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Title: The performance and reperformance of sustainability : an actor-network theory informed analysis tracing the performance of sustainability during the implementation of a new low carbon settlement
Author: Oldfield, Joanne
ISNI:       0000 0004 6347 1264
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2017
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Current academic debates on sustainability represent a shift in understanding from previous discussions of standardised, often ambiguous definitions to more recent questions of interpretation. They highlight how understanding notions of sustainability should be centred on the details underpinning interpretations, rather than seeking to produce standardised definitions. This work, therefore, focuses on the details underpinning these interpretations. The concept of sustainability needs to be contested and deliberated in order for it to 'work' in any given context, and whilst this need is recognised, few have explored how such interpretations work in practice nor considered the influence this has had on planning practice. As Owens (2003) stresses, there is a need to explore further if sustainability practice is providing a forum for learning or if it has become a static and accepted notion. This thesis presents a critical analysis of the planning processes at play during the development of a new 'sustainable' settlement. The research questions the different interpretations and aspirations of the key stakeholders involved in the planning and development of the settlement. By presenting a lifecycle analysis of the interpretation, performance and reperformance of sustainability throughout the planning and development of a new settlement, it is possible to explore how the performance of 'sustainability' affects both planning and development practices. The work adopts a case study-based methodology, examining in detail the new settlement of Waverley. The analysis uses an actor-network informed conceptual framework to explore how and when interpretations of sustainability are contested and applied during a complex planning application process. The research concludes that the outcomes of large development projects are significantly influenced by the nature and timing of debates about 'sustainability', suggesting that we can no longer aspire to sustained economic growth if we wish to also achieve a 'true' sustainable urban form.
Supervisor: Tait, Malcolm ; Watson, Matt Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available