Evaluating the Sustainable Performance of an Urban District: Measured Score or Reflexive Governance?

Evaluating the Sustainable Performance of an Urban District: Measured Score or Reflexive Governance?

H. Vandevyvere

Department of Architecture, Urbanism and Planning, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium

Page: 
36-58
|
DOI: 
https://doi.org/10.2495/SDP-V8-N1-36-58
Received: 
N/A
|
Accepted: 
N/A
|
Published: 
31 January 2013
| Citation

OPEN ACCESS

Abstract: 

How to evaluate the sustainable performance of a complex urban system remains a much debated subject. In this sense, urban planning questions present many characteristics of the confusing decision contexts that arise with the management of sustainable development. Recent tools for assessing the sustainable performance of urban neighbourhoods have focussed on delivering a distinct score, obviously for reasons of benchmarking, communicative impact or marketing. However, these unequivocal scores partially hide or even confuse the complex quantitative–qualitative trade-offs that are needed to arrive at a judgement. This paper describes an alternative approach whereby quantitative measuring and qualitative assessments are combined. The resulting evaluation is primarily intended as a compass for reflexive governance, rather than as a sustainability label. The methodological basis for the instrument is derived from the theory of modal aspects, as formulated by the Dutch philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd. An indicator set and corresponding value functions are created, taking into account the expertise that can be found in many existing indicator systems. Performance thresholds, a new type of radar diagram and an argumentation are added to complete the assessment. Two instances of application are subsequently discussed. This allows observing the utility of the tool in a given context of both data and policy uncertainties. It appears that, even with many such uncertainties remaining, a useful strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis can be performed. The necessity of properly addressing sustainable functioning from the very early planning stages is thereby confirmed.

Keywords: 

assessment, indicator system, multimodal system analysis, neighbourhood, radar diagram, sustainable urban development

  References

[1] UNFPA, State of World Population 2011, UNFPA: New York, 2011.

[2] Blum, A., HQE²R – Research and demonstration for assessing sustainable neighbourhood d evelopment (Chapter 20). Sustainable Urban Development Volume 2: The E nvironmental  Assessment Methods, eds M. Deakin, G. Mitchell, P. Nijkamp & R. Vreeker, Routledge:  London and New York, pp. 412–428, 2007.

[3] Simmons, C., Ecological Footprint Analysis: a useful method for exploring the interaction between lifestyles and the built environment (Chapter 11). Sustainable Urban Development Volume 2: The Environmental Assessment Methods, eds M. Deakin, G. Mitchell, P. Nijkamp & R. Vreeker, Routledge: London and New York, pp. 223–235, 2007.

[4] Stremke, S. & Koh, J., Ecological concepts and strategies with relevance to energy-conscious spatial planning and design. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 37(3), pp. 518–532, 2010. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1068/b35076

[5] van den Dobbelsteen, A., Broersma, S. & Stremke, S., Energy Potential Mapping for Energy-P roducing Neighborhoods. International Journal of Sustainable Building Technology and U rban Development, 2(2), pp. 170–176, 2011. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.5390/ SUSB.2011.2.2.170

[6] Salat, S., Energy loads, CO2 emissions and building stocks: morphologies, typologies,  energy systems and behaviour. Building Research & Information, 37(5), pp. 598–609, 2009. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09613210903162126

[7] Nijkamp, P., The role of evaluation in supporting a human sustainable development: a cosmonomic perspective (Chapter 5). Sustainable Urban Development Volume 2: The E nvironmental Assessment Methods, eds M. Deakin, G. Mitchell, P. Nijkamp & R. Vreeker, Routledge:  London and New York, pp. 94–109, 2007.

[8] Lombardi, P. & Brandon, P., The Multimodal System Approach to Sustainability Planning Evaluation (Chapter 3). Sustainable Urban Development Volume 2: The Environmental  Assessment Methods, eds M. Deakin, G. Mitchell, P. Nijkamp & R. Vreeker, Routledge: London and New York, pp. 47–64, 2007.

[9] Congress for the New Urbanism, Natural Resources Defense Council, U.S. Green Building Council, LEED 2009 for Neighborhood Development Rating System, USGBC, www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=148

[10] BRE, BREEAM Communities SD5065B Technical Guidance Manual, BRE Global Ltd:  Watford, 2009.

[11] LEED  Committees;  U.S.  Green  Building  Council.  www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage. aspx?CMSPageID=1750.

[12] Humbert, S., Abeck, H., Bali, N. & Horvath, A., Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED): A critical evaluation by LCA and recommendations for improvement. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 12(1), pp. 46–57, 2007.

[13] Congress for the New Urbanism, Natural Resources Defense Council & U.S. Green B uilding Council, LEED 2009 for Neighborhood Development Rating System (Updated November 2011), U.S. Green Building Council: Washington DC, 2011.

[14] De Troyer, F., Synthesenota BREEAM: Duurzaamheid meten. Presentation, Core Foundation Group, Belgian Sustainable Building Council, 20 April 2009.

[15] IVAM (2005), DuurzaamheidsProfi el van een Locatie (DPL), www.ivam.uva.nl

[16] Voss, J-P., Bauknecht, D. & Kemp, R. (eds), Refl exive Governance for Sustainable Development, Edward Elgar: Cheltenham, 2006.

