Land is a scarce resource. We develop consumption-based land footprints (CBLF) for urban and rural U.S. residents to evaluate new levers for reducing land-demand by combining (1) direct land-use for human settlements including housing, (2) indirect land-use associated with personal consumption, for example, food and clothing. Results show that an average urban resident's indirect land-use (199 »176 ft2/capita) is ∼23 times the direct land-use (8519 ft2/capita), for a total urban CBLF of 207 »695 ft2/capita. Rural residents have a slightly higher (∼6%) indirect land-use and ∼10 times larger direct land-use compared to urban. Because in both cases, indirect land-use is much larger than direct, a strategic mix of individual actions including halving food waste (-4.7%), one-day weekly plant-based diet (-3.3%), reducing clothing consumption (-2.8%), and others, can together reduce CBLF by -12.8%. Meanwhile, housing and locational choices across the urban-rural continuum evaluated for the median-density Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSP MSA) yield CBLF reductions from -1.9% (from single- to multifamily housing) to -10.6% (from rural to the urban core). The analysis demonstrates that consumer behavior changes could rival housing/locational choices in order to reduce personal CBLF. Our method of combining input-output analysis with parcel data could be applied in different regions to provide customized information on CBLF mitigation strategies.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry