Infrastructure Update: Connecting Land Use, Climate, and the Economy

Land Use and Driving

When people have the opportunity to work, play, and shop closer to their homes, they drive less. This translates into reduced energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, and helps in the fight against climate change. ULI’s new report, Land Use and Driving: The Role Compact Development Can Play in Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions, shows that changing our land use patterns can be a meaningful component of broader strategies to address climate change.

Compact development—mixing residences and other buildings in pedestrian- and transit-friendly places—offers many benefits, from fostering the emergence of vibrant, walkable communities to lowering infrastructure costs. Now, the climate and energy benefits of compact development are being documented as well. While there is no silver bullet in the fight against climate change, compact development is emerging as an important tool in the climate and energy toolbox.

Land Use and Driving summarizes the land use and climate change conclusions of three recent studies, Moving Cooler, Growing Cooler (both published by ULI), and Driving and the Built Environment, published by the Transportation Research Board at the National Academy of Sciences. The three studies show that on a national basis, vehicle-miles traveled and energy consumption can be reduced by 8 to 18 percent if compact development makes up 60 percent or more of all future development between now and 2050.

Land Use and Driving was produced with the generous support of the Rockefeller Foundation.

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ULI Spells Out the Importance of Transit and Land Use to Florida’s Future
While ULI’s national and global reports and recommendations on infrastructure are well known, ULI also works at the state and metropolitan levels to promote best practices for coordinating infrastructure and land use. Under the banner “Connecting Florida,” the five District Councils in Florida are in the midst of a statewide education and outreach campaign targeting the integration of land use and transportation, including increased transit connectivity.

Connecting Florida is engaging leadership at the state level and within Florida’s five largest metropolitan regions through programs, presentations, and briefings supported by a new report, Connecting Florida: Transit + Florida’s Economy. The report lays out the case for regionally integrated transit systems and explains why transit service and compact, walkable development go hand in hand. Following assessments of transit in each of Florida’s five largest metropolitan regions, brief profiles of “new transit metros” from across the United States provide models for building, organizing, and funding regionally integrated transit systems.

Connecting Florida is part of the ULI/Curtis Regional Infrastructure Project, supported by ULI trustee James Curtis. The Curtis Project, which also includes ULI Chicago, ULI Minnesota, and ULI Seattle, addresses the relationship between infrastructure and land use at the regional level, including sustainability and housing, and aims to improve decision making and develop national models of best practices.

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