[17] Bauler, T., Indicators for Sustainable Development: A Discussion of their Usability, Ph.D  dissertation, Universite Libre de Bruxelles: Brussels, 2007.

[18] Hunt, D., Lombardi, D., Rogers, C. & Jefferson, I., Application of sustainability indicators in decision-making processes for urban regeneration projects. Engineering Sustainability 161, Issue ESI/Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, pp. 77–91, 2008.

[19] Deakin, M., Mitchell, G., Nijkamp, P. & Vreeker, R., Introduction. Sustainable Urban  Development Volume 2: The Environmental Assessment Methods, eds M. Deakin, G. Mitchell, P. Nijkamp & R. Vreeker, Routledge: London and New York, pp. 1–18, 2007.

[20] Jarzombek, M., Molecules, Money and Design: The Question of Sustainability’s Role in  Architectural Academe. Thresholds, 18, pp. 32–38, 1999.

[21] Guy, S. & Farmer, G., Reinterpreting Sustainable Architecture: The Place of  Technology.  Journal of Architectural Education, 54(3), pp. 140–148, 2001. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1162/ 10464880152632451

[22] Guy, S. & Moore, S., Sustainable Architecture and the Pluralist Imagination. Journal of  Architectural Education, 60(4), pp. 15–23, 2007. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1531314X.2007.00104.x

[23] Moe, K., Compelling Yet Unreliable Theories of Sustainability. Journal of Architectural  Education, 60(4), pp. 24–30, 2007. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1531-314X.2007.00105.x [24] Pyla, P., Counter-Histories of Sustainability. 18, pp. 14–17, 2008.

[25] Borsboom, D., Mellenbergh, G. & van Heerden, J., The Concept of Validity. Psychological Review, 111(4), pp. 1061–1071, 2004. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.111.4.1061

[26] Vandevyvere, H., Strategieen voor een verhoogde implementatie van duurzaam bouwen in Vlaanderen. Toepassing op het schaalniveau van het stadsfragment/ Strategies Towards  Increased Sustainable Building in Flanders. Application on the Scale of the Urban Fragment, Ph.D dissertation, K.U.Leuven: Leuven, 2010.

[27] de Raadt, J.D.R., Faith and the Normative Foundation of Systems Science. Systems Practice, 10(1), pp. 13–35, 1997. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF02557849

[28] Basden, A., The critical theory of Herman Dooyeweerd? Journal of Information Technology, 17(4), pp. 257–269, 2002. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0268396022000017770

[29] Lombardi, P. & Basden, A., Environmental Sustainability and Information Systems: The Similarity. Systems Practice, 10(4), pp. 473–489, 1997. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF02557893

[30] Lombardi, P. & Brandon, P., Toward a multi-modal framework for evaluating the built environment quality in sustainability planning (s.n.). Evaluation of the Built Environment for Sustainability, eds P. Brandon, P. Lombardi & V. Bentivegna, E&FN Spon: London, pp. 7–24, 1997.

[31] Brandon, P. & Lombardi, P., Evaluating Sustainable Development in the Built Environment, Wiley-Blackwell: Oxford and Ames, 2011.

[32] Dooyeweerd, H., A New Critique of Theoretical Thought, Vol. 1: The necessary presuppositions of philosophy, H.J. Paris/ The Presbyterian and Reformed Publisher Company:  Amsterdam, 1953.

[33] Dooyeweerd, H., A New Critique of Theoretical Thought, Vol. 2: The general theory of the modal spheres, H.J. Paris/ The Presbyterian and Reformed Publisher Company: Amsterdam, 1955.

[34] Vandevyvere, H., From scoring to orienting: the development of a compass for evaluating sustainable urban development at the neighbourhood scale. Proc. of the 5th Int. Conf. On Sustainable Development and Planning, eds C.A. Brebbia & E. Beriatos, WIT Press: Ashurst, pp. 153–164, 2011.

[35] WCED & Brundtland, G.H., Our Common Future: Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development, Oxford University Press: Oxford, 1987.

[36] Basden, A., The Dooyeweerd Pages, http://www.dooy.salford.ac.uk/

[37] Rotmans, J., Methods for integrated assessment: the challenges and o pportunities ahead.  Environmental Model Assessment, 3(2), pp. 155–179, 1998. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/ A:1019019024003

[38] evr-Architecten - SumResearch - Daidalos Peutz, Duurzaamheidsmeter Stad Gent, Instrument voor duurzaamheid en kwaliteit in stadsontwikkelingsprojecten, handleiding, Versie 3.0, 17 december 2008.

[39] Stad Stockholms/GlashusEtt, Hammarby Sjostad – a unique environmental project in Stockholm, GlashusEtt: Stockholm, 2007.

[40] ISO, International Standard ISO 14031: Environmental management - Environmental performance evaluation – Guidelines, ISO: Geneva, 1999.

[41] Trias Energetica, http://www.triasenergetica.com/home.html

[42] AG Stadsplanning & AG Vespa, Verkoop onder Voorwaarden, Eilandje-Cadix C2-D2, 2009.