Neighborhood design and the energy efficiency of urban lifestyle in China : treating residence and mobility as lifestyle bundle
Author(s)Chen, Yang, Ph. D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
P. Christopher Zegras.
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China and the rest of the world are facing the challenge of meeting energy demand sustainably. Household-level energy consumption is a large ultimate driving force of a nation's energy use. Realizing a sustainable energy future will require behavioral change on the consumption side. In this context, examining the role of neighborhoods is important since neighborhoods are the building blocks of China's urban growth and the neighborhoods we build now will have a long-lasting effect on households' lifestyles of energy consumption. This research uses Jinan as a context for Chinese cities, and tries to understand how neighborhood design influences households' direct energy consumption, including travel and in-home energy use, through the influence on urban households' lifestyle. This research utilized an approach combining qualitative and quantitative methods, and finds that: (1) Household residential and vehicle ownership choice is made as a bundle reflecting the chosen lifestyle, making the combined evaluation of both travel and residential energy use possible; (2) Households belonging to different lifestyle groups have different decision-making mechanisms, suggesting the need for targeted design and policies; and, (3) Neighborhood design influences household direct energy consumption both through the ownership component choice and the usage component. By enabling more lifestyle bundle choices and providing new experiences and feedback, breaking old habits and creating new ones, energy-efficient neighborhood design can "lock in" households' lifestyles for a longer period of time via the lifestyle bundle choice effect. Design, therefore, likely has a larger and more robust impact in the long run than one-time or short-term incentives. This qualitative-quantitative mixed-method study contributes to a bridging of the literatures on consumer behavior, lifestyle, built environment and travel behavior, residential energy consumption, and energy demand analysis. It also provides new insights into the interaction of residence and mobility as a lifestyle bundle, and enriches the empirical findings in the developing world. For policy makers and designers, this research presents a theoretical basis for the development of potential evaluation tools and a standard for energy efficient neighborhood design and offers a pilot method for the selection, and suggested range, of indicators for energy efficient neighborhood design.
Thesis (Ph. D. in Urban and Regional Planning)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2012.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 203-214).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.