A Mix for Sustainability: Analyzing the relationship between mixed-use development and sustainable transportation in Copenhagen, Denmark Lev McCarthy June 1, 2014
Created for Copenhagen Area Survey / KĂ¸benhavn OmrĂĽde Oversigt (KOO) Rice University: Kinder Institute for Urban Research and the Danish Institute for Study Abroad
Table of Contents
Executive Summary....................................................................................................................................... 2 I. The Issue .................................................................................................................................................... 3 II. The Research……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….4 III. The Findings……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..………..7 IV. Implications………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………10 Bibliography…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..12
Executive Summary What constitutes a typical Copenhagen block? An incredibly diverse city, such as Copenhagen, cannot be condensed easily. Weâ€™d do best by attempting to embody the cityâ€™s mix of cultures, mix of architecture, mix of businesses, and mix of uses. The resulting neighborhood amalgam is called a mixed-use area. The lifestyle in these mixed-use areas is attracting a lot of people to cities, spurring a period of rapid urbanization that has no end in sight. It is important for urban planners to understand the behaviors associated with people who are immigrating to the city in search of the benefits of a mixed-use community. In this paper I analyze the relationship between habitation of mixed-use areas and sustainable transportation. Utilizing data amassed by the 2014 Copenhagen Area Survey, I find that people who prefer to live in mixed-use areas are more likely to use and prioritize sustainable transportation than people who prefer to live in single-family residential areas. The city of Copenhagen has made a commitment to adjust their transportation system to emphasize non-motorized forms of transportation. Research on the connection between mixed-use residence and sustainable transportation provides city planners with valuable data about what housing fits their vision for a city focused on non-motorized and active transportation.
I. The Issue Politicians, urban planners and citizens realize the benefits of developing and inhabiting mixed-use areas. An exact definition of a mixed-use area is difficult to ascertain. We can look to planners, who frequently recognize mixed areas by their zoning, by how much surface area is covered by a diversity of uses. Economically-minded developers see mixed-use as a trendy money maker, and politicians note its ability to attract business and the newly-lauded “creative class.” To a pedestrian passing through, a mixed-use area may be recognized by the variety of businesses, inclusion of housing, and general intrigue that is frequently felt by the overall diversity of mixed-use areas. The growing popularity of mixed-development is accompanied by an increased dissatisfaction with the car as a primary mode of transportation. Car dependence has a huge ecological footprint and it also degrades urban quality such as walkability, viable public transportation and job access (Newman and Keworthy, 2006). Recently there have been findings that link car dependence to negative health impacts such as obesity, stress and mental health (Gee and Takeuchi, 2004; Hillman, 1997). Mixed-use development is seen as a solution to our car dependence, because it decreases the need for long distance transportation. Mixed-developments are dense, and amenities are provided in the same area as the customers. This density makes car transportation inefficient, and the amenities’ proximity makes them easily accessible by walking or biking. If the scale of a mixed-use is substantial enough, then it can provide the critical mass of residents necessary to make buses and other forms of public transportation feasible. The threshold for this density is about seven dwellings per acre, or 35 to 40 people per hectare (Newman & Kentworthy, 2006). In a mixed-use area, this essential density is coupled with the localized amenities so that public transportation is feasible, but not always necessary. Aside from the benefits for those who live in mixed-use areas, the benefits extend to the surrounding communities. Mixed-use areas are hubs for a lot of necessary activates that would normally be done at individual locations. Instead of needing a car to drive from one store to another, mixed-use areas make central walkable locations that people can access via car or public transportation. Although this second scenario does not completely diminish the need for car transportation, it decreases the total distance travelled in cars. There is a consensus amongst researchers that mixed-use development helps encourage sustainable mobility. It is expected that residents of mixed-use areas can use public transportation and non-motorized forms of transportation, reducing both individual environmental impact, and economic costs (Vale, 2013). This expectation has yet to be fully proven. Although there has been extensive research into weather or not land use impacts travel behavior, no result has been widely affirmed. One of the main challenges proposed to the theory that land use impacts travel behavior, is that desired travel mode is selected first, and the choice of location reflects this decision (Vale, 2013). The goal of my research is to address both of these deficiencies by correlating land use to transportation mode choice. I aim to answer the question of how Copenhageners’ preference for living in mixed-use area relates to their propensity to utilize and support the proliferation of sustainable modes of transportation.
