Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Measuring Socially Sustainable Urban Regeneration in Europe

by Andrea Colantonio and Tim Dixon

Previous research on sustainability has been mainly limited to environmental and economic concerns. However in recent years social sustainability has gained increased recognition as a fundamental component of sustainable development, beginning to receive political and institutional endorsement within the sustainable development agenda, and the sustainable urban regeneration discourse. Indeed, in the 1980s, regeneration projects focused mainly on the physical and economic renewal of degraded inner-city areas. However, since the 1990s across the EU, this approach to urban regeneration emphasising the environmental and economic spheres of regeneration has been replaced by a more integrated approach to urban redevelopment, which linked the stimulation of economic activities and environmental improvements with social and cultural elements.
The delivery of sustainable urban development has moved to the heart of European urban policy through the development of several policy documents and agreements, including the 1998 document “Urban Sustainable Development in the EU: A Framework for Action”, the 2005 “Bristol Accord” and the 2007 “Leipzig Charter on Sustainable European Cities”. Although a growing recognition of social sustainability has spurred an emerging body of research and policy literature, our understanding of this concept is still fuzzy and limited by theoretical and methodological constraints stemming from its context and disciplinary-dependent interpretations. Furthermore, at a practice level, tools, instruments and metrics to foster sustainable urban development currently available are biased toward environmental and economic sustainability. As a result, there is a clear need for further research on both social sustainability and its measurement in the context of sustainable urban regeneration.

Street market in Porta Palazzo, Torino
Porto Palazzo, Torino


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