Urban structure, energy and planning: findings from three cities in Sweden, Finland and Estonia

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Transforming energy use in cities to address the threats of climate change and resource scarcity is a major challenge in urban development. This study takes stock of the state of energy in urban policy and planning and reveals potentials of and constraints to energy-efficient urban development. The relationship between energy and urban structure provides a framework for discussing the role of urban planning to increase energy efficiency in cities by means of three in-depth case studies of medium-sized cities in Northern Europe: Eskilstuna in Sweden, Turku in Finland and Tartu in Estonia. In some ways these cities go ahead when it comes to their national climate and energy policies and aim to establish urban planning as an instrument to regulate and influence the city’s transition in a sustainable way. At the same time, the cities are constantly facing goal conflicts and limitations to their scope of action, which creates dilemmas in their strategic orientation and planning activities (e.g. regional enlargement and increased commuting vs. compact urban development).
Finally, considering urban form and spatial structure along with the policy context as well as regional drivers and functional relations is suggested as a suitable approach for addressing the challenges of energy-efficient urban development.
Original languageEnglish
JournalUrban Planning
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)24-40
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Science - Energy efficiency, Urban form, Climate change, Urban Planning, sustainable development, Northern Europe

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