Urban Planning Tools for Climate Change Mitigation
Land use patterns and urban form can strongly impact an urban community’s contribution to global climate change through the production of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Key contributors to a city’s climate footprint include the physical arrangement of streets and public transportation infrastructure, building types, and land uses that influence both vehicle use and energy consumption in buildings.
City and regional officials now facing new greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirements are increasingly turning to urban design as a key component of climate change mitigation. But implementing an urban planning strategy that includes effective climate change mitigation techniques requires decision support tools that illustrate the GHG implications of land use and transportation options. While a wide spectrum of environmental urban planning tools currently exists, few have the capacity to work simultaneously at both the regional and local scale, or to capture both building performance and transportation demand analysis.
This report reviews existing tools that help urban planners address climate change mitigation, analyzing the tools’ scope, scale, methodology, and policy support, and presents four case studies illustrating how existing tools at various stages of development have been used.
About the Authors
Patrick M. Condon is a professor in the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, holder of the James Taylor Chair in Landscape and Livable Environments, and a senior researcher at the Design Centre for Sustainability at the University of British Columbia. He was a visiting fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in 2007–2008.
Duncan Cavens is a postdoctoral fellow in the University of British Columbia School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the time of publication. His research focuses on urban modeling and simulation tools for use in participatory processes.
Nicole Miller is a Ph.D. candidate in Resource Management and Environmental Studies at the University of British Columbia, and researcher at the Design Centre for Sustainability at the time of publication. Her work focuses on development patterns as a method of modeling the GHG implications of urban form at the neighborhood, municipal, and regional scales.