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Creating sustainability benefits by planning for integration of garden cities in the urban scale

Panel: 5. A smart new start for sustainable communities

This is a peer-reviewed paper.

Efstathia Vlassopoulou, eceee President, Sweden
Agneta Persson, Anthesis, Sweden


Nowadays, more than half of the world’s population lives in urban areas, and in the following years urbanization is expected to keep its upward trend. The morphological attributes of an urban area (density, land uses, building types and respective emissions, transport infrastructure etc.) can significantly affect its performance in all three sustainability aspects: environmental, economic, and social. Therefore, a holistic view is crucial in urban planning, so that all aspects are taken into consideration and the correct balance between all of the integrated features is achieved.

Contemporary garden cities are characterized by moderate density, with a variety of low-rise building types and services, private gardens and wide, planted roads, so that the air can freely circulate, and solar light can penetrate the houses. The sense of belonging that is created in such configurations, where residents are not getting stacked in small areas, together with the provision of green areas in proximity create the appropriate conditions for a sustainable community. In the Swedish context, garden cities are directly related to wood constructions, thus the main construction material is wood which is a sustainable material with a low carbon footprint.

This paper focuses on a life cycle assessment comparison of the carbon footprint between two imaginary urban-form configurations: a contemporary garden city and a dense compact city, both built in a suburban area in Stockholm. Two sensitivity analyses are provided to examine a different set-up scenario and the effect of using different materials in the building types of the compact city. Furthermore, the paper proposes a city planning configuration where an interchange between high density city centres and adequately dense garden cities is applied, thus succeeding a sustainable, multidisciplinary urban planning system that will be able to meet the needs of both the present and the future generations.

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Download this paper as pdf: 5-063-21_Vlassopoulou.pdf