By Kait Spielmaker
The most recent release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report again underscores the need for swift action on greenhouse gas emissions. It also highlights the importance of building walkable mixed use communities as a key strategy in fighting climate change.
At America Walks, we’ve known that our advocacy for walkable communities is also climate advocacy – but it really means something when the best scientists in the world, like those who make up the IPCC, lay it down. Nothing gets in that report without the most rigorous review.
Some of the Findings in the IPCC Report :
“Cities can reduce their transport-related fuel consumption by ~25% through combinations of more compact land use and the provision of less car-dependent transport infrastructure. Appropriate infrastructure. including protected pedestrian/bike pathways, can support much greater localised active travel.”
Let us translate that for you: Walkable communities are great for fighting climate change.
“Integrated spatial planning to achieve compact and resource-efficient urban growth through colocation of higher residential and job densities, mixed land use, and TOD could reduce urban energy use between 23-26% by 2050 compared to the business-as-usual scenario.”
In other words, put jobs, houses, and stores within walking distance of each other (what people already want) and reap big benefits.
“a quarter of the 1.5°C scenarios describe transport-related CO2 emissions reductions in excess of 68% (relative to modeled 2020 levels). By building out local alliances and working within communities to devise local transportation plans, educating the public to sway behavior changes, and encouraging individuals to walk or bike by promoting more walkable areas, we can reduce our reliance on vehicle transportation. This further drives down our reliance on fossil fuels and therefore cuts our greenhouse gas emissions while simultaneously promoting equitable and sustainable communities
That’s a straight up endorsement of our mission statement – to advance safe, equitable, accessible, and enjoyable places to walk and move by giving people and communities the resources to effectively advocate for change. There’s more:
Why the IPCC Report Matters
The long lifespan of urban infrastructures locks in behaviour and emissions. Urban infrastructures and urban form can enable socio-cultural and lifestyle changes that can significantly reduce carbon footprints. “