Eric Jaffe

Posts by Eric Jaffe

Recent research has shown that cities produce lower amounts of greenhouse gas emissions than suburbs do, on a per capita basis. The thinking here, broadly speaking, is that dense residential buildings and public transit systems are more energy efficient than large personal dwellings and private transportation modes. According to a new study conducted by a pair of Finnish researchers, this approach is flawed because it fails to account for all emissions related to “consumer behavior.”

Jukka Heinonen and Seppo Junnila of Aalto University in Finland performed a life-cycle comparison of emissions in two metropolitan areas: Helsinki and Tampere. Each area has a dense urban core as well as two surrounding suburban regions. The researchers included typical variables like building and transportation energy use in their analysis, but also added consumption factors such as leisure goods and services. Keep reading →