City Region as a Life Cycle: Indicators and Synthesis of Environmental Impact of Urbanisation
Original Language Title: Linnastu kui olelusring: linnastumise keskkonnamõjude indikaatorid ja süntees
The objective of the research project is a synthesised study of the urban environment and the environmental impact of urbanisation, applying life cycle assessment, substance and energy flux, methods of ecological footprint and spatial analysis.
Expansive land use and greater mobility brought about by urbanisation cause a significant increase in environmental pressures, which has not been fully surveyed, in particular using life cycle assessment methods. The comprehensive approach of the urbanisation studies is innovative; the subject has become especially acute due to the intensive urban sprawl in the light of multifunctional land use paradigm and EU directives.
The total growth of environmental load of city dwellers is expressed in the increase of ecological footprint, special consumption of resources and energy and in their relation with main socio-economic indicators. Due to more frequent extraordinary weather conditions, urban areas as sensitive places have to adapt and mitigate to the changing climate and contribute to the decrease in greenhouse gas emissions. The impact of spatial structure of settlements and buildings on land use and mobility, and consequently on transport load and the condition of urban environment, also needs to be elaborated. The research project proved these hypotheses. Another result was a development of the bases for a sustainable planning model, which as spatial decision support includes an operative monitoring system, urbanisation indicators as well as physical planning tools.