Does polycentric development produce less transportation carbon emissions? Evidence from urban form identified by night-time lights across US metropolitan areas

Meen Chel Jung, Mingyu Kang, Sunghwan Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations

Abstract

Identifying the comprehensive metropolitan urban form is important to propose effective policies to mitigate transportation carbon emissions. A publicly accessible night-time light dataset was used to identify urban centers and develop two polycentric indices to compute the composition and configuration of urban form, respectively. We used the most populous 103 U.S. metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), with their corresponding transportation carbon emissions, polycentric indices, population sizes, gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, and road network densities. We first explored the typology of urban form and classified MSAs into six types based on two polycentric indices. We then introduced correlation analysis and statistical models to test the relationships between polycentric urban form and transportation carbon emissions. We found: (1) more urban centers lead to more emissions (compositional dimension), (2) more spatially distributed urban centers result in less emissions (configurational dimension), and (3) population and GDP per capita are positively related to carbon emissions. These findings suggest the importance of measuring two polycentric dimensions separately but using them together. Urban planners should consider mixed strategies that combine the traditional intra-center-based smart growth principles and the metropolitan-level inter-centers spatial plan to effectively counteract climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101223
JournalUrban Climate
Volume44
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2022

Keywords

  • Carbon emissions
  • Climate change
  • Night-time lights
  • Polycentric urban form
  • Smart growth
  • Urban centers

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