Urban form, transportation and greenhouse gas emissions

Experiences in the Nordic countries

image of Urban form, transportation and greenhouse gas emissions

The Nordic countries have a lot of common features concerning urban form and transportation. Urban structure and land use have a great impact on transport volumes and on modal split and thereby also on the amount of transport related greenhouse gas emissions. Urban sprawl has been a continuous trend in all Nordic countries for decades. Intervention to this process is commonly seen as an important task. A relatively high density of urban areas, well-functioning and accessible public transport as well as high quality cycling and walking networks are measures that are most commonly referred to when aiming at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These measures will promote other environmental and transport policy objectives as well. Instruments to develop urban form and transportation systems to reduce greenhouse gas emissions can be found in all planning and decision-making levels and sectors. These include especially land use and transport planning, urban design, certain types of taxation, financing of urban infrastructure, traffic pricing and parking policies as well as new ICT-related technologies. Better cooperation between researchers, politicians, civil servants and citizens is needed to find deeper understanding about economic, social and environmental long-term effects of decisions concerning urban development. Common understanding and interpretation of problems in the Nordic countries can promote favorable national solutions and decisions.



Links between urban form and greenhouse gas emissions

Urban form can be generally defined as the entire built environment including buildings and networks in both urban and rural areas. Although the object of the project is to define impacts of urban form to greenhouse gas emissions, changes and development of urban form and transportation have also economic, other ecological as well as social impacts. Many of them affect to the same direction, i.e at the same time can be gained positive impacts both on greenhouse gas emissions and other emissions, costs, use of natural resources, health and social welfare. Policies to control urban form have many other targets additional to climate change related.


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