Assessing Urban Social Sustainability: Current Capabilities and Opportunities for Future Research

By Herb Castillo, Cletus Moobela, Andrew D. F. Price and Vivek Narain Mathur.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The increased importance of the concept of sustainable development combined with the need for an evidence-based approach to policy development, has created the need for reliable models and tools to guide decision-makers by robust measures of system performance that can assess the impact of policy and practice upon urban sustainability. In recognition of this need, a consortium comprising three UK academic institutions and three lead industrial partners, under the auspices of the Sustainable Urban Environments – Metrics, Models and Toolkits (sue-MoT) project, undertook an extensive scoping study, that assessed the current state of the art in urban sustainability assessment, with a view to: identifying gaps and needs in currently available assessment tools; and identifying consequent priorities for tool development. This paper reports on the methodology used in the study and the gaps, needs and priorities subsequently identified in current work and knowledge specifically within the specific area of urban social sustainability.

Keywords: Sustainability, Social Sustainability, Sustainability Assessment

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp.39-50. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 593.644KB).

Dr Herb Castillo

Consultant, PA Consulting Group, London, UK

Dr Herb Castillo is a Consultant with PA Consulting Group in the UK. His background is in developing robust methodological frameworks and indicators for monitoring progress towards sustainable development. Prior to joining PA Consulting Group, Herb worked as a Research Associate at Loughborough University, UK where he was part of a diverse team working together on the Sustainable Urban Environment – Metrics, Models and Toolkits (SUE-MOT) project. The SUE-MoT project is seeking, amongst other things, to develop approaches for evaluating economic, environmental and social issues in a way that will robustly guide decision-makers on sustainability of a development, project or policy initiative, at any stage in the life cycle. Herb holds a PhD from Loughborough University (2004). As part of his PhD, Herb developed the Evaluative and Logical Approach for Sustainable Transport Indicator Compilation (ELASTIC) - a flexible and robust approach for deriving sustainable transport indicators. ELASTIC is based on the application of Multi-criteria Decision Analysis techniques, and is guided exclusively by stakeholder preferences, judgements, priorities and local context. Herb has published extensively in both Academic journals and local press and has presented at a number of international conferences.

Dr. Cletus Moobela

Senior Lecturer, School of Environmental Design and Management, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK

Dr. Cletus Moobela is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom. Upon completion of his PhD at Sheffield Hallam University in 2004, Cletus Moobela worked as a Research Associate at the University of Reading, focussing on asset management strategies for social housing and as a Research Fellow at Loughborough University exploring social sustainability assessment. His research interests revolve around the three themes of social capital, complexity theory, and social sustainability as they relate to the built environment. Prior to commencement of his PhD, he had been working as a Lecturer in Property Valuation and Investment Appraisal at Copperbelt University.

Prof. Andrew D. F. Price

Professor, Department of Civil & Building Engineering, Loughborough University, Leicestershire, UK

Professor Andrew Price, Director of Post Graduate Studies in the Department of Civil and Building and HaCIRIC Academic Director at LU, has over 25 years design, construction and industry-focused research experience. He has published four books and over 200 refereed papers, successfully supervised 32 PhD students and attracted substantial research funds from several sources. His early research focussed on construction productivity and the motivation and development of human resources. This evolved to include several project management related topics, such as integrated design and construction, partnering and less adversarial long-term relationships. In recent years, the focus has moved towards measuring and improving the socio-economic aspects of construction performance, this has included: construction value, sustainability; performance improvement; Total Quality Management; and benchmarking. Current funded research includes: innovative design and construction solutions for healthcare infrastructures; Built Healing Environments and Sustainable Urban Environments; Value for Money and Stakeholder Engagement; and Waste Awareness and Resource Efficiency; Construction Futures and Strategic Management; and Resilience of Critical Infrastructures.

Vivek Narain Mathur

Researcher, Department of Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, UK

Vivek has been working at Loughborough University (U.K.) as a Research Associate on a multidisciplinary research project which aims to develop a holistic and transparent framework for assessment for urban sustainability since February 2006. He is also currently pursuing his doctoral studies at Loughborough University in the field of stakeholder participation in urban sustainability assessment. He obtained his Bachelor of Planning degree from School of Planning and Architecture (New Delhi, India) and an MSc in Sustainability, Planning and Environmental Policy from Cardiff University (U.K.). He has also worked for nearly two years in the development and environment sectors in India. His research interests include inclusive decision making for sustainability, equity and participation. He also has a broader interest in the environmental and social impacts of the large development projects; and environmental decision making processes.

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