Urban form, transportation and greenhouse gas emissions: Experiences in the Nordic countries

Irmeli Harmaajärvi, Sirkka Heinonen, Pekka Lahti

Research output: Book/ReportReport


Urban form has direct and indirect effects on greenhouse gas emissions. It affects via buildings and infrastructure, energy consumption, energy production systems, waste management, need for transportation, distances, accessibility, modal split, prerequisites for public transportation, walking and cycling etc. Urban sprawl has been a common and continuing trend in many countries. The same trend can be recognised in the Nordic countries as well. By preventing urban sprawl it would be possible to reduce annual transportation emissions, the emissions from residential and service buildings and the emissions from infrastructure. In Finland it is possible to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions by 2.3 million tonnes, which amounts to 15 % of Finland's target for emissions reductions in 2010. This is the result of a recent study utilising advanced GIS techniques and several country-wide databases concerning built environment (buildings and infrastructure) integrated with impact assessment tools. Instruments to develop urban form and transportation systems in a sustainable way to decrease greenhouse gas emissions in the Nordic countries are collected in an ongoing project completed during 2003. Instruments might concern control of urban development, supporting residential activities in city centres, control of location of shopping malls, preventing long commuting trips, reduction of transportation need and car dependency and promotion of walking, cycling and public transport.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEspoo
PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Number of pages84
Publication statusPublished - 2004
MoE publication typeD4 Published development or research report or study

Publication series

SeriesVTT Research Report
NumberRTE 2108/04


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