WIT Press

Assessment of sustainable neighbourhoods: from standards to cultural practices


Free (open access)


Volume 12 (2017), Issue 3



Page Range

368 - 378

Paper DOI



WIT Press




The development of Neighbourhood Sustainability Assessment (NSA) tools has contributed to the planning and design of better urban environments. Some of these systems aim to be universal through the use of standards, while paradoxically contributing to the certification of projects in culturally diverse contexts. This practice, however, is inconsistent with the notion of sustainability that advocates for a planning and design process adapted to a specific location. Therefore, this study examines how some national NSA tools adapt or not to other countries’ cultures while using standards as a mean of evaluation. It provides an analysis of four NSA systems, the LEED-ND v2009 rating tool, the HQE-A label, the AQUA Bairro e loteamento label, and HKTS green architecture award, conceived by American, French, Brazilian and Vietnamese organisations, respectively. It examines through the survey and classification of evaluation parameters to which extent an assessment culture is sometime contradictory to the assessment of neighbourhoods developed in other cultural contexts. The study ultimately leads to the characterisation of distinct NSA tools cultural profiles. Finally, it discusses the factors (such as contextual adaptation, planning and design ideology, and green construction market growth) that drive the conception of NSA tool.


assessment culture, eco-neighbourhood certification, standards, sustainable neighbourhood assessment system, urban sustainability