Evaluation of the Built Environment for Sustainability

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Evaluation of the Built Environment for Sustainability

Edited by P.S.Brandon Pro-Vice Chancellor, Research and Graduate Studies, University of Salford, UK P.L.Lombardi Dip

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Evaluation of the Built Environment for Sustainability

Evaluation of the Built Environment for Sustainability Edited by

P.S.Brandon Pro-Vice Chancellor, Research and Graduate Studies, University of Salford, UK P.L.Lombardi Dipartimento di Analisi Economica e Sociale del Territorio, Venice School of Architecture, Italy V.Bentivegna Dipartimento di Processi e Metodi della Produzione Edilizia, University of Florence, Italy

E & FN SPON An Imprint of Chapman & Hall London • Weinheim • New York • Tokyo • Melbourne • Madras

Published by E & FN Spon, an imprint of Chapman & Hall, 2–6 Boundary Row, London SE1 8HN, UK Chapman & Hall, 2–6 Boundary Row, London SE1 8HN, UK Chapman & Hall, GmbH, Pappelallee 3, 69469 Weinheim, Germany Chapman & Hall USA, 115 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10003, USA Chapman & Hall Japan, ITP-Japan, Kyowa Building, 3F, 2–2–1 Hirakawacho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102, Japan Chapman & Hall Australia, 102 Dodds Street, South Melbourne, Victoria 3205, Australia Chapman & Hall India, R.Seshadri, 32 Second Main Road, CIT East, Madras 600 035 First edition 1997 This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2005. “To purchase your own copy of this or any of Taylor & Francis or Routledge’s collection of thousands of eBooks please go to www.eBookstore.tandf.co.uk.” © 1997 P.S.Brandon, P.L.Lombardi and V.Bentivegna ISBN 0-203-36242-X Master e-book ISBN

ISBN 0-203-37500-9 (Adobe eReader Format) ISBN 0 419 21990 0 (Print Edition) Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of research or private study, or criticism or review, as permitted under the UK Copyright Designs and Patents Act, 1988, this publication may not be reproduced, stored, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of the publishers, or in the case of reprographic reproduction only in accordance with the terms of the licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency in the UK, or in accordance with the terms of licences issued by the appropriate Reproduction Rights Organization outside the UK. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside the terms stated here should be sent to the publishers at the London address printed on this page. The publisher makes no representation, express or implied, with regard to the accuracy of the information contained in this book and cannot accept any legal responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions that may be made. A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 97–65934


List of


Introduction Peter Brandon, Patrizia Lombardi and Vincenzo Bentivegna


Environmental assessment methods for use at the building and city scales: constructing bridges or identifying common ground? Ian Cooper (UK)


Toward a multi-modal framework for evaluating the built environment quality in sustainability planning Patrizia Lombardi (Italy), P.S.Brandon (UK)


BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: CITY MODELS AND SYSTEMS Limitations in environmental evaluations Vincenzo Bentivegna (Italy)


The development of the Leeds Quantifiable City model A.D.May, G.Mitchell and D.Kupiszewska (UK)


An energy and environmental prediction model for cities Phil Jones, Nigel Vaughan, P.Cooke and A.Sutcliffe (UK)


An information system to support environmental decision making and debate Chris Tweed (N. Ireland)


Self-sustainable urban development Luigi Fusco Girard (Italy)


Green Development Corporations: a proposed framework for an economically attractive and environmentally sustainable form of urban development Nils Larsson (Canada)



Land management in the context of sustainability: the new regional land planning law of Tuscany Marco Gamberini (Italy)


Policies for the management of a polluted urban environment: a study of the city of Wuhan, China John G.Taylor (UK)


The prajna approach to sustainable construction Martin G.Sexton (UK)


Sustainable architecture in the industrialised economies: 164 environmental and energy-related aspects in teaching architectural technology Marco Sala (Italy) Designing and revitalising communities Richard Grey and Sandy Halliday (UK) PART TWO


