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Intersections of Jane Jacobs’ conditions for diversity and low-carbon urban systems: a look at four global cities

Mohareb, E. ORCID:, Derrible, S. and Peiravian, F. (2016) Intersections of Jane Jacobs’ conditions for diversity and low-carbon urban systems: a look at four global cities. Journal of Urban Planning and Development, 142 (2). 05015004. ISSN 1943-5444

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)UP.1943-5444.0000287


Countless cities are rapidly developing across the globe, pressing the need for clear urban planning and design recommendations geared towards sustainability. This article examines the intersections of Jane Jacobs’ four conditions for diversity with low-carbon and low-energy use urban systems in four cities around the world: Lyon (France), Chicago (United-States), Kolkata (India), and Singapore (Singapore). After reviewing Jacobs’ four conditions for diversity, we introduce the four cities and describe their historical development context. We then present a framework to study the cities along three dimensions: population and density, infrastructure development/use, and climate and landscape. These cities differ in many respects and their analysis is instructive for many other cities around the globe. Jacobs’ conditions are present in all of them, manifested in different ways and to varying degrees. Overall we find that the adoption of Jacobs' conditions seems to align well with concepts of low-carbon urban systems, with their focus on walkability, transit-oriented design, and more efficient land use (i.e., smaller unit sizes). Transportation sector emissions seems to demonstrate a stronger influence from the presence of Jacobs' conditions, while the link was less pronounced in the building sector. Kolkata, a low-income, developing world city, seems to possess many of Jacobs' conditions, while exhibiting low per capita emissions - maintaining both of these during its economic expansion will take careful consideration. Greenhouse gas mitigation, however, is inherently an in situ problem and the first task must therefore be to gain local knowledge of an area before developing strategies to lower its carbon footprint.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of the Built Environment > Energy and Environmental Engineering group
ID Code:44980
Publisher:American Society of Civil Engineers


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