Carbon sequestration and storage potential of urban residential environment – A review

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Cities are hotspots of anthropogenic activity and consumption. Thus, the consumption-based carbon footprints of their residents are pronounced. However, the beneficial climate impacts attributable to individual residents, such as carbon sequestration and storage (CSS) provided by residential green spaces and housing, have received less attention in the scientific literature. This review article presents an overview of the current research on the urban residential environment's CSS potential and argues for its inclusion in the so-called carbon handprint potential of individual consumers. The focus of existing research is on developed countries, and in empirical studies the absence of compiling literature presents a clear research gap. Most current potential is estimated to lie within the carbon pools of residential vegetation, soils and wooden construction, with biochar and other biogenic construction materials presenting key future development pathways. The underlying background variables guiding the formation of a residential carbon pool were identified as extremely complex and interconnected, broadly classified into spatial, temporal and socioeconomic factor categories. Our findings suggest that there is significant potential for growth in the residential CSS capacity, but substantial efforts from the scientific community, urban planners and policy-makers, and individual residents themselves are needed to realise this.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104027
Number of pages12
JournalSustainable Cities and Society
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022
MoE publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


  • Built environment
  • Carbon handprint
  • Carbon sink
  • Climate change
  • Residential
  • Urban


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