EVALUATION IN PLANNING AND CONSTRUCTION: PROCESSES AND PROBLEMS Prioritizing environmental criteria in building design and assessment Ray Cole (Canada)


Environmental cost internalization for sustainable construction Charles J.Kibert (USA)


Environmental impact evaluation of buildings and cities for sustainability Tony Birtles (UK)


Illuminating the cumulative impact of small decisions— 227 A study of building demolition B.L.Golton (UK) An economic evaluation and appraisal of the effects land 239 use, building obsolescence and depreciation have on the environment of cities Mark Deakin (UK) Sustainability and the built environment: tourism impacts Sam S.Allwinkle and C.E.Speed (UK)


The economic and social value of the conservation of historic buildings and areas: economics of conservation C.Brooks, P.Cheshire, A.Evans and M.Stabler (UK)



Environmental regeneration as a motor for development: the evaluation problem Almerico Realfonzo (Italy)


Managing development at cultural heritage sites: conservation practice and sustainability David Mason (UK)


Economic development and environmental gloss: a new structure plan for Lancashire Simin Davoudi (UK)


Evaluation and planning process: methodological dimension Abdul Khakee (Sweden)


Environmental assessment in land use planning: a rhetorical approach Almerigo Zeppetella (Italy)


Space management in the European compact city Martin Symes (UK)


PART THREE ENVIRONMENTAL AND ECONOMIC EVALUATION METHODS AND APPLICATIONS Evaluation methods for the built environment: three open questions Giulio Mondini (Italy)


Hedonic values of noxious activity: a comparison of US worker responses by race and ethnicity David Clark (USA)


Valuing public goods with contingent valuation methods: user purposes and values Marina Bravi and Rocco Curto (Italy)


Using the contingent valuation method in the economic appraisal of the renovation of historic buildings G.D.Garrod, K.G.Willis, H.Bjarnadottir and P.Cockbain (UK)


The economic valuation of cultural heritage Gemma Sirchia (Italy)


Methodology and application of sustainable environmental concepts for the built environment Peter Nijkamp and Luisa Artuso (NL)



Integrated conservation of cultural built heritage F.Bizzarro and P.Nijkamp


Multi-attribute analysis in the identification of areas for residental expansion: MAA and territorial planning Paolo Rosato and Giuseppe Stellin (Italy)


Land planning and resources evaluation for public 511 investments: resources evaluation for territorial planning M.Grillenzoni, A.Ragazzoni, G.M.Bazzani and M.Canavari (Italy) Environmental impact evaluation of high performance windows for sustainable buildings Taria Muneer, B.Han and T.E.Truslove (UK)


Traffic air pollution monitoring management and control for sustainability Margaret C.Bell (UK)


Assessment of noise from urban light railways Bridget Shield (UK)


Models and uncertainty measures in the theory of estimate Riccardo Roscelli and Nicola Bellomo (Italy)





Professor S.S.Allwinkle Department of Building and Surveying Napier University Colinton Road Edinburgh EH10 5DT UK Luisa Artuso Polytechnic of Milan Milan Italy Dr. G.M.Bazzani Ist. di Estimo & contabilità University of Bologna Via Filippo Re 10 Bologna 40126 Italy Dr. Margaret C.Bell University of Nottingham University Park Nottingham NG7 2RD UK Professor Nicola Bellomo Polytechnic of Turin 10125 Turin Italy Professor Vincenzo Bentivegna Dipartimento Processi e Metodi della Produzione Edilizia University of Florence Via S.Niccolò 89/a Florence


