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Neighbourhood sustainability frameworks - a literature review

Sullivan, LJ; Rydin, Y; Buchanan, C; (2014) Neighbourhood sustainability frameworks - a literature review. (USAR Working Papers 001). Centre for Urban Sustainability and Resilience (UCL): London, UK. Green open access

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Abstract

Frameworks for assessing the sustainability of the built environment are entering a new phase with the introduction of neighbourhood scale tools. This paper is a review of the current literature on these frameworks, as well as building-scale tools, to provide a milestone for future studies. Notably, the author found few papers focusing on neighbourhood schemes exclusively with large gaps in our knowledge. Some existing research compares and critiques the content of frameworks; other research focuses on the interaction between a framework and the development process, its actors, and institutions; and other work assesses the real-world performance of developments built using frameworks. Neighbourhood frameworks provide a more holistic approach to sustainable development than building frameworks, covering environmental, social, and economic sustainability. However, there is little consensus on what this means (or should mean) in practice with coverage varying with regional context and design principles, as well as accusations of environmental bias. The evidence that frameworks influence the sustainability of individual projects is mixed (with some criteria more affected than others) though it is thought they have pushed up the standards of sustainability generally. Likewise it is uncertain whether they promote sustainability as a value amongst users. However, they are useful for those committed to sustainability to show their credentials and defend their decisions. As the tools are voluntary and market-based, it is important they provide additional value to developments; this has been shown to be the case. This impact is greater for those already interested in sustainability or looking to promote a ‘green’ image. This literature review identifies several gaps in the research of Neighbourhood Sustainability Frameworks, these include: their effect on the development process and planning, barriers to their uptake, and improvements to frameworks and the way they are used.

Type: Working / discussion paper
Title: Neighbourhood sustainability frameworks - a literature review
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/usar/wps
Language: English
Additional information: Neighbourhood-scale, Sustainable development, Frameworks, Literature review
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Civil, Environ and Geomatic Eng
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > The Bartlett School of Planning
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1428696
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