GHG emissions reduction through urban planners' improved control over earthworks : A case study in Finland

Eeva Sofia Säynäjoki, Pia Korba*, Elina Kalliala, Aino-Kaisa Nuotio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
140 Downloads (Pure)


Most climate change mitigation schemes in urban planning concentrate on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the distant future by altering the urban form and encouraging more sustainable behaviour. However, to reach climate change mitigation targets, a more immediate reduction in GHG emissions is also needed as well as a reduction in GHG emissions in other fields. This article evaluates the important role of earthworks in the prompt and substantial reduction required for GHG emissions. The research includes a single case study and three focus group interviews. The results of the case study reveal the magnitude of possible emission reductions through urban planners' control over earthworks, whereas the findings of the focus groups shed light on the relevance of the findings beyond the single case. Three urban planning solutions were implemented in the case area to reduce GHG emissions from earth construction, resulting in the saving of 2360 tonnes of CO2 emissions. Notable savings were also achieved in other emission categories. Such a successful management of rock and soil material flows requires a strong vision from the urban planner, cooperation among many different actors, and smart decisions in multiple planning phases. Furthermore, numerical data is needed to confirm the environmental benefits if the coordination of earthworks is to be widely included in regional climate change mitigation strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2859
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Case study
  • Climate change mitigation
  • Earthworks
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Focus groups
  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Urban planning

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