Discussion paper

Sustainable urban design co-benefits: role of EST in reducing air pollution and climate change mitigation

Background paper for Eleventh Regional EST Forum in Asia. October 2018, Mongolia
Transport Sustainable development Urban planning Climate change mitigation Climate change Cars Greenhouse gases Transport infrastructure Transit oriented development Asia Tehran China California Singapore Colombia

Rapidly increasing urban populations and consequent pressures on infrastructure and the environment are driving many nations particularly those in the Asia region to reconsider the modes of implementation of transport infrastructure. Decreasing dependency on fossil fuels particularly in the transport sector will result in a number of positive outcomes such as the reduction in levels of ambient air pollution.

Improving access to transport, particularly low-carbon transport, to those who are most vulnerable such as women, the elderly and the poor, will improve access to basic infrastructure including health care, education and employment opportunities – all pivotal to eradicating poverty. Sustainable urban design in the context of reducing polluting private vehicle use encompasses the idea that transport networks can be integrated into medium to high density mixed-use developments, centred around efficient and low-carbon public transit. These developments will provide sufficient infrastructure for local residents, reducing the need to travel great distances and rely on motorised, private vehicles. Fostering sustainable urban development requires integrating the land-use and transport planning processes as is outlined the Bangkok Declaration, and will enable residents to decrease their dependence on motorisation and make better use of transport networks.

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