A team of researchers at Aalto University has developed a new tool to help urban planners keep urban developments in line with climate goals.
A team of researchers at Aalto University has developed a new tool to help urban planners keep urban developments in line with climate goals. The tool provides a metric that planners can use to improve carbon-neutral planning of urban growth, which is essential for meeting carbon emission targets.
Urban growth commonly encroaches on forested areas and agricultural land. This means that cities consume carbon sinks as they grow, which makes it harder for municipalities and countries to reach the net-zero emissions targets that are vital to avoid a climate catastrophe. The new metric, called the carbon storage (CS) factor, reflects how much carbon can be captured in planned urban developments. It is described in a paper published in Environmental Research Letters.
The CS factor enables urban planners to evaluate how a new development will affect the city’s carbon balance. By comparing the amount of storage capacity lost (for example, from deforestation) with the CS factor of development plans that use different approaches and technologies, planners can ensure that urban development maintains or even restores the region’s natural carbon storage capacity.
Read more at Aalto University
Image: As cities expand into forests and agricultural land, what can be done to maintain the area's carbon storage capacity? (Photo: Tiina Forsberg / Aalto University)