WIT Press


From Scoring To Orienting: The Development Of A Compass For Evaluating Sustainable Urban Development At The Neighbourhood Scale

Price

Free (open access)

Paper DOI

10.2495/SDP110141

Volume

150

Pages

12

Page Range

153 - 164

Published

2011

Size

3,057 kb

Author(s)

H. Vandevyvere

Abstract

Recent tools for the evaluation of sustainable neighbourhood performance have been conceived as measuring instruments that deliver an unequivocal outcome in the form of a score. The benefits of these tools in terms of benchmarking, communication power and marketing are obvious. However, the complex tradeoffs that characterize urban development projects complicate a straightforward translation of ‘sustainability aspect’ to ‘score’, not at least because quantitative and qualitative criteria must be combined into a final judgement. The quantitative data uncertainties characteristic of many urban surveying processes further add to the problem. Quantifying the unquantifiable may therefore be considered as the Achilles’ heel of these evaluation tools. A more processoriented guidance can then offer an alternative. The present contribution describes an approach that combines scoring with arguing as a way out of the difficulties of mere quantification. Attention is deviated from the single score to the wider panorama of contributing factors. Three elements provide the basis for the development of the method. Referring to research in political sciences, indicators are primarily conceived as ‘boundary institutions’ that facilitate information exchange between scientists, decision makers and stakeholders. A new form of radar diagram is developed for a better visualisation of complex valuations, minimizing perception bias while maximizing useful information content. Performance thresholds and qualitative accounting are finally added as indispensible components of the judgement palette. The resulting tool thus functions as a compass rather than a gauge. Keywords: sustainable urban development, indicator system, neighbourhood, assessment, multimodal system analysis, radar diagram.

Keywords

sustainable urban development, indicator system, neighbourhood, assessment, multimodal system analysis, radar diagram.