The influence of urban form on GHG emissions in the U.S. household sector

Sungwon Lee, Bumsoo Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To better understand the role of sustainable urban development in greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation, this study examines the paths by which urban form influences an individual household's carbon dioxide emissions in the 125 largest urbanized areas in the U.S. Our multilevel SEM analyses show that doubling population-weighted density is associated with a reduction in CO2 emissions from household travel and residential energy consumption by 48% and 35%, respectively. Centralized population and polycentric structures have only a moderate impact in our analyses. Given that household travel and residential energy use account for 42% of total U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, these findings highlight the importance of smart growth policies to build more compact and transit friendly cities as a crucial part of any strategic efforts to mitigate GHG emissions and to stabilize climate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)534-549
Number of pages16
JournalEnergy Policy
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Household sector
  • Urban form

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy(all)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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