Urban form, land use patterns, and the type of structures significantly influence a city's energy needs, and consequently, its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Engineering and design of urban form is an important strategy for managing climate change and other environmental impacts of energy, as well as being key to the livability of cities. This project aims to clarify connections among urban form and use, and their impact on water and energy use in the built environment (buildings, transportation infrastructure, and paved surfaces). Specific research questions addressed are:
1. How do different urban forms and patterns of land use contribute to energy use and GHG emissions?
2. How does urban energy use and GHG emissions evolve as a community changes over time?
3. How do socioeconomic characteristics of the population influence these patterns of land use and travel behavior together with their implications for energy, water, and emissions?
These questions are addressed by building a networked infrastructure model, which represents the life cycle energy use of buildings and transport by mapping energy use in travel analysis zones (TAZ) to a spatial network connected according to residents’ travel between TAZs for different purposes. For example, retail building energy use for an area becomes a distributed network according to where residents are travelling for shopping trips. The model tracks dynamics through building a retrospective time series, through which the evolution of the network of energy use as an area develops, can be tracked. The implications for water demand are also examined in separate projects. The model accounts for life cycle impacts in that construction/manufacture, operation and end-of-life of buildings, roads and vehicles are included. The model is implemented through case studies of two Phoenix sub-areas, one in downtown Phoenix, which is undergoing redevelopment towards higher density housing and the second, a low-density suburban area at the edge of Phoenix, which has undergone significant growth in the last two decades.