Sustainability indicators for master planned communities and traditional suburban development: A Triple Bottom Line (TBL) approach

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Planning to achieve environmental, social and economic objectives is familiar territory for those involved in the design of residential communities. While increasing emphasis on sustainability and green development has tended to focus greater attention on environmental factors, this paper returns to the theme of sustainable communities being a reflection of an array of variables including not only environmental factors, but social and economic factors as well. The Triple Bottom Line (TBL) approach evolved from the corporate sector and a recognition that to be successful and respected in contemporary society, it would be useful for corporations to be seen to be interested in not only their economic bottom line, but also their bottom line impacts on the environment and on the social fabric of the communities in which they operate. One focus of this study was a multi-stage process to identify appropriate measures and indicators of sustainability in each of the TBL domains from among large numbers of possibilities, and then to attempt the collection of information about a selection of those indicators in surveys of residents in six Australian communities (three master planned; three traditional subdivisions) to determine the extent to which “sustainable” responses were more likely to occur in the more planned communities. The survey data emphasized environmental and housing affordability measures, but also included a range of neighbourhood involvement and satisfaction items. Analyses of the survey data confirmed the utility of the overall TBL approach and did indicate some significant differences between the master planned and traditional communities. Equally important, however, the study underlined the difficulty of collecting accurate data on a number of the most interesting 'sustainability' measures relating to household energy use.
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Zehner, R
Blair, J
Prasad, D
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download ACSP Oct 2005 Final.doc 264 KB Microsoft Word
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