WIT Press

Towards Sustainable Neighbourhoods: A New Handbook And Its Application


Free (open access)





Page Range

177 - 188




750 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


A.-F. Marique, J. Teller


This paper presents a practical handbook that aims at helping local authorities and private developers to build and assess “sustainable neighbourhoods” in Wallonia (Belgium). This handbook was developed by the Research Centre on Territorial, Urban and Rural Sciences (Lepur, University of Liège), at the request of the Walloon Minister of the Environment, Spatial Planning and Mobility. The concrete aim of the handbook is to concretely define the concept of “sustainable neighbourhood” by clearly tagging the minimum criteria that a real estate project must meet to obtain the “sustainable neighbourhood” label in Wallonia. It is a tool for decision support in the design as well as the evaluation of real estate projects, since the early stages of their design. The handbook is structured into 5 main themes and 25 criteria of sustainability. In a broad vision of sustainability, this handbook is not strictly limited to energy issues but considers “sustainability” in all its multiple components: location, network connection, mobility of inhabitants, use of natural resources, landscaping, waste management, diversity of function, social interactions, among others. The handbook is firstly presented and, then, applied to 12 recent case studies in order to identify common invariants in the design process of “sustainable neighbourhoods” and barriers to the integration of cross-cutting principles of sustainability in neighbourhood projects. Our main results namely show that the criteria dealing with energy performance of buildings and green spaces have percolated in many cases. However, the diversity of housing types, the accessibility to handicapped peoples, social diversity and participation issues remain poorly addressed in most of the cases studies.


sustainable neighbourhood, sustainability, handbook, decision support tool, urban projects, urban design, evaluation, local actors, case study