Amy Shatzkin

Amy Shatzkin

From traffic jams and polluted air to affordable housing shortages, no American community is immune to the problems posed by sprawling development.

2004 Urban Fellow

Research Topic: Climate Change and Air Pollution

Faculty Advisor: ICLEI

Sprawling Towards Climate Change: Connecting U.S. Patterns of Land Development to Greenhouse Gas Emissions

From traffic jams and polluted air to affordable housing shortages, no American community is immune to the problems posed by sprawling development. This growth pattern builds homes farther away from places of work, shopping, education and other services – making car travel a necessary part of the daily routine. “On a community level, transportation can account for 40 to 50 percent of total energy use, and residential buildings use another 20 to 30 percent.” – The Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities1 Studies show a significant correlation between rising greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the increased energy consumption that results from sprawl.2 Growth spreading out from city and commercial centers encourages the development of agricultural land and open space and the construction of larger, less energy efficient buildings. Automobile emissions rise as a result of longer, more frequent commutes and increased travel for shopping and socialization.3 Larger building structures also demand more fuel for heating and cooling. These increases are not trivial. On a community level, the majority of American energy consumption is attributed to transportation and building operations.