Understanding sustainability in the built environment : a framework for evaluation in urban planning and design
It has often been recognised that planning and design can play an important role in the achievement of sustainable development of cities. However, problems still exist with regards to both a clear understanding of sustainability in the built environment and a means of evaluating it within the context of urban planning and design. This thesis has compared different evaluation methods in urban planning, both ex ante approaches and monitoring, and their philosophical paradigms. Some significant limitations are identified and discussed in the context of sustainability, such as the reductionism within many of the approaches and the lack of holism in the evaluation. The identified deficiencies provide the motivation for the development of a new framework which is able to integrate the different dimensions of sustainability in the built environment. This is based on the Cosmonomic theory of Dooyeweerd which has proved to be more appropriate than other philosophical paradigms in achieving this task. The theory is applied to the built environment for understanding sustainability and developing a framework in planning evaluation. The framework helps decision makers to critically identifSr the sustainability aspects involved in a (re)development planning project, guiding them in the evaluation on the basis of a number of problem solving methods. Some existing case studies are adopted to show the benefits of the framework in the context of regeneration programmes for cities, management policies for cultural heritage and environmental services. The resulting framework provides a significant step forward in understanding and evaluating the built environment in the context of a sustainable urban development. It also has the potential to allow evaluation of the concept of sustainability over time.