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The paradox of intensification

Author

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  • Melia, Steve
  • Parkhurst, Graham
  • Barton, Hugh

Abstract

Urban intensification as part of a smart growth strategy can facilitate low-energy transport modes and reduce overall car use, with benefits to the global environment, but evidence suggests the effect will be less than proportional. Hence, in locations where intensification occurs, greater concentrations of traffic tend to occur, and this worsens local environmental conditions. This phenomenon is defined below as the 'paradox of intensification'. The consequent challenges for planners and policymakers, which arise, are considered. The analysis suggests that a compromise involving limited intensification would merely redistribute the balance between the two sets of problems: global and local. It is concluded that urban intensification should be accompanied by more radical measures to constrain traffic generation within intensified areas.

Suggested Citation

  • Melia, Steve & Parkhurst, Graham & Barton, Hugh, 2011. "The paradox of intensification," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 46-52, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:trapol:v:18:y:2011:i:1:p:46-52
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Glaeser, Edward L. & Kahn, Matthew E., 2004. "Sprawl and urban growth," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics,in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 56, pages 2481-2527 Elsevier.
    2. Handy, Susan & Cao, Xinyu & Mokhtarian, Patricia L., 2005. "Correlation or causality between the built environment and travel behavior? Evidence from Northern California," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt5b76c5kg, University of California Transportation Center.
    3. Schwanen, Tim & Mokhtarian, Patricia L., 2005. "What Affects Commute Mode Choice: Neighborhood Physical Structure or Preferences Toward Neighborhoods?," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt4nq9r1c9, University of California Transportation Center.
    4. Dominic Stead, 2001. "Relationships between land use, socioeconomic factors, and travel patterns in Britain," Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 28(4), pages 499-528, July.
    5. Brownstone, David & Golob, Thomas F., 2009. "The impact of residential density on vehicle usage and energy consumption," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 91-98, January.
    6. Yusak Susilo & Kees Maat, 2007. "The influence of built environment to the trends in commuting journeys in the Netherlands," Transportation, Springer, vol. 34(5), pages 589-609, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Clark, Thomas A., 2013. "Metropolitan density, energy efficiency and carbon emissions: Multi-attribute tradeoffs and their policy implications," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 413-428.
    2. Padeiro, Miguel, 2014. "The influence of transport infrastructures on land-use conversion decisions within municipal plans," The Journal of Transport and Land Use, Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota, vol. 7(1), pages 79-93.
    3. repec:eee:trapol:v:65:y:2018:i:c:p:114-125 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:trapol:v:59:y:2017:i:c:p:93-105 is not listed on IDEAS

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