Procuring the urban house in paradise
The ambition of the thesis was to consider the performance of urban dwellings, and more specifically to develop a series of benchmarked criteria that holistically define the performance of an urban dwelling throughout its lifecycle, then to create an assessment tool that extends the scope of existing environmental evaluation models. The benchmarks for each of the criteria define the quantitative and qualitative performance values of firstly, a dwelling built to current regulation standards, secondly a European comparison, and thirdly one of the drawn studies undertaken as part of the research methodology; finally the performance of the 'urban house in paradise' is proposed, based upon advances to the above. These benchmarks provide a generic framework that describes the integrated performance of adwelling. The tool advances existing assessment models by responding to their identified shortcomings, which includes taking account of the interrelation between criteria and evolves significance weightings in terms of the relative priority of the criteria to each other. By attempting to resolve the linkages between the criteria, the tool as developed will model how these interrelated benchmarks effect each other within agiven project, so that a holistic set of vaJues, the ideal balance of priorities, can be developed. This will enable a designer to determine the best overall balance of a dwelling's performance, taking account of the identified relative significance of each of the criteria, to bring the sustainability of a project as close as possible to the idealo f the 'urban house in paradise'.S uch a development provides an advance upon existing techniques in defining and assessing the ecological performance of adwelling. The contributions to knowledge made by this thesis are primarily in increasing the depth and scope of assessing the performance, and in particular the environmental performance, of dwellings. The field of criteria in existing environmental assessment methods is extended to include not only a broader, and therefore more holistic range than any other environmental assessment model, but also those relevant to socio-economic areas of sustainability. Prioritisation and interrelation between the individual criteria was developed in the assessment tool's methodology: interrelation is crucial, as sustainability demands a holistic view. Assessment and prioritisation methods are based on the philosophy of Deep Ecology, and not an anthropocentric orientation, therefore potentially creating a radical reappraisal of the criteria considered important in other assessment models. The prioritisation extends between fields, in search of most significant criteria within a holistic view and has identified, within the boundaries of what is technically feasible, the criteria that can contribute most to achieving more ecologically sustainable dwelling in a Deep Ecological sense.