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Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 799; doi:10.3390/su8090799

How Does the Environmental Load of Household Consumption Depend on Residential Location?

Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences, University of Tartu, Vanemuise 46, Tartu 51014, Estonia
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Academic Editor: Francesco Asdrubali
Received: 14 June 2016 / Revised: 21 July 2016 / Accepted: 9 August 2016 / Published: 26 August 2016
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Abstract

Spatial planning aims to improve the socioeconomic and environmental sustainability of a region, yet, in the spatial planning framework, it is difficult to capture the environmental impacts of the lifestyle of residents as a whole. We use carbon load as an indicator for environmental pressure and explore the spatial variations in carbon load from transport, domestic energy use, and the consumption of goods based on data obtained from the Household Budget Survey in Estonia, in an attempt to understand how residential location is related to the environmental load of household consumption. We use environmentally extended input-output computing for carbon accounting, multiple regression models for statistical analysis, and settlement hierarchy as an analytic tool for characterizing residential location. The results show that the capital region and other higher-level settlements provide favorable conditions for the consumption of leisure-related goods and services even when other socioeconomic variables are taken into account. Industrial cities dominated by apartment block housing are characterized by conservative consumption patterns of residents. For rural residents, a lower carbon load imposed from other consumption categories compensates for their higher dependency on cars. We conclude that there is a need for an integrated and balanced spatial planning policy that considers the entire consumption pattern of populations in different settlement types. View Full-Text
Keywords: household consumption; environmental pressure; carbon load; settlement hierarchy; residential location; spatial planning policy household consumption; environmental pressure; carbon load; settlement hierarchy; residential location; spatial planning policy
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Poom, A.; Ahas, R. How Does the Environmental Load of Household Consumption Depend on Residential Location? Sustainability 2016, 8, 799.

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