Italy Dr Tony Birtles Building Research Establishment Garston Watford WD2 7JR UK H.Bjarnadottir Department of Agricultural Economics University of Newcastle upon Tyne Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU UK Professor P.S.Brandon Research & Graduate College University of Salford Salford M5 4WT UK Dr. Marina Bravi Dept Casa-Città Polytechnic of Turin 10125 Turin Italy C.Brooks Department of Economics (FURS) University of Reading Reading RG6 2AW UK M.Canavari University of Padua Italy P.Cheshire Department of Economics (FURS) Univeristy of Reading Reading RG6 2AW UK Dr. David Clark Department of Economics Marquette University, Milwaukee WI 53233 USA P.Cockbain


Department of Agricultural Economics University of Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU UK Dr. Ray Cole School of Architecture University of British Columbia Memorial Road Vancouver BC Canada V6T 1Z2 P.Cooke The Centre for Advanced Social Studies University of Wales College of Cardiff Cardiff CF1 3AP UK Dr. Ian Cooper Eclipse Research Consultants Arbury Road Cambridge CB4 2JD UK Professor Rocco Curto Department Casa-Città Polytechnic of Turin 10125 Turin Italy Simin Davoudi Dept of Town and Country Planning University of Newcastle upon Tyne Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU UK Mark Deakin Department of Building and Surveying Napier University Colinton Road Edinburgh EH10 5DT UK Professor Alan Evans Department of Economics (FURS) University of Reading Reading RG6 2AW


UK Professor Luigi Fusco Girard University Federico II of Naples Parco Margherita 14 Naples Italy Marco Gamberini Regione Toscana Via di Novoli 26 Florence Italy Professor Guy Garrod Department of Agricultural Economics University of Newcastle upon Tyne Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU UK Bryn Golton Department of Surveying University of Salford Salford M5 4WT UK Richard Grey Building Services Research & Information Association Old Bracknell Lane West Bracknell Berkshire RG12 7AH UK Professor Maurizio Grillenzoni Ist. di Estimo & contabilità University of Bologna Via Filippo Re 10 Bologna 40126 Italy Sandy Halliday Building Services Research & Information Association Old Bracknell Lane West Bracknell Berkshire RG12 7AH UK


B.Han Napier University Colinton Road Edinburgh EH10 5DT UK Professor P.J.Jones Architectural Science Research & Development Welsh School of Architecture Bute Building, King Edward VII Avenue, Cathays Park Cardiff CF1 3AP UK Professor Abdul Khakee Department of Political Science Umeå University Umeå S–90187 Sweden D.Kupiszewska The Environment Centre University of Leeds Leeds LS2 9JT UK Professor Charles J.Kibert PO Box 115703 University of Florida Gainesville, Florida 32611–5703 USA Nils Larsson, MRAIC Program Manager Energy Efficiency Division CANMET, Natural Resources Canada 7th floor, 580 Booth Street Ottawa K1A 0E4 Canada Patrizia Lombardi DAEST-IUAV S. Croce 1957 30135 Venice Italy David Mason


Japan Crescent Crouch Hill London N4 4BB UK Professor Tony May Institute for Transport Studies University of Leeds Leeds LS2 9JT UK G.Mitchell The Environment Centre University of Leeds Leeds LS2 9JT UK Professor Giulio Mondini Dipartimento Processi e Metodi della Produzione Edilizia University of Florence Via S. Niccolò 89/a Florence Italy Dr. Taria Muneer Napier University Colinton Road Edinburgh EH 10 5DT UK Professor Peter Nijkamp Department of Economics Free University of Amsterdam Amsterdam Netherlands A.Ragazzoni Ist. di Estimo & Contabilita University of Bologna Via Filippo Re 10 Bologna 40126 Italy Professor Almerico Realfonzo University Federico II of Naples Parco Margherita 14 Naples


