Petter Næss

Petter Næss
Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) · Department of Urban and Regional Planning

Dr.ing.

About

174
Publications
37,873
Reads
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5,146
Citations
Citations since 2017
37 Research Items
2978 Citations
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20172018201920202021202220230100200300400500600
20172018201920202021202220230100200300400500600
20172018201920202021202220230100200300400500600
Additional affiliations
December 2012 - present
Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)
Position
  • Professor (Full)
February 1998 - December 2012
Aalborg University
Position
  • Professor (Full)
February 1988 - February 1998
Independent Researcher
Independent Researcher
Position
  • Project Manager

Publications

Publications (174)
Article
The transport sector accounts for around 30 % of Europe’s final energy consumption. To meet the EU’s decarbonization goals by 2050, it is important to quantify the energy savings potential in technology, infrastructure, and planning. This study analyses the European transport sector in the context of traditional and energy-efficient urban developme...
Article
Recent studies have been exploring the complex nonlinear relationships between built environment attributes and driving using machine learning approaches. However, these nonlinear relationships lack causal explanations. This study applied a mixed-methods approach to data from a smaller European city, Stavanger, Norway. Our results showed that trans...
Chapter
This chapter discusses the compact city policy pursued in Norway over the last decades, discusses conditions for its implementation and assesses its merits in terms of promoting sustainable urban mobility. Nearly all the largest Norwegian cities have increased their population density over the past two decades, and in some cities, such as Oslo and...
Article
The approaches currently dominating sustainable urban planning are based on a paradigm which assumes that economic growth can be decoupled from economic degradation through smarter technological solutions and institutional reform within existing social structures. However, decoupling can only be partial. Environmental sustainability, therefore, req...
Article
Full-text available
This article presents findings from a mixed-methods study on residential location and travel in the Reykjavik capital region, Iceland, drawing on a combination of a tailor-made questionnaire survey and in-depth qualitative interviews, including cross-sectional and before–after analyses. A residential location close to the main city center of Reykja...
Article
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Situated in northern Europe, the capital regions of Helsinki, and Oslo have many similar premises concerning urban development. However, the structure of the two regions differs by many measures. We explore the differences in urban density and its development in the both regions and the policy instruments that have affected them. Differences are id...
Chapter
In this chapter, I discuss points of criticism raised against the appraisal methods most commonly used within the transportation sector, and possible remedies to reduce these flaws. Since cost-benefit analysis is the dominant method of transportation project appraisal and the one against which most points of criticism can be raised, discussion of t...
Chapter
Using urban spatial development as a case, this chapter argues that we are in dire need of profound societal innovation to address the two-pronged crises of ecological unsustainability and growing inequality. The dominant understanding in contemporary sustainability discourse is that concerns about ‘planet, people and profit’ must be balanced again...
Article
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In addition to a primary dwelling, having access to a non-primary dwelling for leisure activities is a mass phenomenon with a long tradition in Norway. This paper questions the Norwegian multi-dwelling lifestyle by critically discussing its climate implications. Based on a questionnaire survey and in-depth interviews with persons having access to n...
Article
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Whereas compact cities have long been suggested to be the most sustainable solution for urban development, the health impacts of living in dense urban environments are contested. We present results from a mixed-methods study on the associations between built environment (residential location, neighbourhood density and distance from green space), an...
Article
This study examined domestic and international long-distance travel patterns of Reykjavik residents. We applied a mixed-methods approach with data triangulation to three datasets, two quantitative and one qualitative. Quantitative analyses included bivariate statistics, spatial statistics, and regression, and qualitative analysis included an explan...
Article
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Although significant strides have been made regarding the relationship between urban structure and travel, some doubt appears to be lingering concerning the impacts of polycentric urban development. For example, the debate on whether a polycentric or monocentric workplace location pattern is favorable for reducing negative environmental effects fro...
Article
The relationship between the built environment and travel satisfaction has not been adequately explored in previous research. This study examines how urban form affects travel satisfaction using survey and interview data from Oslo metropolitan area, which is a good case for such a study since compact and sprawled urban forms are found to a large ex...
Article
In response to an article by Steve Fleetwood on the critical realist conception of open and closed system, this paper argues that we should differentiate non-closed systems according to their degree of openness or closure, rather than applying a dichotomy between closed and open system. Societies should be conceptualized in terms of partly closed (...
Article
