Marcella Whitfield, August 2014
As a society, we are still figuring out the best ways to lower the negative impact of our built environment. Alongside the attempts of developers, architects and engineers to lower environmental impacts, there is an ongoing debate about how ‘success’ in the field of sustainable community development should be prescriptively defined and framed at different scales. But I wondered if we could turn this (often rather theoretical) debate on its head. Rather than taking diverse intentions and goals as the starting point, I wanted to begin by directly comparing the actual performance of different developments in the real world, using whatever data was available. This, I hoped, would provide a clear steer on where specifically, in practice, we could find the most sustainable urban community developments in the world? By extension, these grounded findings would reveal which particular strategies and frameworks, or elements thereof, appear to lead most effectively to optimal outcomes.
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