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|See also the Urban planning category.|
for subtopics, how-tos, project pages, designs, organization pages and more.
Urban planning has important implications for sustainability, as well as for quality of life. Street layout, housing layout and population density and affect energy use for heating, cooling and transport.
Comparisons of energy usage
In comparing the energy usage of different city designs, it is important to choose the appropriate measure. The important quantity to measure is energy usage per capita - that is, the actual amount of energy consumed per person. If focusing on transport, the appropriate measure is energy usage per capita per unit time (e.g. joules/person.year or joules/person.day).
Measures such as joules per person per km have been used to argue that public transport is no more efficient than transport by private cars. The flaw in this argument is that it is not measuring the important figure (i.e. how much energy is used per person).
The reason that this may give a misleading result is that it doesn't capture the various possible effects of public transport, such as shorter distances travelled (due to a more dense housing layout, and clustering of housing near transport); more walking; and the tendency of public transport users to combine their trips (e.g. shopping on the way home from work). However, while these are up for debate, and of course the merits of private vs public transport can be debated, it is important to interpret data correctly, and the logical flaw in using an inappropriate measure is very clear.
One of the patterns described by Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa and Murray Silverstein in their book A Pattern Language.  is City-Country Fingers, a "starfish" form, with interlocking fingers of farmland and urban land even at the center. The urban fingers should never be more than about 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) wide. Farmer and market are brought closer together, and a "greener" level of urban density is encouraged.
Footnotes and references
- Sustainability and Cities: Overcoming Automobile Dependence, Island Press, Washington DC, 1999. Newman PW and Kenworthy J, ISBN 1559636602. Points noted here from memory by Chriswaterguy.
- See description comments and rating at Amazon (5 stars, 64 reviews). There are Wikipedia articles on A Pattern Language,W Christopher AlexanderW and Murray SilversteinW, but not yet on Sara Ishikawa.W
- Described very briefly at 3 City Country Fingers, part of a summary of A Pattern Language.
- Wikipedia:Urban planning
- Wikipedia:Category:Environmental design (in particular note articles on New Urbanism).
- Wikipedia:Urban agriculture
- Wikipedia:Wikipedia:WikiProject Urban studies and planning - a collaboration to improve Wikipedia articles on urban planning.
- Urbepedia (at Wikia.com) - a wiki about all things urban.
-  - One of the first Patterns is City-Country Fingers, a "starfish" form, with interlocking fingers of farmland and urban land even at the center. The urban fingers should never be more than about 1 mile (1.5 to 2 kilometers) wide. Farmer and market are brought closer together, and a "greener" level of urban density is encouraged.
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