URBAN FORM AND SUSTAINABILITY: Modelling Evidences from the Case Study of Rome

URBAN FORM AND SUSTAINABILITY: Modelling Evidences from the Case Study of Rome


Pierluigi Coppola, Unversity of Rome Tor Vergata, Enrica Papa, University of Amsterdam, Agostino Nuzzolo, Unversity of Rome Tor Vergata


Different options of residential spatial development for the urban area of Rome are assessed in terms of transport performances, environmental impacts and energy consumption, using integrated modeling.


The new millennium challenge of sustainable development will be played, in the next years, in urban and metropolitan areas, where most of world population has been constantly keeping concentrated. In order to prevent negative social and environmental impacts of an uncontrolled growth, city planners agree on the issue that a new cultural and scientific approach to urban development is necessary. This should be based on integrated policies in the attempt to overcoming the antithesis between economic development, on the one hand, and environment and resources protection, on the other.
A number of studies in the literature dealing with such issues have not been conclusive in identifying determinants for sustainable development of growing cities. Where a compact development is more able to reduce travel distances and conserving land, it can cause severe congestion in transport networks, increase land and dwelling prices and create social exclusion. On the other hand, urban sprawl typically induces auto-oriented lifestyles and higher urban management costs (e.g. energy distribution, waste collection, etc.). Also the recent experience of Transit-Oriented-Development (TOD) has shown some limitations in dealing with the high costs related to development of mass rapid transit in historical and monumental cities.
This paper presents the results of a research project aimed at assessing the impacts of different options of long-term residential spatial development for the urban area of Rome (Italy). To this aim a system of Land-Use and Transport Interactions (LUTI) models has been applied to understand the interdependence of key planning variables such us transport infrastructures, real-estate, job location, service and commerce development. The models represent the behavior of both land and transport users and how they react to changing conditions. A set of indicators has also been defined to systematically test and compared alternative urban development options and to assess to what extent different policies achieve sustainability in terms not only of transport performances and environmental impacts, but also of social inclusion and economic growth.
Preliminary results show that while different urban development forms (e.g. compaction, sprawl, TOD, etc.) has found to differ in their sustainability, no one form appear clearly to be superior to others.


Association for European Transport