WIT Press

Neighbourhood sustainability assessment model for developing countries: A comprehensive approach to urban quality of life


Free (open access)


Volume 15 (2020), Issue 1



Page Range

107 - 123

Paper DOI



WIT Press


Tseliso Moroke, Carel Schoeman & Ilse Schoeman


To this end, sustainability has progressively become a core principle and prerequisite in the urban planning and development. The application of sustainability and/or its principal expression is being threatened by neighbourhoods’ inequality such as segregation in land use and varying levels of income in developing countries. From sustainable development perspective and strictly linked to spatial contexts, this reflects inadequate urban planning as these spatial and socio-economic inequalities translate to fragmented spatial systems, unsustainable urban form and low quality of life. The analysis of these variables depicts that between the rich neighbourhoods and poor neighbourhoods very little space is afforded for connectivity and integration, local facilities, environmental quality and spatial components which are themselves pillars of sustainable urban form and desired quality of life are not preferentially factored into poor neighbourhoods. Thus, bringing multiple and multifaceted adverse impacts on poor people such as living in the unsafe and unhealthy areas. In essence, locally provided community facilities, infrastructure and services are mechanisms of spatial transformation and integration thus promote social and economic development. When drawing up social services to act as the basis from which sustainability in urban areas could be determined – central contention is that urban sustainability cannot be achieved without adequate social facilities that are differentiated by neighbourhoods varying development densities, community size, mobility levels and socio-economic variations. As a result, this research paper evaluates the sustainability level of low-income neighbourhood living spaces which urban system requires in order to achieve urban sustainability. Evaluating neighbourhood sustainability requires a modelling and integrated approach that bring forward all aspects of urban development and quality of life. The Successful Neighbourhood Model (SNM) developed as the comprehensive sustainability assessment tool for low income neighbourhoods in pursuit of neighbourhood sustainability in South Africa is used. The application of SNM procedure embrace metric benchmarking methodology and this quantitative nature of sustainability assessment is employed to conclude and recommend timely integration of new urban sustainability issues in the planning policies, strategies and instruments. SNM has demonstrated that it is possible to identify barriers that hinder poor neigbourhoods to be sustainable and presents possibilities of aiding urban policy decisions regarding sustainability. 


Neighbourhood, sustainability, quality of life, evaluation.