11 Pages

Assessing the Sustainability of Urban Development Policies

Introduction The concept of sustainable urban fOIlll has been, and still is being, widely debated. Alternatives include the compact city (Commission of the European Communities, 1992), decentralised concentration (Rickaby, 1987, 1991), remote new settlements (Breheny et at., 1993) and multi-centred cities (Owens, 1987, 1991; Mensink, 1990). Banister (1992) and Blowers (1993) propose balanced communities with a good range offacilities, services and job opportunities so that enforced dependence on the car and long distance travel are minimised. Much interest in promoting sustainable urban fOIlll has focused on potential sustainability benefits related to transport. The first stage of enquiry into the relationships between transport and urban fOIlll has now been replaced by more sophisticated investigations. Initially, a second stage explored the links between transport, energy use and urban fOIlll at the national (Banister, 1992) and local levels (Banister et at., 1997). Such studies revealed the difficulties in detellllining the nature of relationships, due to the many variations in urban fOIlll, whether the urban area is considered in telllls of the labour market area or a city within a region, and the influence of socio-economic variables. Patterns of energy use and transport vary both within and between urban areas, and over time. Categorisation and comparison helped in the understanding of some of the relationships but not the underlying processes at work. The third (and current) stage extends the analysis to include emissions, together with a clear spatial representation of the relationships. The aim of this stage is to test the impacts of different policy actions on urban fOIlll, transport, energy and emissions levels.