Characterizing the relationship between energy and urban form using data, scaling and combined metrics

  • Bruno Manuel Osorio

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


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. To effectively mitigate these impacts, a better understanding of the relationship between energy and urban form variables is crucial. The link between energy and urban variables has been demonstrated before and it is recognised in many aspects of the cities, such as human behaviour and transport dynamics. This research goes forward by analysing the correlation and scaling between energy consumption and different land use typologies derived from urban form variables, as well as at other scales. The work is built on readily available datasets for England to guarantee the replicability of the methodology and ensure the reliability of the results. A combined energy use metric integrating buildings and commute transport produces helpful insights into energy consumption patterns and it is obtained at a large geographic scale. The identification of local scale consumption patterns is attractive to policymakers and planners by providing them detailed information to direct local-level policies. On the other hand, the derived land use typologies deliver new knowledge about the spatialisation of the urban system and to establish the link with the energy use. The results reveal that the relationship between energy and urban variables favours the application of compact city to reduce carbon-based energy consumption. This means that better energy efficiency is achieved by areas with higher population density. The analysis also shows that socio-economic variables have higher impact on energy consumption than physical variables. Moreover, differences at city scale and for the land use typologies are identified, demonstrating the importance of focusing the analysis according to the goal. In sum, the results from this work provide new insights about the relationship between energy and urban characteristics that can be used by policymakers and planners to outline more focused and detailed actions to mitigate energy use in England.
Date of Award3 Nov 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorNick McCullen (Supervisor), Ian Walker (Supervisor) & David Coley (Supervisor)


  • Energy consumption
  • Urban form
  • Land use typology
  • Correlation
  • Scaling

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