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Based on a mixed-methods study of Norwegian second home users, this paper addresses travel distances, modes and carbon dioxide emissions from second home mobility, with a particular focus on reasons for choosing relevant modes of transportation to second home areas and while staying there. The questionnaire data show that the climate impacts are pa...
Article
This commentary presents a critique of a particular, strictly quantitative way of reviewing research findings within the field of land use and transportation studies, so-called meta-analyses. Beyond criticism raised earlier, the article draws attention to serious bias resulting when meta-analysis include studies encumbered with model specification...
Article
Urban densification has for some decades been considered as the most relevant strategy for ecological modernization within the field of urban spatial development. Compared to outward urban expansion, densification has important environmental merits, but is not without negative environmental impacts. This paper critically examines how urban densific...
Article
Full-text available
This paper illuminates important causal processes that can explain differences between central, semi-central and suburban workplaces in commuting distances and modes. Its empirical base is qualitative interview material on the considerations and conditions underlying commuting behavior among employees of workplaces differently located within Oslo m...
Article
A R T I C L E I N F O Keywords: Land use Causal relationship Qualitative analysis Travel behavior Mixed-method A B S T R A C T By integrating both quantitative and qualitative materials, this paper sheds new light on the role of travel-based residential preferences in residential location choice and the implications for land-use and travel behavior...
Article
Based on a study in the Oslo and Stavanger metropolitan areas in Norway combining quantitative and qualitative methods, this paper sheds light on influences of built environment characteristics on auto ownership. In both metropolitan areas, the distance from the dwelling to the main city center, a measure of regional destination accessibility, has...
Article
To increase overall psysical activity is seen as important health promoting strategy where characteristics of the built environment are found to play an important role. In this study, physically active lifestyle includes non-motorized travel and other physical activity apart from travel. Most earlier studies are limited to quantitative measurements...
Article
Based on a study in four Norwegian cities (Oslo, Stavanger/Sandnes, Bergen and Trondheim) differing in size and centre structure, this article illuminates how residential and workplace location, local-area density and transit accessibility influence different aspects of travel behaviour. We find strong effects of residential and workplace distance...
Article
The literature on qualitative interview methodology includes little guidance on how to use interviews for explanatory purposes. Still, within many fields of research, explanatory interview research could play an important role, sometimes in combination with quantitative methods on research topics where the latter methods have traditionally been dom...
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The causal mechanisms influencing our daily mobility are complex and only partly understood. Most current research employs statistical approaches to investigate this topic, focusing on identifying cor-relational relationships. We argue that the explanatory power of these mainstream approaches is limited. Here we summarize main findings of a large r...
Article
The literature on relationships between the built environment and travel is extensive, but the vast majority of such studies relies solely on statistical analyses of travel survey data, with limited possibilities for establishing causality. This article presents insights from in-depth qualitative research, offering stronger evidence of causal influ...
Article
Although many studies have explored the relationship between the built environment and travel behavior, the literature offers limited evidence about the collective influence of built environment attributes, and their non-linear effects on travel. This study innovatively adopts gradient boosting decision trees to fill the gaps. Using data from Oslo,...
Article
Many studies on travel-induced residential self-selection assume that travel attitudes are strong enough to influence people's residential decisions. Using quantitative and qualitative methods, this article investigates the impacts of preference for transit and other residential preferences on residential location choice. Employing preference ranki...
Article
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Based on a study in the Greater Oslo and Greater Stavanger urban areas in Norway, this paper employs quantitative and qualitative research methods to investigate the influences of residential location and neighborhood characteristics on car driving distances. Cross-sectional and quasi-longitudinal analyses show that built environment characteristic...
Article
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Det er ikke skrevet særlig mange bøker av nordiske forfattere om diskursanalyse, trass i den store interessen for diskursperspektiver og diskursteoretiske begreper blant forskere og studenter i samfunnsfagene. Sosiologen Joar Skredes bok Kritisk diskursanalyse (Cappelen Damm Akademisk, 2017) er et av de få nyere bidragene. Boka tar for seg en spesi...
Article
There is an extensive literature on relationships between the built environment and travel, but the vast majority of such studies rely solely on statistical analyses of available travel survey data, with limited possibilities for demonstrating causality. This article presents findings from a methodologically novel study drawing on a combination of...
Article
Full-text available
