The influence of urban form compactness on CO2 emissions and its threshold effect: Evidence from cities in China

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  • Guanqiao Ding
  • Jie Guo
  • Steven G. Pueppke
  • Jialin Yi
  • Minghao Ou
  • Weixin Ou
  • Yu Tao

Although compact urban form plays an important role in constraining emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the boundary for the impact of compact urban form on these emissions has nevertheless received little attention. We consequently applied the entropy weight method and several key landscape metrics to a dataset from 295 cities in China to quantify urban form compactness (UFC) between 2000 and 2015. The STIRPAT model then was employed to estimate the impact of UFC on CO2 emissions, and a panel threshold regression model was used to estimate threshold effects capable of limiting the impact of compact urban form on emissions. Although CO2 emissions increased sharply over the 15-year study period, a significant negative relationship between UFC and CO2 emissions was detected. Two thresholds of UFC were detected, and this allowed three categories to be differentiated: before the first threshold, between the two thresholds, and after the second threshold. These categories were respectively associated with no impact, strong impact, and weak impact of UFC on reduction of carbon emissions in the 295 cities. Carbon emissions reduction consequently becomes effective when the UFC exceeds the first threshold and effectiveness persists but at a reduced level when the UFC exceeds the second threshold. Further temporal analysis confirmed that an increasing number of mostly small- and medium-sized cities could constrain their future carbon emissions by adopting a compact urban form. Thus, government policies should emphasize UFC as a strategy to reduce CO2 emissions. Moreover, by defining the range of compact urban form that has the greatest impact on CO2 emissions, our study deepens the overall understanding of the influence of UFC on carbon emission reductions, so as to make contributions to the design of low-carbon cities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116032
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd

    Research areas

  • China, CO emissions, STIRPAT model, Threshold effect, Urban form compactness

ID: 323983850