Seattle area looks at how walkable community design can cut global warming
Compact, mixed-use development linked to lowered greenhouse gases.Compact, mixed-use development linked to lowered greenhouse gases.
The world has just a short time in which to act decisively on climate change. King County, Washington, home to Seattle and a number of other population and employment centers in the Puget Sound region, offers a potentially important example of how governments can measure the relationship between land-use patterns and greenhouse gas emissions — and thus improve development across a region.
King County is working to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the Seattle area and bring future development more in line with smart-growth and new urbanist thinking. The county’s most recent comprehensive plan update calls for greenhouse gases to be slashed by 80 percent from 2007 levels by 2050. Our team has worked on two studies to support these efforts: a countywide census block group map of CO2 emissions from transport that can be used in development review, and the addition of climate change outcomes within a planning model known as I-PLACE3S developed by the Sacramento Council of Governments.
In applying research to policy, there is a tension between the need to act quickly and the need for more information. The tendency