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3. Land use and construction

Espoo plans and builds near good public transport connections, in a nature-friendly and sustainable way.

Image: Espoon kaupunki: Kimmo Brandt

Decisions on the city’s land use are made by means of zoning. Espoo is investing in infill development and steering construction towards centres and good public transport links. A more unified urban structure that relies on public transport will enable increasing the availability of sustainable modes of transport, because workplaces and services are close by or easily accessible via public transport. The more efficient utilisation of existing infrastructure increases both energy-efficiency and material-efficiency. Steering construction to developed areas conserves carbon sinks and carbon stocks.

Zoning involves assessing the impacts of each plan. Depending on the plan project, the assessment of climate impacts can consist of an emissions or carbon footprint calculation or a more general assessment regarding the impacts of the plan on greenhouse gas emissions, carbon sequestration and adaptation to climate change.

Climate-wise construction considers not only the climate friendliness of construction materials and processes but also their resistance against extreme weather phenomena strengthened by climate change. Zoning and construction activities emphasise the utilisation of renewable energy and overall sustainability in selecting construction materials. In the future, the relevant processes will account for emissions and other environmental impacts over a building’s entire life span all the way from the production of the construction materials to the actual construction phase, the use of the building and the recycling of the materials at the end of the building’s service life.