Optimal urban form for global and local emissions under electric vehicle and renewable energy scenarios

Martina Siskova*, Jeroen van den Bergh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We determine which urban form generates minimal global and local emissions. To this end, we develop a spatial accounting model of a circular city consisting of six zones. Activities comprise low and high density housing, offices and industry. Spatial interactions among activities give rise to freight and passenger transport. We assess global emissions of greenhouse gases due to the direct and indirect use of coal, oil and gas by economic activities and transport. In addition, we calculate local emissions which are zone-specific. Distribution and health effects of such emissions are also taken into account. The model analyses each urban form for various scenarios of distinct shares of electric vehicles in transport and of renewable energy in electricity production. Numerical exercises allow establishing a relationship between optimal urban form and shares of electric vehicles and renewable energy. We also derive transition paths to the most desirable urban form considering minimal transition effort. This may help urban planners to design a feasible time strategy for improving urban form in terms of emissions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100472
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
JournalUrban Climate
Early online date15 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019


  • Agglomeration
  • Climate change
  • Location
  • Transport
  • Urban structure


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