Household consumption and ecological footprints in Norway - Does Urban Form matter?

Journal of consumer policy

The research presented in this article shows that the extent of environmentally harmful household consumption varies substantially with the physical/structural conditions in housing areas. The empirical results regarding urban size, density, and distance to the city centre can be related to the concept of the compact city. This is a concept which has been highly focused on in the 1990s discourse on sustainable urban development, and the amount of international research literature has become quite impressive. The authors' research supports the assumption that compact urban structures would lead to reductions in the ecological footprints of households and their houses. Firstly because shorter internal distances between the houses and public and private services give less mobility. Secondly because dense and concentrated types of housing give less energy use for heating and other technical equipment. In addition other forms of environmentally harmful consumption – the material housing consumption – are also less extensive in compact urban structures.