Influencing Decisions through Design

Keep your community from falling off the wire!

carbon, transit, development patterns, trees, urbanism, energy, scale


Nando Micale


Brittany Coyle

Your community’s carbon footprint is directly related to the efficiency of how you live, work, and get around and the resulting environmental equilibrium—the balance of carbon emissions and sequestration. This environmental “balancing act” is achieved by the design of the place—known as Urban Design—and the choices that we make—conserving energy; choosing to live close to or take transit to work and shopping; and when we do use a car choosing to carpool and/or walking or biking once you’re at your destination. Like architecture, urban design is just the physical setting that influences our choices. But, there are five simple urban design principles that work towards achieving the carbon balance in your community.

  • Providing frequent, affordable transit service within easy walking / biking distances reduces car use for commuting.
  • Locating townhouse and apartment housing choices convenient to transit reduces carbon emissions both through energy efficiency of denser construction as well as reducing car use.
  • Providing a small scale neighborhood block design with sidewalks and bicycle lanes increases the likelihood of choosing to leave cars at home.
  • Locating stores, offices, manufacturing, schools, and recreation with a 20-minute walk of homes reduces car use and increased the likelihood of walking and biking.
  • Maximizing tree cover through street trees and parks reduces home heating needs and increases carbon sequestration.