Neighbourhoods appear to be complex and difficult to assess in terms of sustainability performance. A review of green precinct assessment tools for urban areas revealed that these tend to focus on environmental issues and did not take into social and economic issues. Many of the tools are also complex and do not encourage the involvement of communities and non-professionals. Also, many tools and rating systems are prescriptive and do not encourage or support the exploration of innovative solutions that respond to local opportunities and challenges.
The Built Environment Sustainability Tool addresses these issues by being based on a sustainability approach which includes social and economic aspects as well as environmental impacts. The tool aims to be simple to use and to encourage the active participation of all role players including local communities in assessing local sustainability performance and developing plans to improve this. It encourages a range of solutions to be explored and tested to support responsive solutions that work with local opportunities and challenges.
The BEST methodology provides practical ways of developing more sustainable neighbourhoods that enable you to address the following questions:
- What is sustainability?
- What are the implications of sustainability for urban areas and settlements?
- Do existing and proposed urban areas and settlements have the appropriate configuration and characteristics for sustainability?
- Can this configuration and characteristics be assessed?
- Can these assessments inform the development of interventions and solutions to improve sustainability performance?
- Are there ways of identifying the most optimum solutions and interventions to address gaps and rapidly improving sustainability performance?
- Can sustainability plans and strategies be developed to ensure that sustainability targets are achieved in a structured, efficient and effective way?
The BEST can be accessed here.