URBAN FORM AND ENERGY CONSERVATION IN THE TRANSPORTATION SECTOR
Doctor of Architecture
A major determinant of energy conservation is the physical form of an urban area. Different forms and structures offer inherently different possibilities for conserving energy. This is particularly evident in the transportation sector where the conjunction of population density, employment opportunity, transportation system, and service characteristics largely determine the levels of savings that can be attained. With development and redevelopment, urban form and its structure change, sometimes making transitions to radically different "states". Thus, the problem confronting policy makers, interested in saving energy, might be seen as one of appropriately guiding development in the direction of various urban forms, or morphological "states", offering further opportunities for energy savings. This problem is complicated by the necessity of sustaining acceptable levels of social benefits, variously expressed by attributes such as mobility, development density and public expenditure. Furthermore, political pressure often constrains policy-making within a relatively short time-frame, yielding immediate gains that do not maximize longer term benefits. Data are developed, using a sequence of computer models, describing salient formal and performance characteristics of a number of theoretical urban forms, or morphological structures. These data are further related within an overall structure of transportation supply and demand (and the identified domains within the framework) within which maximum energy benefits are to be found. Estimations are then made of costs associated with moving from one morphological state to another. These estimations are portrayed as gradients, or surfaces, within a computer-generated three-space, where measures of "level of effort" (cost), morphological type and energy performance form the independent axes. Movement along the surfaces, occasioned by policy initiatives, are then dynamically represented by interchanging surfaces, depending upon the position within the three-space. As a policy-making objective, the aim might be to traverse the surfaces in order to attain higher levels of energy performance with minimum cost. The features of the surfaces also suggest sectors in which achievement of such an objective may be prohibitive. The results of the study suggest a planning approach towards managing dynamics rather than the achievement of some arbitrary end conditions. This issue represents a different view of planning, which may be regarded as a radical departure from traditional orthodox practices.
Urban planning; Regional planning