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Smart growth strategies, transportation and urban sprawl: simulated futures for Hamilton, Ontario

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Abstract:

North American cities have undergone dramatic changes over the last century. Locations that were once inconvenient have become accessible through extensive road networks leading to population decentralization from the traditional urban centre to suburbia, creating polycentric sprawls from once monocentric communities. Hamilton, Ontario is one such city. The decentralization and urban decline of the city is widely attributed to sprawling development. This change in the sociospatial structure creates challenges for transportation planners as we see greater automobile dependency, greater commuting distances and increased congestion. Smart growth policies such as urban residential intensification (URI) aim to increase population densities in the urban core. This exploratory study estimates the benefits of such policies from a transportation aspect. It is predicted that the City of Hamilton will experience household growth of approximately 80,000 households over the period 2005–2031. Using IMULATE, an integrated urban transportation and land-use model, a variety of development scenarios model this anticipated growth. Changes in vehicular emissions, traffic congestion and energy consumption as a result of URI are examined. Models of the land-use/transportation relationship demonstrate how increasing population densities within a city's urban centre drastically reduce congestion, emissions and gasoline consumption.

Keywords: Développement intelligent; Hamilton; IMULATE; Urban Residential Intensification; dévelop-pement durable; modelling; modélisation; smart growth; sustainable development; urban residential intensification

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1541-0064.2008.00214.x

Affiliations: 1: Centre for Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8S 4M1 ( ), Email: behank@mcmaster.ca 2: Centre for Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8S 4M1 ( ), Email: maohhf@mcmaster.ca 3: Centre for Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8S 4M1 ( ), Email: pavlos@mcmaster.ca

Publication date: September 1, 2008

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