Contemporary transport systems lack resilience. They are prone to congestion, vulnerable to multiple threats, constitute a great financial burden and are environmentally unsustainable. Research and policies have been developed aimed at solving these problems by means of improving transport technologies and governance; however, success has been limi...
Article
Full-text available
The Paris agreement on climate took effect on 4 November 2016. The agreement plans on holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels. This paper compares an ecological modernisation (EM) development pat...
Chapter
Within the literature on sustainable urban development, the dominant view is that dense and concentrated cities produce lower environmental strain than do sprawling and land-consuming cities. But is there a danger that environmentally favourable urban planning solutions will be counteracted by oppositely working mechanisms? In the literature, two p...
Article
Globalization and region enlargement has increased the emphasis of local authorities on being competitive for inward investment and taxpayers. This can lead to a subordination of environmental concerns. In order to secure environmental and other national interests, planning and regulation at supra-local level is required, especially if the local au...
Article
Informed by critical realist philosophy of science, this paper aims to contribute to a better understanding of the issue of causality within urban and planning research. The concept of causality dominating within certain influential disciplinary and philosophical traditions is difficult to reconcile with research into influences of the built enviro...
Book
This book throws light onto the nature and causes of three different but strongly interconnected crises in contemporary societies worldwide: an economic crisis, an ecological crisis and a normative (moral and political) crisis. These crises are reflected in the profoundly inequitable distribution of wealth, resources and life opportunities around t...
Article
Full-text available
Based on the results from a questionnaire survey and quali­tative interviews among different actors involved in traffic forecasting, this paper discusses what evidence can be found in support of com­peting explanations of forecasting errors. There are indications that technical problems and manipulation, and to a lesser extent optimism bias, may be...
Article
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This article addresses the question of how planners’ use and non-use of expert knowledge affect the content and goal achievement potential of plans, and discusses how changes in planners’ and researchers’ practices can contribute to improving goal achievement potential. These are questions that have been given surprisingly little attention in plann...
Article
In this paper we discuss why traffic forecasting is such a difficult endeavour, and point at alternatives to the current widespread use of traffic models almost independently of the problem faced by the planners. It will be argued that it is inherently impossible to make exact predictions about the magnitude of ‘general’ traffic growth 20–30 years...
Article
Within research into influences of the built environment on travel behaviour, the issue of causality has gained increased attention. Several attempts have been made in order to identify the true effects of built environment characteristics by controlling for attitudinal and lifestyle factors and by applying more sophisticated techniques of analysis...
Article
The paper discusses key meta-theoretical presuppositions for urban planning to be possible and meaningful, pointing at critical realism as a fruitful philosophical position for research within urban planning and urban studies. For ontological reasons, critical realism considers that interdisciplinary integration is necessary to arrive at valid know...
Book
Despite extensive efforts to understand the overall effect of urban structure on the current patterns of urban mobility, we are still far from a consensual perspective on this complex matter. To help build agreement on the factors influencing travel behaviour, this book discusses the influence of alternative urban structures on sustainable mobility...
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While numerous studies have investigated influences of built environment characteristics on travel behavior, many scholars are concerned about the confounding effect of residential self-selection. This paper argues that the existence of transport-attitude-based residential self-selection hardly represents any threat to the validity of the basic kno...
Article
Full-text available
Several studies have shown dense urban structures to be favourable in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport, limit energy consumption in buildings and protect farmland and natural areas in the surroundings of the city. There may, however, be some tensions between such a compact urban developmental strategy and considerations of pu...
Article
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The central concern of this paper is why the traffic-increasing effect of road capacity expansion (induced traffic) is still frequently ignored when preparing decision-support material for proposed infrastructure investments. Earlier research has pointed at ignorance or technical difficulties as likely reasons. This paper offers an additional expla...
Article
The central concern of this paper is the relationship between research-driven “state-of-the-art” knowledge, and knowledge claims made in practice, in planning for sustainability. The paper approaches this topic from a critical realist perspective, which is used to provide criteria for positing “state-of-the-art” knowledge validity, and assessing th...
Data
Full-text available
The aim of the project has been to analyse institutional and planning conditions for public transport in the Scandinavian countries from a comparative perspective, looking at the county of Skåne (Sweden) and the municipalities of Aarhus (Denmark) and Trondheim (Norway). The report considers qualitative casestudies of public transport in Skåne, Aarh...
Article
