A large proportion of energy demand comes from urban areas, mostly from buildings and transport, the use of which has impacts on climate and air quality through the emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. The research in this paper investigates the relationship between selected urban form characteristics and energy consumption in England, in order to understand how one influences the other. The influence of urban form is recognized in many aspects of cities, such as human behaviour and transport dynamics. Consequently, it is also expected to have a significant impact on energy consumption and to be a key component in future urban sustainability. Urban energy consumption is calculated at a large geographic scale of analysis combining the consumption of both buildings and commute transport. Urban form indicators are obtained for the same land-parcels and correlations between the two calculated. The results demonstrate that a variety of urban form characteristics influence energy consumption. Some measures show little correlation with energy consumption, whereas other density measures show a significant scaling relationship. Therefore, density indicators such as population density are suggested as a means to explain urban energy consumption. Additionally, the results reveal that the relationship between energy consumption and urban characteristics follows a sublinear scaling relationship and hence show an economy of scale. This analysis suggests that better energy efficiency is achieved by areas with higher population density, which provides new insights to urban policy-makers and planners seeking to design strategies to cut carbon emissions and energy consumption.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-141
Number of pages27
JournalAthens Journal of Sciences
Issue number2
Early online date30 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • Energy consumption
  • Urban form
  • Correlation
  • Urban areas
  • Scaling laws


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