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Transportation, urban development, and greenhouse gases [microform] : patterns of consumption and justice in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania /

by Neff, Robert Jon

Abstract (Summary)
iii Despite evidence that humans are modifying Earth’s climate through greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions, the United States has no formal GHG mitigation strategy. To fill the gap, many state and municipal governments have adopted plans to bring about GHG reductions. However, by applying global-scale thinking to local-scale problems, these approaches may place undue emphasis on specific policy makers, while ignoring options for mitigation that are outside of these individuals’ control. This thesis argues for a more substantive view of GHG emissions that asks detailed questions about the causes of GHG emissions. Nevertheless, the foundation to ask such questions does not yet exist – there is little local information about energy consumption, a proximate cause of GHG emissions. This thesis presents the idea of consumptive landscapes as a lens through which to view GHG emissions. The thesis also presents a method for estimating GHG emissions from transportation in urban areas, using the Philadelphia Metropolitan Area as a test case. A traffic assignment model was applied to commuter origin-destination data, and the results were used to generate GHG emissions maps that were interpreted based on a historical understanding of the region and on contemporary demographic data. The results show that the responsibility for gasoline consumption lies disproportionately with the affluent suburbto-suburb commuters traveling in automobiles. Conversely, poor populations working in the suburbs use public transport despite the poor quality of service. The results demonstrate that consumption of gasoline is linked to segregation in patterns usually associated with an urban/suburban split. Nonetheless, the results also identify “other” places that are important because their existence suggests alternatives to the urban/suburban dichotomy typically used to describe metropolitan Philadelphia. This “other” category is useful in subverting some of iv the discursive causes of GHG emissions and in demonstrating that GHG emissions are more than merely economic entities. This conclusion supports the use of a more-substantive view of GHG emissions.
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Advisor:

School:Pennsylvania State University

School Location:USA - Pennsylvania

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:urban transportation urbanization

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