clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

How Much Do LA's Suburbs Cancel Out Its Urban Efficiency?

New, 27 comments

We all know that dense urban areas are the most energy efficient places for housing a lot of people, but the thing with cities is they tend to attract suburbs, which are not at all energy efficient. Grist looks at a new UC Berkeley analysis that maps the greenhouse gas emissions in every zip code in the US and color codes them from red (bad) to green (good)—sparsely-populated areas show up as "a middling yellow-green color," city centers generally show up bright green, but most greater metro areas are dominated by an alarming red. Predictably, transportation is usually the biggest emissions-creator in these suburban areas—driving is what suburbs are all about (plus the households tend to be larger and wealthier, both of which translate to a bigger footprint). "[I]n general, the bigger and greener the city, the worse its suburbs," says Grist (and do check out NYC's map for evidence), but remarkably, greater Los Angeles is almost all green. Even the Valley. Reddish-colored exceptions include La Cañada Flintridge, Beverly Hills and Bel Air, Pacific Palisades and Malibu, Manhattan Beach, San Marino, and the entire Palos Verdes Peninsula ("In fact, the strongest correlate of high greenhouse gas emissions is income, because when you spend more, you consume more" according to one of the study authors.).

· Carbon Footprint Maps [Cool Climate Network]