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Greenhouse Gas Implications of Urban Sprawl in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area

Author

Listed:
  • 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)

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Sanna Ala-Mantila & Jukka Heinonen & Seppo Junnila, 2013. "Greenhouse Gas Implications of Urban Sprawl in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(10), pages 1-18, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:5:y:2013:i:10:p:4461-4478:d:29720
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Eeva-Sofia Säynäjoki & Jukka Heinonen & Seppo Junnila, 2014. "The Power of Urban Planning on Environmental Sustainability: A Focus Group Study in Finland," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(10), pages 1-22, September.
    2. Guangwu Chen & Thomas Wiedmann & Michalis Hadjikakou & Hazel Rowley, 2016. "City Carbon Footprint Networks," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(8), pages 1-16, July.
    3. Chen, Guangwu & Wiedmann, Thomas & Wang, Yafei & Hadjikakou, Michalis, 2016. "Transnational city carbon footprint networks – Exploring carbon links between Australian and Chinese cities," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 184(C), pages 1082-1092.
    4. Anderson, John E. & Wulfhorst, Gebhard & Lang, Werner, 2015. "Energy analysis of the built environment—A review and outlook," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 149-158.

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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