II. The Research a) Literature Review 1. Introduction Mixed-use development facilitates sustainable practices in transportation, climate impacts, economics, cultural integrity, and societal resilience. I propose that a Copenhagener’s preference to live in a mixed-use development frequently results in a range of environmentally sustainable lifestyle choices and beliefs. People who would rather live in mixed use development utilize and support the proliferation of sustainable modes of transport, regardless of environmental opinions. For the purposes of this research, walking, biking and public transportation will be categorized as sustainable modes of transportation. Existing research looking into the relation between residency in mixed-use developments and sustainable transportation decisions will be analyzed. The results of the Copenhagen Area Survey will be used to affirm or refute that people who prefer to live in mixed-use developments also choose to spend public funds to support the expanded use of sustainable transportation. The literature examining the relationship between mixed-use development and sustainable transportation is in a state of incubation. The majority of the existing literature attempts to create models that will indicate to what degree urban form effects resident’s transport decisions. First, we examine the literature defining what we perceive as mixed-use developments. Next, we see how the literature analyzes transportation mode choice. Lastly, the literature presents the existing perceived correlation between residency in mixed-use development and the use of sustainable transportation. 2. Defining Mixed-Use Development in an Urban Context
The contextual variety across the world’s cities disqualifies any universal definition of mixed-use, so typologies, and other tools for assessing mixed-use are perhaps the best way for us to establish an international The irony is that mixed-use developments have been synonymous with development throughout the history of human settlement. Only at the advent of industrialization did an increased need for dense residencies lead to the separation of uses, which has dominated post-industrial development, and necessitated differentiating areas that retained the aspects of mixed-use development. Mixed-use development is very difficult to define, as it is a concept that is, “ambiguous in both theory and practice” (Hoppenbrouwer & Louw, 2005). The difficulty likely stems from having to define a feature that was overlooked as happenstance for centuries. Since agriculture allowed for the establishment of settlements, people have amassed in towns, villages and cities where production, recreation and residency are all intertwined in the fabric of development. The physical distinction between different types of development began when cities industrialized, and culminated in the modernist movement of the 1960s and 1970s. The literature frames modernist architecture and city planning as the anti-thesis to mixed-development 4|Page
(Hoppenbrouwer & Louw, 2005). Modernism’s prevalence has acted to spur the response of mixed-use planning and development. Definitions for mixed-use vary depending on location. In Europe, mixed-use is seen as a type of urban renaissance (Stead & Hoppenbrouwer, 2004), and in the US it is a part of the New Urbanism strategy (Gyourko & Rybczynski, 2000). The primary difference arising from differences in how their cities developed historically. In Europe century-old mixed-use can be found in the oldest city centers, making their movement more of a reversion to existing form. In the US there are very few examples of pre-industrial mixed-use areas to draw from, so the movement is attempting to establish a new form. The US’s Urban Land Institute deﬁnes a mixeduse project as a coherent plan with three or more functionally and physically integrated revenueproducing uses. This definition only applies to new, development projects, and typifies the disconnect between the US and Europe’s mixed-use situations. Mixed-use is not a label that is limited to a certain geographic scale. In urban planning, mixed-use is typically associated to a neighborhood or street block, but this scale can be extended to classify residencies with tele-commuters as a mix of residence and work (Hoppenbrouwer & Louw, 2005). One approach to defining mixed-use is to apply a typology. Alan Rowley uses textures to describe the features of mixed-use developments. The grain is the way that settlements are mixed in space, the density is the level of activity, and the permeability is the flow of pedestrian movement (Rowley, 1996). One can also assess the vertical and horizontal development, with vertical mixed-use existing in a single building, and horizontal mixed-use applying to different buildings along a block, or the neighborhood (Hoppenbrouwer & Louw, 2005). Using this method of assessment, a neighborhood with ground-floor storefronts and upper-story residence will have vertical mixed-use, but lack in horizontal varietyreportage on mixed-use developments. 3. Transportation Mode Choice
It is difficult to draw universal conclusions about the impacts of varying forms of urban layout on people’s transportation mode choice because each individual’s decisions are impacted by countless internal and external factors. In recent decades, an increased interest in mixed-use development and urban planning has led to a swath of research attempting to uncover patterns in peoples transportation mode selection, but because of the range of different research locations and different methods, there is not much evidence showing what infrastructure and policies lead to increased use of sustainable transportation. Some key variables surfaced across the applicable literature. Some of the prevalent variables were: travel time, variability in travel time, environmental impact of modes, awareness to environmental impacts, weather conditions, ability to actively select residence, and accessibility of mode infrastructure (Iftekhar & Tapsuwan, 2010; Van Vugt et al., 1996). Here I will describe findings on the impact of travel time and urban form, two variables especially pertinent to an analysis of Copenhagen, and it’s mixed-use areas. There is an important distinction between travel time and variability of travel time. For many people, the choice to use motor vehicles as their primary form of transportation is based on the impression that public transport has higher travel time and travel time variability. Missing a train, or a bus delay can often lead to substantial delays that are frequently unavoidable and unpredictable. There is not significant evidence showing that motor vehicles are any more time 5|Page
consistent, there is a common perception, and this leads to a preference for the motor vehicle (Van Vugt et al., 2010). In an analysis of transportation mode choice of residents in San Francisco, California, researchers considered a broad scope that began with the “long-term choices” of residency location and cumulated with the “short-term choices” of transportation mode choice (Pinjari et al., 2011). Differences between Copenhagen and San Francisco prevent application of their findings, but their methods can be utilized. In San Francisco, car ownership is considered a “medium-term choice”, meaning that it is relatively alterable and can be adjusted based on living situation. In Copenhagen, where cars and gasoline are drastically more expensive, car ownership may be categorized as a “long-term choice”, making active-selection of residence location more important in Copenhagener’s day-to-day transportation decisions.
