Energy Cities proposition 28 - Make planning system drive territory’s energy transition

Urban planning as a way of reducing energy use


Energy Cities

Energy Cities is a network of more than 1,000 cities in 30 different countries. Convinced that energy transition is more than a question of renewable energy or advanced technologies, Energy Cities proposes to use resources in a reasoned way, to strengthen local participation and to improve the quality of life in a democratic Europe. In 2014, the network presents 30 proposals for the Energy Transition of Territories.

They are a source of inspiration to think and act differently. To finally turn the page on unsustainable practices that lead us into energy, climate and perhaps economic and social dead ends.

To download : cahier_short_jan2014_en.pdf (6.8 MiB)

Energy Cities proposition 28 - Make planning system drive territory’s energy transition

The problem at hand

Sustainable energy and urban planning often ignore one another, despite being closely interrelated. Urban planning decisions over-determine energy use in the housing and, above all, the transport sectors, even though urban planners are rarely aware of it. By segregating urban functions, zoning increases travel needs for moving from one function to another. Urban sprawl increases distances and therefore fuel consumption as well as households’ fuel poverty. Depending on its design, a city or a neighbourhood will encourage or discourage energy efficiency and renewable energy use. Urban planning decisions can influence how easy it is to cycle to work.

An increasing number of local authorities are committing to energy use and emission reduction objectives. But they stand no chance of reaching them if urban planning is not used constructively.


Use urban planning as a tool for controlling the territory’s energy use.

This means assessing the impact of urban planning decisions on energy use, both in terms of resources and emissions, at peri-urban, urban and district levels. This involves limiting urban sprawl, densifying constructions around service and transport hubs, building heat networks, avoiding the construction of new infra-structures, building a pedestrian path network and integrating energy issues in planning permission.

Conditions for success


To go further