Italy Professor Riccardo Roscelli Faculty of Architecture Polytechnic of Turin 10125 Turin Italy Dr. Paolo Rosato Faculty of Engineering University of Padova Padova Italy Marco Sala Dipartimento Processi e Metodi della Produzione Edilizia University of Florence Via S. Niccolò 89/a Florence Italy Martin Sexton TIME Research Institute University of Salford Salford M5 4WT UK Dr. Bridgitte Shield South Bank University Borough Road London SE1 0AA UK C.E.Speed Hospitality and Tourism Management Napier University Colinton Rd Edinburgh EH10 5DT UK Professor Gemma Sirchia Department Casa-Città Polytechnic of Turin 10125 Turin Italy M.Stabler Department of Economics (FURS)


University of Reading Reading RG6 2AW UK Professor Giuseppe Stellin Faculty of Engineering University of Padova Padova Italy A.Sutcliffe The Centre for Advanced Social Studies University of Wales College of Cardiff Cathays Park Cardiff CF1 3AP UK Professor Martin Symes School of Architecture The University of Manchester Manchester M13 9PL UK Dr. J.G.Taylor South Bank University Borough Road London SE1 0AA UK T.E.Truslove Napier University Colinton Rd Edinburgh EH10 5DT UK Dr. Chris Tweed Queen’s University Lennoxvale Belfast Ireland BT9 5BY UK Professor Nigel Vaughan Architectural Science Research & Development Welsh School of Architecture


Bute Building, King Edward VII Avenue Cathays Park Cardiff CF1 3AP UK K.G.Willis Department of Agricultural Economics University of Newcastle upon Tyne Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU UK Professor A.Zeppetella Department Interateneo Territorio Polytechnic of Turin 10125 Turin Italy

Introduction Peter S.Brandon,* Patrizia L.Lombardi,** Vincenzo Bentivegna*** *University of Salford, Salford M5 4WT, UK **Venice School of Architecture, Venice ***University of Florence, Florence, Italy

1 HOW THIS BOOK CAME ABOUT In most of the context in which individuals spend their living time, the environment is already built, but annual construction modifies it and can make a profound difference over several decades. The production of the built environment entails the use of natural materials, the consumption of energy, and localised impacts on habitats. The cumulative impact of these short-range environmental impacts may result in more significant long-range impacts and their environmental consequences only become fully apparent to future generations. Therefore, there is a need to both understand which dynamics and mechanisms (social, economic, technological, juridical) are required to transform the existing built environment to make it more sustainable and to internalise environmental costs in current economic accounting. This volume includes several studies on the evaluation of the built environmental for sustainability, considering the built environment as a dynamic scenario that changes over time. As already said, it represents the ‘product’ of urban planning and architectural design processes, and of various construction activities that take place in a defined spatial organisation. Here, the physical, social and economic dimensions are connected to each other in a way that makes the analysis of this ‘product’ complex. Usually, urban regeneration processes are required in order to fill the gap between the actual and the desired reality, since it seeks to reverse the “vicious spiral” in which physical, economic and social problems reinforce each other. Unfortunately, at present there does not exist a trans-disciplinary language across the built environment that can bring together the diversity of interests necessary to assess built and natural environmental impacts. In evaluating the built environment for sustainability, the disciplines involved bring their own classification system and techniques to the problem and they are unwilling (or unable) to consider the views represented by others because there is not a common vocabulary or a systematic methodology which will allow a fruitful dialogue to take place. Therefore, the task is to find an integrating


Fig 1.

mechanism or tool for helping decision making processes in planning, design and construction. This book proposes a multi-disciplinary approach to the problem, moving toward more integrated work methodologies between various disciplines. In particular, it wishes to foster the integration between environmental and economic evaluations in planning, design and construction. These disciplinary areas, corresponding to different scientific approaches related to urban systems and buildings, can contribute to develop a common language for evaluating the built environment in the context of sustainability. Figure 1 illustrates the relationship of domains of these different disciplines and dimensions within the context of the Built Environment Evaluation for Sustainability. Sustainability usually assumes different meanings between scientific areas and practical contexts. It can be a useful umbrella for encouraging cross-disciplinary working, or a contradictory notion at the conceptual level which proves impossible to operationalise. It can be used as a means for increasing the autonomy of buildings and cities, or for improving the balance between cities and their hinterland. However, there exists a direct relation with the notion of quality, as both quality of life and environmental quality, in a long term perspective. Taking into consideration the well-being of the citizens with respect to future generation needs and to environmental conservation, an evaluation of the built environment quality at a local planning level is considered an important issue in achieving the sustainability of cities. By ‘evaluation’, it is generally meant a technical-scientific procedure for expressing a judgement, based on values, about the impacts of a policy or of an action on the physical (natural and/or built) environment, or for assessing the effects of these impacts on the community (social dimension). However, the