4. Correlation between mixed-use developments and the use of sustainable transportation There exists a perception that mixed-use developments facilitate or encourage the use of sustainable forms of transportation such as public transportation, bicycling and walking. The European Council of Town Planner’s have endorsed the idea, and highlight environmentally sustainability: “The principle of mixed use should be promoted, especially in city centres, so as to introduce more variety and vitality into urban fabric. Housing and work areas, as well as other compatible uses, should be closely related in time and space so as to reduce the need to travel, conserve energy and reduce pollution” (ECTP, 1998). Is there any truth to these beliefs? Researchers in Atlanta, Georgia used a survey to compare the self-reported transportation behaviors of residents before and after moving to Atlantic Station, a mixed-use development in metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia. Through analysis of the survey responses, the researchers were able to conclude that, “adults who move to a denser, mixed-use neighborhood increase their levels of walking for both recreation and transportation, decrease their automobile travel, and increase their use of public transportation” (Mumford et al., 2011). Urban form not only impacts people’s daily transportation decisions, it also determines if people decide to own a car, and car ownership is the single most impactful variable that leads to driving (Cao et al., 2008). Have car, will drive we might say. It is tempting to apply results such as these to Copenhagen, but cross application of findings is nearly futile because of the variation between urban landscapes. This necessitates the utility of the Copenhagen Area Survey, as a source of data unique to Copenhagen, that will help determine the correlation between residence in mixed-use areas and the use of sustainable transportation. B) Methods The goal of my research is to provide urban planners and transportation planners with data that will aid in associating certain travel behavior with differences in residential location. The final product will be a set of data that demonstrates how preference for living in a mixed-use 6|Page
area or single-family residential area is related to transportation mode choice. The base for this research is survey data as collected by the 2014 Copenhagen Area Survey. In the survey, respondents were asked to indicate which type of neighborhood they’d prefer to live in: “an area with a mix of developments, including homes, shops, and restaurants” or, “a single-family residential area.” Responses to this data serves as the basis for my research, and questions relating to Copenhageners’ opinions and use of sustainable transportation will all be qualified based on their answer to the neighborhood preference. The 2014 Copenhagen Area Survey includes a variety of questions relating to transportation, all of which include sustainable transportation options. The survey inquires about what mode of transportation people normally use to get to work. Respondents selected one of the following mode options: Drive alone (in a car or motorcycle), Drive with a household member (in a car or motorcycle), drive with non-household member (in a car or motorcycle), Train (stog), Metro, Bus, Walk, Bicycle, Moped or Scooter, and Other. The survey also included a question where respondents were asked to say what modes of transportation they believe should be prioritized to improve Copenhagen’s transportation system in the following 10 years. These two variables will be cross examined with the variable about neighborhood development-type preference to show how Copenhageners who prefer to live in mixed use areas differ in their transportation mode decisions from those who prefer to live in single-family residential areas. When respondents were asked to prioritize the modes of transportation, they responded along a sliding scale, with 1 being “not prioritize at all” and 10 being “prioritize the most”. Each mode was gaged independently, so it was possible for a respondent to select the extreme values for more than one mode. When analyzing the responses, new variables were created to truncate the responses into three distinct categories. Answers bellow 5 were categorized as “low priority”, a response of 5 was “middle”, and responses above 5 were categorized as “high priority”. This organization of responses allowed for a divisive set of responses, and data that are easier to qualify.
