Low Carbon Urban Design: Potentials and Opportunities

  • Edwin H. W. ChanEmail author
  • Sheila Conejos
  • Michael Wang


The importance of urban sustainability has led to the acceptance of the core concept and principles of low carbon urban design among researchers and professionals worldwide. The challenging issue of climate change urgently calls forth cities working towards a sustainable low carbon future. Cities can work together to seek solutions for carbon neutrality to deal with climate change and build the foundation for urban sustainability. This chapter introduces the concept of low carbon urban design, discusses the potentials and opportunities of a low carbon urban development and defines its role in making cities achieve carbon neutrality. Examples of low carbon urban design initiatives in Australia, China and Hong Kong are deliberated. Further research on low carbon urban design policies, strategies and technologies as well as the creation of a standard low carbon urban design indicators list that is applicable to existing and new cities is the way forward.


Low carbon urban design Urban sustainability Indicators Australia China Hong Kong 



This paper is prepared with the support of research grants from CII-HK (A/C No. 5-ZJF5) and Research Institute of Sustainable Urban Development (A/C No. 1-ZVCJ) of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.


  1. 1.
    Satterwhaite, D.: Cities contribution to global warming. Environ. Urban. 20(2), 539–549 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    World Health Organization (WHO): Global Health Observatory (GHO) Data.
  3. 3.
    Venjakob J, Schneider C: Integrated city strategy for CO2 emission reduction, resource efficiency and climate resilience. Low Carbon Future Cities Report, Wuppertal (2013)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Yung, E.H.K., Chan, E.H.W.: Implementation challenges to the adaptive reuse of heritage buildings: towards the goals of sustainable, low carbon cities. Habitat Int. 36(3), 352–361 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    UNEP: A Case for Climate Neutrality—Case Studies on Moving Towards a Low Carbon Economy UNEP, Nairobi, Kenya, p. 52 (2009).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Joss, S., Tomozeiu, D., Cowley, R.: Eco-Cities—A Global Survey 2011. University of Westminster International Eco-Cities Initiative, UK (2011)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR): Urban Design in the Planning System: Towards Better Practice.
  8. 8.
    Atkins: Planning and Design Handbook for Integrated City Development: A Holistic Approach to a Low Carbon and Resource Efficient Future.
  9. 9.
    Tang: Sustainable Systems Integrated Model (SSIM): Modeling Techniques for Low Carbon Cities.
  10. 10.
  11. 11.
    UNEP: Building for the Future: A United Nations Showcase in Nairobi. UNEP, Nairobi, Kenya (2011)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Conejos, S., Yung, E.H.K., Chan, E.H.W.: Evaluation of urban sustainability and adaptive reuse of built heritage areas: a case study on conservation in Hong Kong’s CBD. J. Des. Res. 12(4), 260–279 (2014)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    European Commission: ICT for a Low Carbon Economy: Smart Buildings. Scholar
  14. 14.
    Appleby, P.: Integrated Sustainable Design of Buildings. Earthscan LLC, Washington, DC (2011)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Chan, E.H.W., Lee, G.K.L.: Design considerations for environmental sustainability in high density development: a case study of Hong Kong. Environ. Dev. Sust. 11(2), 359–374 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Chan, E.H.W., Lee, G.K.L.: Contribution of urban design to economic sustainability of urban renewal projects in Hong Kong. Sust. Dev. 16, 353–364 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Chan, E.H.W., Lee, G.K.L.: Indicators for evaluating environmental performance of the Hong Kong urban renewal projects. Facilities. 27(13/14), 515–530 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC): Creating Places for People: An Urban Design Protocol for Australian Cities.
  19. 19.
    Calthrope Associates: Low Carbon City: Principles and Practices for China’s Next Generation of Growth.
  20. 20.
    Zhou N, He G, Williams C: China’s Development of Low Carbon Eco-Cities and Associated Indicator Systems. (2012).Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Gu, C.: Climate Change and Low-Carbon City Planning, pp. 42–45. Southeast University Press, Nanjing (2013)104–105, 148–153Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Zero Carbon Building Limited (ZCBL):
  23. 23.
    Civil Engineering and Development Department, HKSAR: Kai Tak Development.
  24. 24.
    Pamlin D, Pahlman S, Weidman E: A Five Step Plan for the Low Carbon Urban Development: Understanding and Implementing Low Carbon ICT/Telecom Solutions That Help Economic Development While Reducing Carbon Emissions.
  25. 25.
    European Union: Strategic Energy Technologies Information System (SETIS) Towards Low Carbon Future. Scholar
  26. 26.
    Chan, E.H.W., Choy, L.H.T., Yung, E.H.K.: Current research on low-carbon cities and institutional responses. Habitat Int. 37, 1–3 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edwin H. W. Chan
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sheila Conejos
    • 2
  • Michael Wang
    • 3
  1. 1.Research Institute of Sustainable Development, and Building and Real Estate DepartmentHong Kong Polytechnic UniversityKowloonHong Kong
  2. 2.Department of Building, School of Design and EnvironmentNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  3. 3.Building and Real Estate DepartmentHong Kong Polytechnic UniversityKowloonHong Kong

Personalised recommendations