Several studies of relationships between urban land use and travel have shown correlations between daily-life travel behaviour and the location of the dwelling. However, in order to substantiate that residential location is a (contributory) cause of such differences, we must show the basic mechanisms by which the location of dwellings influences tr...
Article
Full-text available
This article surveys the results of research carried out in the Nordic countries on the influence of various aspects of urban form and settlement patterns on travel behavior and discusses these results in the view of studies carried out in other European, American, Australian, and Asian countries. There is overwhelming evidence that urban spatial s...
Article
This article discusses some challenges and possible adaptations of transition theory as a framework for analyzing the prospects for environmentally more sustainable development of urban land use and transport infrastructure. Rather than depending first and foremost on niche innovations, a transition toward sustainable urban development is a matter...
Article
Based on metatheoretical considerations, this article discusses what kinds of traffic forecasts are possible and what kinds are impossible to make with any reasonable degree of accuracy. It will be argued on ontological and epistemological grounds that it is inherently impossible to make exact predictions about the magnitude of the 'general' traffi...
Article
Full-text available
Although the phenomenon of induced traffic has been theorized for more than 60 years and is now widely accepted among transport researchers, the traffic-generating effects of road capacity expansion are still often neglected in transport modelling. Such omission can lead to serious bias in the assessments of environmental impacts as well as the eco...
Article
Full-text available
In industrialized countries, the idea of degrowth has emerged as a response to environmental, social, and economic crises. Realizing environmental limits to and failures of more than half a century of continual economic growth in terms of social progress and environmental sustainability, the degrowth paradigm calls for a downscaling of consumption...
Article
The theme of this article is how the challenge of sustainable mobility has been dealt with in urban planning and urban development in the metropolitan areas of Copenhagen (Denmark) and Hangzhou (China). The two metropolises have followed different trajectories in their land use and transport infrastructure development since the 1990s. Land use poli...
Article
Based on a study in the Copenhagen Metropolitan Area, this paper compares the influences of macro-level and micro-level urban form characteristics on the respondents’ traveling distance by car on weekday. The Copenhagen study shows that metropolitan-scale urbanstructural variables generally exert stronger influences than neighborhood-scale built-en...
Article
Using the Environmental Impact Assesment (EIA) of the proposed Third Limfjord Crossing in Aalborg, Denmark, as an example, this paper discusses how pessimism bias against the no‐build alternative acted as an instrument to persuade decision‐makers into adopting a proposed road scheme. Assuming that traffic growth would be the same whether or not a n...
Article
Sustainable mobility has been an important concern in urban planning and development in Oslo Metropolitan Area since the 1990s. The period has been characterized by concentrated and compact urban development, especially within the municipality of Oslo. This has contributed to a reduction in growth in car traffic. Analyses of selected land use and t...
Article
Full-text available
The metropolitan areas of Copenhagen (Denmark) and Oslo (Norway) both aim to facilitate economic development, opportunities for choice and growth in the building stock while limiting negative environmental consequences. Since the 1990s, the rate of consumption of land for urban development has been lower than the economic growth rate in both city r...
Article
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This paper presents the results of a study examining the influence of residential location on travel behavior in the Hangzhou Metropolitan Area, China. The location of the dwelling relative to the center hierarchy of the metropolitan area is found to exert a considerable influence on the travel behavior of the respondents. On average, living close...
Article
The increase in professional trips to conferences and seminars made by employees in the 'knowledge industries' presents an environmentally worrying trend in mobility in contemporary post-industrial society. A number of factors are involved. Globalisation and regional competition encourage host cities and institutions to put themselves on the confer...

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Projects

Projects (6)
Project
STYLE project, funded by the Strategic Research Council, Academy of Finland, is combining interdisciplinary knowledge on trends in transport and physical activity. Interpreting them through infrastructure and service designs and changing lifestyles, we generate insight on novel business opportunities and intervention models that induce physical activity. This provides innovative pathways towards current national policy targets and promotion of the societal vision.
Archived project
The project aims to broaden our understanding of how residential location in different urban contexts influence residents' activity participation patterns and travel behavior.
Project
In the light of urban densification policies and higher share of sustainable transport mode choices, this project focuses on the urban structural situation of the dwelling and neighbourhood characteristics that influence residents’ travel behaviour and activity participation. The project will produce knowledge related to planning and strategies for a good urban environment, residential development and coordinated land use and transport solutions. The project is based on a case study of the Reykjavik capital region, focusing on identifying patterns related to the particular context of this area.