The MULTIPLY project stems from the belief that successful energy transition calls for concerted actions implemented on the local level. Only integrated urban planning, combining elements of sustainable transport, energy and land-use planning, can help to reach the full energy-saving potential of the territory, at the same time making it a comfortable place to live.

What do we mean by urban planning and integrated urban planning?

Urban planning sets the preconditions that determine long-term energy consumption patterns. Integrated urban planning is a modern planning approach closely connected with the complex nature of the cities and necessity of creating sustainable and resilient settlements. Implementation of integrated urban planning is directly connected to the socio-economic conditions, legal frameworks, technology, and professional and educational potentials of societies, which differ for each country (Milojevic, Brankica, 2018, Integrated urban planning in theory and practice). In practice, integrated urban concepts are complex and must correspond with the local situation.

Why integrated urban planning?

Complex challenges require whole-system solutions which consider cross-sectoral consequences and benefits. To meet the current and future requirements of a consistent and rational use of energy, key fields of operation, like urban mobility, energy supply along with efficient energy consumption and a well-balanced use of available space, must be treated and developed jointly, with a focus on the common energy objective.  Cross-sector integrated planning aims at the development of cities and districts in which measures regarding energy systems, land-use planning and mobility schemes are simultaneously included in one holistic concept, with the objective of increased energy efficiency as the basis of the planning process. Moreover, a broad range of stakeholders are activated for the development of comprehensive solutions and forms a strong support for the implementation of urban development projects.

What are the key components of integrated urban planning?

Key components of integrated urban planning cover:

  • The building stock of cities – to unlock energy savings potentials through renovations and building standards.
  • Local energy systems - integrated into district concepts, to make use of unharnessed efficiency potential. Electricity and heat supply for urban areas can be optimized by improving the energy source (renewable energy), efficiency of distribution networks and energy consumption. Use of waste heat and energy storage should be considered to create a decentralised energy systems.
  • Land-use planning directly affects the energy demand of inhabitants through mobility. It defines the ways citizens move around. Mixed-use planning of districts improves the access to key facilities for many inhabitants and reduces the need for individual motorized mobility. Improved inter-modality and good public transport services reduce motorized individual traffic, congestions and air pollution. An infrastructure for electric mobility is a crucial factor for the up-take of more sustainable mobility modes. Innovative goods delivery schemes, combined with smart traffic and urban development plans. Therefore, land-use planning and mobility schemes should always be addressed simultaneously.

As shown above, good urbanism reverberates well beyond energy savings. It has effects on public health, affordable housing, land conservation and builds social and economic quality which add up to a more sustainable life quality in urban areas. As the urbanist, Peter Calthorpe puts it: “The more comprehensive we make systems the more sustainable they are.”