2003," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(12), pages 2363-2373, October.
    10. Druckman, Angela & Jackson, Tim, 2009. "The carbon footprint of UK households 1990-2004: A socio-economically disaggregated, quasi-multi-regional input-output model," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(7), pages 2066-2077, May.
    11. Herendeen, Robert & Tanaka, Jerry, 1976. "Energy cost of living," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 165-178.
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