evaluation methods are many and there is no agreement among scholars on the theoretical framework to be used nor on an homogeneous vocabulary. When evaluating built environment for sustainability, problems arise which are connected with different levels of the scale of operation. The evaluation methods are different when the analysis considers individual materials or whole building assemblies; city lots and districts or whole cities. In other words, the spatial dimension plays an important role and can hinder the integration between different work methodologies. However, the spatial typology cannot be considered as universally fixed and valid, since many environmental impacts are spatially exported. In fact, an activity occurring in one location can impact on others, either in close proximity to the location or often further afield. In addition, there are externalities which represent the effect of many marginal increments in the overall level of an activity over a broad spatial area. Therefore, considering that urban sustainability has both internal and external dimensions, it is usually necessary to think not only in terms of urban areas themselves but also in the sense of their wider impact on regional and global ecosystems. In conclusion, there is no agreement between the contributors about the more appropriate approach to be used for achieving greater sustainability in the built environment: a ‘bottom up’ approach, decentralising decision making or a ‘top down’ approach, for a more comprehensive area development. However, the principles of equity and public participation in decision making processes have been recognised as central for sustainability, particularly by those who develop assessment methods at the city scale. Focusing on environmental assessment methods, the book presents the advantages and limits of current evaluation procedures, from both a theoretical and a practical perspective. In addition, it proposes new environmental and energy performance models at both building and city scales for addressing the four recognised sustainability principles of futurity, environment, equity and public participation. Considering the diversity of approaches and of methodologies developed by those interested in building and city assessments, this volume hopes to establish a collaborative framework for managing the dynamics of a complex scenario such as the built environment. 2 OVERVIEW OF THE BOOK The first two papers provide an overview of the problems of evaluating buildings and cities for sustainability. In particular, Ian Cooper illustrates the resumé of emerging themes presented in this volume and identifies factors which unite and divide those who are developing environmental assessment methods for use at both the building and city scales. On the other hand, Patrizia Lombardi and Peter Brandon discuss the problem of harmonising the languages across the built environment and describes a new approach, based on a multi-modal thinking, that


can be useful to structure a conceptual framework for guiding the evaluation of built environment quality at a local planning level. All the other papers are loosely presented in an order that moves from the general to the particular. Thus, for example Vincenzo Bentivegna, at one extreme, discusses some of the controversial aspects with regard to the evaluation of environmental effects in a built context, whereas, at the other, Riccardo Roscelli and Nicola Bellomo illustrate a mathematical model for controlling uncertainty in the evaluation of the built environment. Within this general structure, the papers are also grouped into three main parts. The first one is related to City Models and Sustainable Systems, concerning research programmes, environmental policies, green corporations and collaborative strategies which can make urban development more sustainable. It focuses on the development of new environmental assessment models for sustainable cities, developed by two different research groups at Leeds and Cardiff. These appear to be essential in order to test various development scenarios in terms of their sustainability. Other contributors discuss more theoretical issues related to urban sustainability and to environmental evaluations, or they propose collaborative systems for environmental decision making in cities and strategies for encouraging private sectors; the improvement of existing regulatory frameworks and useful managerial innovations for moving toward a systemic approach. The second part discusses the problems of evaluating the built environment in planning and construction, with regard to economic and environmental evaluation methods, on the one hand, and to construction, development and regeneration processes of the built environment, on the other hand. A central issue is related to the detailed linkages and relationships between environmental criteria for use in both building design and assessment. Other contributors focus on the relationships between: obsolescence and depreciation; tourism and their impact on the built environment; development and urban regeneration or conservation of cultural heritage sites; economic and social benefits and costs in current development practice; processes of urban and architectural design. A particular emphasis is placed on the debate toward sustainable planning: the shifting in the balance of the interplay of the socio-economic interests; the shift in emphasis from the plan as a source of policy formulation to the planning process during which policy commitments are made; the communicative aspects of the planning process and the role of a rhetorical (argumentative) assessment approach in decision-making processes with conflicting interests between social actors. The third group of chapters illustrates a number of applications referring to different evaluation approaches and techniques and to various environmental aspects of the natural and built environment, such as the contingent valuation method, hedonic pricing, multi-attribute analysis, architectural approach, maintaining historic buildings, transport management, air pollution


