Magazine article Mortgage Banking

Compact Development Key to Urban Growth, Climate-Change Mitigation

Magazine article Mortgage Banking

Compact Development Key to Urban Growth, Climate-Change Mitigation

Article excerpt

According to a new report from the Urban Land Institute (ULI), Washington, D.C., compact development is a key component in efforts to mitigate climate change and promote sustainable urban growth.

The report, Land Use and Driving: The Role Compact Development Can Play in Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions, said that with the U.S. population projected to grow by more than 130 million by 2050 and with research showing the majority will continue to choose living in metropolitan areas, land use will continue to be critical to lowering overall greenhouse gas emissions by reducing driving and energy consumption.

"When people have the opportunity to work, play and shop closer to their homes, they drive less. This translates into reduced energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, and helps in the fight against climate change," the report said.

While sprawl has long been recognized for its effects on combined housing and transportation costs, quality of life and infrastructure, the ULI report points out that more compact development can dramatically have positive environmental implications.

Compact development--mixing residences and other buildings in pedestrian-and transit-friendly places--offers many benefits, the report said, from fostering emergence of vibrant, walkable communities to lowering infrastructure costs.

The report identifies trends in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and shows that there is a potential for reducing VMT by 8 percent to 18 percent between 2010 and 2050, when compact development will make up at least 60 percent of all future development. …

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