E-commerce and urban planning – comparing knowledge claims in research and planning practice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In planning for a future sustainable transport system, it is important to consider the likely effects of e-commerce. This paper analyses the understanding of impacts of e-commerce on urban planning as expressed in planning practice in a number of Swedish municipalities. Knowledge claims concerning the potential effects of e-commerce are studied through an analysis of planning documents and supplementing interviews. These knowledge claims in planning practice are contrasted with the findings presented and discussed in the research literature. The results indicate that the current understanding of e-commerce in Swedish planning practice is limited and that it is primarily viewed as an opportunity to address transport system issues by reducing passenger transport. However, the overview of the literature shows that e-commerce has so far only had limited effects on prevailing mobility habits and that freight transport has increased in parallel with increased e-commerce. Furthermore, e-commerce challenges city centres as commercial areas. Thus, from a planning perspective e-commerce should not be regarded as an easy solution for an unsustainable transport sector. To harness its potential benefits, there is a need to develop pro-active planning strategies that address the potential impacts of e-commerce.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Engineering and Technology


  • passenger transport, retail location, urban freight, E-commerce, urban planning
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalUrban, Planning and Transport Research: An Open Access Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan 19
Publication categoryResearch