Matching a community assessment tool to the requirements of practice

Husam Al Waer (Lead / Corresponding author), R. David Kirk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
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Over the last two decades, performance-based metrics have been applied in master planning as a means to estimate the impacts of large-scale development on the local and global environment. Community sustainability assessment has developed to provide a practical method for assessing the performance of a spatial master plan against an array of sustainability indicators. This paper considers the adequacy of such a tool to provide reliable information when and as required for decision-making in the planning process. It reviews Breeam (building research establishment environmental assessment method) Communities 2012 specifically examining whether this tool provides an analysis which is strategic, comprehensive and integrated. Breeam 2012 is found to be adequately comprehensive in the current operational context of the British planning system. The sustainability assessment model can usefully inform decision-making at the strategic ‘stage gates’ of master planning. However, the analytical methodology of the assessment model is inherently fractional. This complicates how a ‘balanced’ evaluation of the relative importance of sustainability issues is reached and agreed. It is suggested that a project culture of trans-disciplinary dialogue and explorative learning is required to promote the understanding and use of sustainability assessment practice in master planning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-229
Number of pages14
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Urban Design and Planning
Issue numberDP5
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2015


  • Environment
  • Town and City Planning
  • Sustainability


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  • Reed and Mallik Medal

    AlWaer, Husam (Recipient), 2023

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

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