III. The Findings
The large majority of Copenhageners want to live in areas with a mix of development. This finding, that 76.65 percent of respondents who would prefer to live in mixed-use areas concurs with existing research that shows trends towards urbanization, and an increased preference for residential areas that are in close proximity to amenities such as recreation, entertainment, business and retail. Copenhagen residents want to live in these areas so behaviors associated with this preference are especially important for future urban planning. 7|Page
Above, are two graphs indicating that people who prefer to live in mixed-use areas relate to car transportation. From the survey results, we find that people who prefer to live in mixed-use areas use cars in their daily commute much less than those people who prefer to live in a singlefamily residential area. The graph to the right shows that the majority of people who prefer to live in mixed-use areas think that car transportation should be a low priority for improving Copenhagenâ€™s transportation system. This is in stark contrast to the 60 percent majority of people who prefer to live in a single-family residential area who think that car transportation should be a high priority. The difference in priorities for car transportation between the two residential preference groups is the largest compared to all other modes
mentioned in the survey.
When asked about use and prioritization of sustainable modes of transportation, the survey begins to reveal a propensity for people who prefer to live in mixed-use areas to support the sustainable modes. In Copenhagen, the bus acts as an intermediary between the other modes of public transportation. The bus connects the S-train and Metro to the intermediate places, where those transit lines do not access. Slightly more people take the bus to work who prefer to live in a single-family residential neighborhood. There is an interesting disparity when we look at the prioritization chart. We see that although people who prefer single family residential neighborhoods use the bus more for their daily commute, they prioritize it slightly less than the people who want to live in a mixed-use area.
When we look at respondentsâ€™ S-trains use and prioritization, there is nearly the opposite disparity than exists about bus transportation. Of the people who would prefer to live in mixeduse areas, 21.02 percent use S-trains on their daily commute, which is more than ten percentage points over the 10.53 percent of S-train commuters out of those who prefer to live in singlefamily residential areas. Although the people who prefer mixed-use areas ride the s-train more, their 88.66 percent high priority is only about one percentage point above the high priority of the people who prefer single-family residential neighborhoods.
Central Copenhagen is renowned for its pedestrian walkways, but this survey found that these famous roads do not translate into pedestrian commuters in the Copenhagen Areas. A chisquared test reveals that the difference between the percentages of walk commuters between the two housing preference categories is not representative of Copenhageners, but we can look at the overall percentage on the above left graph. The survey results indicate that people who prefer to live in a mixed-use area give walking a high priority much more than people who prefer to live in single-family residential neighborhoods. The respondents who prefer to live in single-family residential neighborhoods are a few percentage points away from being split evenly between high priority and low priority for pedestrian transportation.
IV. Implications A series of findings gathered from the results of the 2014 Copenhagen Area Survey refute the hypothesis that residents of Copenhagen who prefer to live in an area with mixed-use development have a tendency to support the propagation of sustainable modes of transportation more than their counterparts who prefer to live in areas of single-family housing. For this research, the survey respondents were first divided into two categories based on which housing situation they prefer. There was an uneven split with 76.65 percent of respondents preferring to live in a an area with a mix of developments including homes, shops and restaurants, leaving only 23.45 percent of respondents who would prefer to live in a singlefamily residential area. The remainder of research focused on citing the differences between how these two groups utilize and prioritize sustainable modes of transportation. The comparison yielded several important findings. We can garner some results based on which correlations were not divisively different between the two groups. Bicycling and the metro were qualified as a high priority for people in both residential preference categories. The shared support for these modes likely has to do with the modesâ€™ current success, and the promotion by the municipally to garner support for the long-term and expensive ongoing Metro construction. This support is good news for Copenhagen city planners who have been propagating those 10 | P a g e
modes, but the mutual support does not tell us about the behaviors and preferences of people who want to live in Copenhagenâ€™s mixed-use areas. Perhaps the most important finding is about the conflicting opinion on prioritization of car use. People who prefer to live in single-family residential areas give high priority to car transportation, believing that it will improve the transportation in Copenhagen Areas in the following ten years. The majority of people who desire to live in mixed-use areas consider the car to be a low priority. This opposing priorities can only be seen when respondents are asked about cars, and when they are asked about walking. A majority of people who want to live in mixed-use areas think that walking should be a priority, while a plurality of people who prefer to live in single-family residential neighborhoods think that walking is a low priority. These differences in priority reveal that people who prefer to live in mixed-use areas prioritize all sustainable modes of transportation relative to those who prefer to live in single-family residential areas. These findings will be valuable for Copenhagen City planners who intend on decreasing reliance on cars while also catering to the transportation needs of people who move to central Copenhagen.
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