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The Scale-Dependent Behaviour of Cities: A Cross-Cities Multiscale Driver Analysis of Urban Energy Use

1
Building, Architecture and Town Planning Department (BATir), École Polytechnique de Bruxelles, Université libre de Bruxelles, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
2
Metabolism of Cities (metabolismofcities.org), 43 rue de Locht, 1030 Brussels, Belgium
3
Laboratory for Human-Environment Relations in Urban System (HERUS), École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
4
Department of Architecture and Urban Studies (DAStU), Politecnico di Milano, 20133 Milan, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(12), 3246; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11123246
Received: 29 March 2019 / Revised: 31 May 2019 / Accepted: 2 June 2019 / Published: 12 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Urban Metabolism)
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Abstract

Hosting more than half of the world population, cities are currently responsible for two thirds of the global energy use and three quarters of the global CO2 emissions related to energy use. As humanity becomes more urbanized, urban systems are becoming a major nexus of global sustainability. Various studies have tried to pinpoint urban energy use drivers in order to find actionable levers to mitigate consumption and its associated environmental effects. Some of the approaches, mainly coming from complexity science and industrial ecology disciplines, use city-scale data to find power-laws relating to different types of energy use metrics with urban features at a city-scale. By doing so, cities’ internal complexity and heterogeneity are not explicitly addressed. Moreover, to our knowledge, no studies have yet explicitly addressed the potential scale dependency of such drivers. Drivers might not be transferable to other scales and yield undesired effects. In the present study, power-law relations are examined for 10 cities worldwide at city scale and infra-city scale, and the results are compared across scales. Relations are made across three urban features for three energy use intensity metrics. The results show that energy use drivers are in fact scale-dependent and are city-dependent for intra-urban territories. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban energy drivers; urban metabolism; urban scaling; scaling; energy; power-law; multiscale analysis; cross-city analysis urban energy drivers; urban metabolism; urban scaling; scaling; energy; power-law; multiscale analysis; cross-city analysis
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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

Bettignies, Y.; Meirelles, J.; Fernandez, G.; Meinherz, F.; Hoekman, P.; Bouillard, P.; Athanassiadis, A. The Scale-Dependent Behaviour of Cities: A Cross-Cities Multiscale Driver Analysis of Urban Energy Use. Sustainability 2019, 11, 3246.

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