Urban structure and energy efficiency

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Transforming cities’ energy use to address the threats of climate change and resource scarcity is a main challenge in local governance. The EU-FP7 project PLEEC – “Planning for Energy Efficient Cities” – uses an integrative approach to elaborate pathways, considering diverse challenges and requirements, for energy efficient and sustainable urban development. This paper addresses the challenges of urban energy policy from an urban structure related angle. The relationship of energy and urban structure is investigated by means of a literature review and indepth knowledge from three case studies of medium-sized Northern European cities. The study takes stock of the current state of energy in urban development and policy, and reveals current options and constraints of energy efficient urban development. The case cities go in some ways ahead their national climate and energy policy and aim to establish urban planning as an instrument to regulate and influence the city’s transformation process in a sustainable way. At the same time the cities are constantly facing goal conflicts which induce dilemmas in their strategic orientation and planning activities (e.g. regional enlargement and increased commuting vs. compact urban development). We conclude that applying a broader understanding of urban structure than usually encountered in the academic literature turns out as a suitable framework in order to address the challenges of energy efficient urban development.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Definite Space – Fuzzy Responsibility, Prague, 13-16th July, 2015
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