1.85 - The Energy Impact of an Urban Form Shaped by Topography

Project Description

This PhD project aims to understand the impact of an urban form adapted to topography on final energy consumption, particularly in the mobility sector. Research on the relationship between urban form and energy demand in transports, shows that there are several attributes of the physical form of cities with an impact on modal split, such as density, mix of uses, connectivity, to name just a few. However, the effect of an urban form adapted to topography is unknown, because these three elements (urban form, topography, and mobility) are not properly considered together. Often confusing with slope, literature always presents topography as an obstacle to active modes. On the other hand, there are also articles showing that road features influence car operating speed. This PhD project poses the hypothesis that an urban form adapted to topography favours the reduction of energy in mobility, specifically promoting active modes instead of car. The proposed methodology starts by defining what is an urban form adapted to topography. Then, based on these criteria and the availability of information, a sample of cities will be constructed. The street networks of these cities will be represented and characterized with a set of structural urban form's variables, which will then be analyzed through GIS-based energy cost and speed simulation, to measure the competitiveness between car and pedestrian plus transit. It is therefore intended to make an innovative contribution to energy savings, allowing better options for planners, decision-makers and citizens.

Project Team
  • Nuno Sousa Gomes
  • Vitor Oliveira (supervisor)
  • Álvaro Costa (co-supervisor)
Financial Support
  • FCT: PD/BD/135529/2018
Stage of Progress
  • Started in 2018