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

Satalite image of a bright green lake surrounded by brownish-green land

California’s Largest Natural Lake Turns Green With … Algae

A potentially toxic algal bloom has turned Clear Lake in Northern California bright green, fed by increased runoff from human activity.

June 4, 2024 - Los Angeles Times

Three colorful, large beachfront homes, one khaki, one blue, and one yellow, with a small dune in front and flat sand in foreground.

Florida Homeowners 'Nope Out' of Beach Restoration Over Public Access

The U.S. Corps of Engineers and Redington Shores, Florida are at a standstill: The Corps won’t spend public money to restore private beaches, and homeowners are refusing to grant public access to the beaches behind their home in return for federal assistance.

June 7, 2024 - Grist

Multistory apartment building under construction.

New Tennessee Law Allows No-Cost Incentives for Affordable Housing

Local governments in the Volunteer State can now offer developers incentives like increased density, lower parking requirements, and priority permitting for affordable housing projects.

June 10, 2024 - Nooga Today

Walkway at San Gabriel River Park.

From Duck Farm to Parkland

The opening of the San Gabriel River Park expands access to green spaces for residents in the San Gabriel Valley, especially for Avocado Heights and other park-poor communities in the area.

4 hours ago - San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Oak tree with golden hour sun coming through its leaves on a hill in the San Gabriel Mountains in Southern California.

Southern California’s Oak Trees are Under Threat

Goldspotted oak borers (GSOB) are invasive pests that are harming and killing oak trees across San Diego, Riverside, Orange, and Los Angeles counties.

5 hours ago - Los Angeles Times

Close-up of natural gas stove burner with blue flames.

Berkeley Voters to Decide on Building Gas Tax

The city could tax large buildings that use gas in lieu of enacting a law that would have banned gas-powered buildings altogether.

6 hours ago - Smart Cities Dive

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.