Assessing the relationship between city growth and electricity use over time: A comparative analysis of Chandigarh and Seattle
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Urbanization in developing countries will be one of several global processes that define the 21st century. The ramifications of hundreds of millions of rural citizens transitioning to urban lifestyles are multifold and highly uncertain. The state of the global climate is one particularly dubious outcome of this process, due to the expected rises in energy consumption that accompany urbanization. Still, the subsequent socioenvironmental impacts of 21st century urbanization are reliant upon decisions made by planners and policy-makers at the local level regarding the characteristics of both growing cities and newly created ones. This thesis attempts to engender a better understanding of the relationship between common characteristics of cities and their resulting energy consumption by comparing two cities from distinct contexts. I employ a longitudinal, mixed-methods approach to analyze data for Seattle in the United States and Chandigarh in India to discern similarities and differences between both cities regarding population size, density, urban form, electricity consumption, and climate over time. In contrast to a strictly quantitative approach, I employed a mixed method research design in order to take advantage of qualitative data obtained through field observations in both cities. The result is a thorough assessment of the relationship between city growth and energy use among two cities characterized by dissimilar geographical and socioeconomic settings. The analysis and discussion yielded several notable findings. In both cities the residential sector is the predominant categorical user of electricity, though recent growth trajectories differ. The urbanization process that is currently occurring in Chandigarh appears quite unique compared to what has ever occurred in Seattle. Climate change will impact electricity use in each city but the outcomes will differ due to geographical differences. It is possible and useful to compared seemingly matchless cities, though there are numerous methodological impediments to such a process. These findings indicate the need for mixed method research approaches that bolster quantitative analysis and contribute to a unified science of urbanization.
- Urban planning