Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Social sustainability - Create strong communities

We need to build a lot more homes in Britain, urgently. But you cannot separate this issue from the social question of what kind of places we want to create. The physical and social fabric of a community are inextricably linked.

The problem is that we are much clearer and more sophisticated when it comes to addressing the former. We know how to deliver good quality homes and assess their design quality and environmental performance. But talk about the social dimensions of new housing and the conversation quickly gets confused. People use words like cohesion and resilience which mean very little in practice.

This is a fundamental concern because of the National Planning Policy Framework.The NPPF has given us a presumption in favour of sustainable development. That's good. But if we cannot define what we mean by sustainable development, how does it help local authorities make quick decisions with confidence? This report is our first attempt to solve the problem. We have created a framework which defines social sustainability and how you measure it; and we have tested it on four Berkeley developments built over the last ten years.

It is not yet the finished article but it is well on the way to providing developers and planners with a way to prove that we can deliver a lot more than housing. We can help to create strong communities which offer people a great quality of life, now and in the future.

Further details of our social sustainability framework can be found in the review below:
Social Sustainability - Creating Strong Communities - Part 1 (PDF Download)
Social Sustainability - Creating Strong Communities - Part 2 (PDF Download)
Social Sustainability - Creating Strong Communities - Appendices (PDF Download)