Using comparative socio-ecological modeling to support Climate Action Planning (CAP)

Haozhi Pan, Jessica Page, Le Zhang, Si Chen, Cong Cong, Georgia Destouni, Zahra Kalantari, Brian Deal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a comparative socio-ecological modeling approach to identify possible improvement opportunities for Climate Action Plans (CAPs), focusing on two cities, Chicago and Stockholm. The aim is to provide a tool for capturing and addressing deep-rooted behavioral and institutional preferences that may aggravate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in cities. Socio-economic activities, land use change, and future urban forms are considered and forecast to the year 2040 on 30m × 30m spatial grids. GHG emissions associated with these urban development aspects are calculated and compared between the cities. Innovative policy instruments for growth control and zoning (GCZ) are simulated and tested through the socio-ecological model, to determine their effectiveness when added to other interventions included in the CAPs. Our findings show that behavioral/institutional preference for sprawl, its low-density form, and resultant carbon sink losses are main factors driving current and future residential and transportation GHG emissions in Chicago. GCZ policies are shown to counteract and mitigate around 20% of these factors in the form of future GHG emissions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-42
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
StatePublished - Sep 20 2019


  • Climate action planning
  • Comparative urban study
  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Land use
  • Socio-ecological modeling
  • Urban planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Environmental Science
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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