Cities constitute essential parts of the solution to many of the current sustainable development challenges. They have a major role to play in sustainable development both as crucial “engines” of socio-economic growth and significant “originators” of environmental loads. The special significance of cities for sustainable development is also reflected in the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. To organize and to support a sustainable urban development is, however, a particularly complex task to accomplish for any local authority or stakeholder
group. The reasons for this complexity are related to the amplitude of the sustainability concept, to the variety and changing nature of the factors to be taken into account, as well as to the challenge for balancing the needs and interests of different stakeholder groups involved in – or affected by – urban interventions. The neighbourhood, as a more manageable urban unit than the city, and as a promising level to test out new ideas and ways of achieving sustainable urban development, has increasingly been acknowledged by research, policy and industry. ... mehrThe thesis therefore investigates new approaches to support sustainable urban development at the neighbourhood scale, with a specific focus on the neighbourhoods in Europe. Existing literature indicates that prevailing approaches are traditionally prescriptive and outcomes-based and fail to acknowledge the process nature of sustainable urban development.
Furthermore, their contribution commonly starts and ends with the measurement of indicators and the provision of assessment results in the form of static “snap-shots” without those being reflected in specific possibilities for action in the local area. This hardly solves the problem of the (further) development of existing neighbourhoods. Decoding these results into context-specific strategies and actions, as well as ways of managing these actions, remains a challenge and an area not much researched yet. To remediate these weaknesses and gaps, the thesis proposes a comprehensive and integrated conceptual “process-based” and “action-oriented” overall framework which combines three approaches: (1) a step-by-step structured workflow model that decomposes the process of SUD into manageable tasks and incorporates all necessary quality requirements that should accompany a transition to sustainability; the purpose is to support the preparation phase of sustainable urban development process; (2) a methodology for identifying problem areas, their respective tradeoffs, as well as selecting, organising and describing indicators in an action-oriented fashion; the purpose is to provide a new proposal for linking indicators to possibilities for action so that their use does not only focus on assessing but also guiding development; (3) a methodology for prioritising and selecting concrete strategies and actions for neighbourhoods. The usefulness of the latter is illustrated by the means of a hypothetical case, and with the help of a web-based tool built by the author specifically for the multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) method ELECTRE III. The originality of this research lies in that such a comprehensive framework, bringing all the above-mentioned elements together into one coherent solution, has not been available until now. The value of the research is that the proposed overall framework can be a helpful decision support tool for any neighbourhood in Europe which is developing a sustainable development plan.