Urban Form as a Technological Driver of Carbon Dioxide Emission: A Structural Human Ecology Analysis of Onroad and Residential Sectors in the Conterminous U.S.

TR Number
Date
2020-09-21
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
MDPI
Abstract

This study investigates the role of urban form as a technological driver of U.S. CO2 emissions for the onroad and residential sectors. The STIRPAT (Stochastic Impacts by Region on Population, Affluence, and Technology) human structural ecology framework is extended by drawing from science and technology studies (STS) to theorize urban form as a sociotechnical system involving practices and knowledge that contribute to urban land use as a material artifact on the landscape influencing emissions. Questions addressed are: (1) “What is the influence of urban form on total sector CO2 emissions?” and (2) “How does the influence of urban form on CO2 emissions differ for metropolitan versus non-metropolitan status?” Spatial error regression models were estimated using county-level CO2 emissions data from Project Vulcan. The National Land Cover Dataset (NLCD) was used to quantify measures of urban form. Other independent variables were derived from U.S. Census data. Results demonstrate carbon reduction benefits achievable through a developed land use mix containing a greater proportion of high intensity relative to low intensity use. Urban form matters, but it matters differently in terms of sign, significance, and interpretation depending on emission sector and metro versus non-metro status. A focus on urban form provides policymakers potential leverage for carbon mitigation efforts that focus on total emissions as opposed to per capita emission. A feature of the research is its integration of concepts and theory from structural human ecology, STS, land change science, and GIScience.

Description
Keywords
CO2 emissions, urban form, STIRPAT, socio-technical system, land change science, GIScience
Citation
Crawford, T.W. Urban Form as a Technological Driver of Carbon Dioxide Emission: A Structural Human Ecology Analysis of Onroad and Residential Sectors in the Conterminous U.S.. Sustainability 2020, 12, 7801.