Towards an Urban Sustainability Assessment Framework: Supporting Public Deliberation around Sustainability of Specific Contexts
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Few cities in the world have the appropriate models, tools and skills required to translate broad commitments to urban ecological sustainability into practical policies, programs and projects. Many cities are compelled to act in the absence of rigorous analysis and modelling to provide a better evidence base of how their environments behave at present, let alone following planned interventions. A number of computer-based urban simulation models are being employed to forecast and evaluate land use change (Landis & Zhang, 1998a, 1998b; Batty, et al., 1999; Batty, 2003; Wegener et al., 2002; Benenson & Torrens, 2004, 2005; Waddell, 2000, 2002, 2004 & 2006). These models represent a spatial and dynamic approach that enables planners to view and analyse the future outcomes of current decisions and policies before they are put in action. However, there remain several challenges. Modelling efforts have proceeded separately and disciplinary approaches have not adequately addressed the processes and variables that couple human and ecological systems and there exists a gap between most stakeholders and urban planners and the modellers who develop, operate and interpret these models. In response, this empirical research aims to develop an urban sustainability assessment framework which integrates (1) a process approach in the form of a multidisciplinary participatory process (involving local and expert knowledge) and (2) an analytical approach in the form of a computer-based urban simulation system. To develop this approach to sustainability assessment, we are proposing to adopt a methodology of collaborative design, adaptation and evaluation (an adapted form of action research). To date, the study involved the search for an operational computer based urban simulation system and an appropriate participatory integrated assessment methodology. Hence the Open Platform for Urban Simulation (OPUS) and UrbanSim of Paul Waddell and the Integrated Sustainability Assessment (ISA) process of Rotmans & Weaver (2006) were selected. The following stage of the study will involve the design and development of an urban simulation system prototype. Once a prototype has been developed, the final stage will involve the implementation and evaluation of the urban simulation system in combination with the participatory sustainability assessment process of Rotmans & Weaver (2006), as part of a case study.
State of Australian Cities Conference (SOAC)
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Urban and Regional Planning not elsewhere classified