How Housing Density Could Help Austin Reach Climate Goals

With housing and transportation as the two biggest sources of carbon emissions, a new report shows how boosting density near transit would accelerate emissions reductions.

1 minute read

October 17, 2023, 8:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

View of Austin, Texas skyline with river in foreground

Reagan / Adobe Stock

A report from the nonprofit Transit Forward indicates how Austin could meet its transportation and climate goals by supporting increased housing density, reports Nina Hernandez in Austin Monitor. “The report includes climate projections for Austin and then outlines how housing density and transit can help ease those impacts by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

The report notes that “the average carbon footprint for a single-family household is 100 pounds of CO2 per square meter. Dense housing units closer to the city center have lower carbon footprints.” On a map showing carbon footprints by neighborhood, the University of Texas’ West Campus numbers among the areas with the lowest average footprint. In the United States, college campuses are one rare example of walkable, mixed-use communities with dense housing and plenty of opportunities to access daily needs without a car.

The report’s recommendations include increasing housing density coupled with access to mobility and boosting local transit systems. According to Bill McCamley, executive director of Transit Forward, “We need more transit and we need more dense housing near transit because housing and transit combined, they’re number one and number two in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.”

Wednesday, October 11, 2023 in Austin Monitor

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