Spatial Development and Energy Consumption

51 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2008 Last revised: 15 Oct 2008

See all articles by Elena Safirova

Elena Safirova

Resources for the Future

Sébastien Houde

ETH Zurich

Winston Harrington

Resources for the Future

Date Written: December 1, 2007

Abstract

Previous literature has suggested that the urban form (i.e., city size, density, and center distribution pattern) influences urban energy consumption. It has been argued that more dense development is likely to result in more energy-efficient and sustainable cities. However, very little is known about the precise magnitude of possible energy savings from more compact urban form. Moreover, practically no research has been done to investigate which urban policies are likely to be effective in making cities more energy efficient and to quantify those potential energy savings. In this paper, we discuss the potential effectiveness of urban policies at improving energy efficiency. First, we analyze several abstract scenarios suggested by the literature to see whether making a previously dispersed city more compact would result in improved energy efficiency. Then we model realistic transportation and land-use policies and examine whether those policies are likely to reduce energy consumption in the urban context.

Keywords: energy consumption, urban form, general equilibrium, land use, transportation, government policy

JEL Classification: D58, H23, Q48, R13, R14, R40, R5

Suggested Citation

Safirova, Elena and Houde, Sébastien and Harrington, Winston, Spatial Development and Energy Consumption (December 1, 2007). RFF Discussion Paper No. 07-51, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1087042 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1087042

Elena Safirova (Contact Author)

Resources for the Future ( email )

1616 P Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Sébastien Houde

ETH Zurich ( email )

Zurich
Switzerland

Winston Harrington

Resources for the Future ( email )

1616 P Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States
(202) 328-5112 (Phone)
(202) 939-3460 (Fax)

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