Measuring Carbon for Urban Development Planning

By Colin Beattie, Jessica Bunning, Joanne Stewart, Peter Newman and Martin Anda.

Published by The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper examines a framework for calculating carbon dioxide equivalent (CO₂-e) emissions in urban developments, including emissions inherent in: materials, construction, operation, transport, water, and waste processes over the life cycle of a development. The paper takes a holistic approach to urban design, to include not only the CO₂-e emissions inherent in the individual buildings but also in the infrastructure and service provision of the community as a whole metabolic system. A range of carbon assessment tools is examined to assess their capacity for measuring CO₂-e emissions in terms of this framework. The tools are reviewed for their applicability to four case studies in Western Australia: Peri-urban development (greenfield), Urban redevelopment (brownfield), Mining camps, and Indigenous communities, which demonstrate the type of settlement patterns that carbon assessment tools must respond to. The case studies are also indicative of the challenges facing other urban developments around the world in cutting CO₂-e emissions and enhancing sustainability. The results of the study show that two tools are currently available that can measure and model carbon emissions and carbon consequences of variations of design in urban developments. The tools CCAPPrecint and e-Tool are highlighted in this paper as outstanding examples.

Keywords: Development, Carbon, Planning, Urban, Sustainability, Tool, Lifecycle Analysis, Climate Change, Infrastructure, Transport, Water, Waste, Energy

The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp.35-52. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.169MB).

Colin Beattie

PhD Candidate, Humanities, Curtin University Sustainability Policy (CUSP) Institute, Fremantle, WA, Australia

Colin Beattie is a Ph.D. candidate looking at “Decarbonising Cities” as part of the Decarbonising Cities and Regions ARC Linkage Project run by the Curtin University Sustainability Policy (CUSP) Institute in Fremantle. His undergraduate studies were in Architecture at the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, where he graduated with a B.Sc. (hons) and a Post Graduate Diploma. Prior to returning to academia at CUSP, he worked for 14 years as a commercial architect, and it was with a move to Perth in 2004 that an interest in sustainable design grew. The majority of his experience was with large-scale commercial, retail, mixed use and transport projects most notably with the redevelopment of Fulham Broadway Underground Station in London’s West End. Colin also ran a small business as an architectural and industrial model maker between graduate and post graduate studies, producing intricate working models and 3D computer generated models including a detailed model of Aberdeen City Centre for the Robert Gordon University.

Jessica Bunning

PhD Candidate, Humanities, Curtin University Sustainability Policy (CUSP) Institute, Fremantle, WA, Australia

In 2010, Jessica received a Ph.D. scholarship at Curtin Sustainability Policy Institute in Fremantle, Australia and has been working on an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage project: ‘Decarbonising Cities and Regions.’ Her research focuses on distributed green infrastructure strategies (including governance) and technologies for reducing carbon emissions in a new urban development. The practical component requires developing a framework and applying it to case studies of low carbon urban development in Western Australia. Previously from 2004–2008, Jessica worked with UNESCO, World Heritage Centre and Ecological and Earth Sciences dept. in Paris as a Programme Specialist. This involved providing advisory and technical expertise to assist countries in technical cooperation projects, including climate change mitigation/adaptation strategies, and sustainable development initiatives for World Heritage Sites, Biosphere Reserves and surrounding communities. Her work also required collaborating with an international consortium of partners to provide space derived products (satellite imagery, GIS maps, radar technology) to assist countries with management of sites, including assessment of climate change impacts. Her academic background includes a Bachelor of Arts (Literature, Anthropology), Master of Arts and a Master of Science in Environmental Science.

Joanne Stewart

PhD Candidate, Environmental Science, Murdoch University, Murdoch, WA, Australia

Joanne is a sustainability consultant and has extensive professional experience working internationally as a freelance business analyst and more recently as a principal sustainability consultant in Australia for an international consulting firm. Her experience includes sustainability strategies and management plans for organisations and urban development projects, sustainability assessment of major infrastructure projects, cost benefit analysis, and economic incentives. She is currently undertaking Ph.D. research at Murdoch University that models the connections between carbon neutral settlements and development of sustainable livelihoods in Aboriginal communities. This involves developing a carbon accounting framework, establishing the current carbon and livelihood situation in three scales of community, and reviewing existing and proposed programs to improve carbon management and the possibilities for income generation. The interdependencies and correlations between the programs will then be mapped to produce a future scenario framework. The research is based on the holistic concept that closed-loop carbon management cycles will produce positive results in livelihood (financial, physical, environmental, human and social) assets.

Prof. Peter Newman

Director, Curtin University Sustainability Policy (CUSP) Institute, Fremantle, WA, Australia

Peter Newman is the Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University. He is on the Board of Infrastructure Australia and is a Lead Author for Transport on the IPCC. He has three recent books: Technologies for Climate Change Mitigation: Transport for the UN Environment Program, Resilient Cities: Responding to Peak Oil and Climate Change and Green Urbanism Down Under for Island Press. From 2001–2003, Peter directed the production of WA’s Sustainability Strategy in the Department of the Premier and Cabinet. From 2004–2005, he was a Sustainability Commissioner in Sydney, advising the government on planning and transport issues. In 2006 and 2007, he was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of Virginia Charlottesville. Peter’s book with Jeff Kenworthy Sustainability and Cities: Overcoming Automobile Dependence was launched in the White House in 1999. In late 2011, Peter was awarded the Sidney Luker medal by for his contribution to the science and practice of town planning in Australia.

Dr. Martin Anda

Senior Lecturer, Department of Environmental Science, Division of Science and Engineering, Murdoch University, Murdoch, WA, Australia

Martin is Academic Chair of Environmental Engineering at Murdoch University, a sustainability consultant to industry and a Chief Investigator in the Decarbonising Cities and Regions ARC Linkage Project. Martin has led teams on resource flows audits at various mine sites, developed energy efficiency education programs with remote indigenous communities across Western Australia and conducted numerous housing thermal performance studies. He is currently a board member of the Urban Development Institute of Australia assessing urban land developments for the Envirodevelopment scheme, expert advisor for French renewable energy investments into Indonesia and chair of the organising committee for the World Renewable Energy Network conference to be held in Perth in July, 2013. Martin lives in a solar home in Fremantle.


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