monitoring, noise, energy, waste, etc. Some studies focus on the economic evaluation of public goods and of cultural and historical resources. Others design operational frameworks for the evaluation of alternative urban configurations and for the selection of residential areas by using multi-attribute and multi-criteria analyses. Furthermore, all the case-studies described are related to geographical contexts which differ from each other depending on the social, legislative and political systems and on the ecological problems of the areas, USA, Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, Italy and Sweden. Lastly, there are presented specific impact evaluations of energy efficient buildings and of railway noise and an online traffic, roadside pollution and roof top climate monitoring system. 3 SUMMARY OF EACH CONTRIBUTION A short summary of each paper will be given in the following. In the paper by V.Bentivegna, some of the controversial aspects with regard to the evaluation of environmental effects in a built environment context are discussed. The first part concerns the evaluation as a technical scientific procedure. The second one deals with the role of evaluation in the public decision process related to environmental choices. The conclusions of the author are the following: 1) the evaluation of environmental effects cannot be considered as either generally valid or fully representative of all interests in the game, but it plays an important political role; 2) there is a need for more efficient organisation in the scientific field. The paper by A.D.May et al. describes the research programme entitled “Toward the Sustainable City”, which is specifically designed to promote research in all those urban activities and processes, which appear to be essential to the analysis of sustainability. Those include the following: land-use patterns and built form; transport supply and demand; energy consumption; waste generation and processing; water supply and contamination. The model is being based on two urban areas of Leeds and Huddersfield, but can be used as a means of identifying those interactions which are least conducive to sustainability. Development of an environmental and energy performance model for sustainable cities, by Phil Jones and Nigel Vaughan, presents an Environmental and Energy Performance Model (EEP Model) for cities developed for Cardiff, in order to test various development scenarios in terms of their sustainability. It describes the ongoing model development, how it is used and its main potential capabilities. The paper by Chris Tweed describes some preliminary work on an urban information system that aims to increase public participation in defining strategies to promote sustainable environments. The author argues that technical approaches to solving environmental problems are inadequate, since it is clear that all environmental problems have a social dimension. Thus, he proposes a collaborative system for environmental decision making in cities which aims to


integrate technical understanding with the multiple viewpoints of those interested in outcomes. Self-Sustainable Urban Development by L.Fusco Girard focuses on city adaptability to change and city capability to maintain specific identity. It discusses urban sustainability as autopoietic and heteropoietic capability, i.e. a system capability to maintain constant its main elements through a continuous and organised reproduction of its different parts. In conclusion, the author argues that: 1) urban planning should promote land vitality not only in relation to aspects linked to the bio-diversity, but also in a social sense; 2) the sustainable development can be implemented through the valorisation of the resources which have more non-use value. The paper by Nils Larsson proposes a strategy that will encourage the private sector to develop and operate urban buildings that have a greatly improved level of environmental and energy performance. It is suggested that the proposed approach will have beneficial collateral effects on urban development patterns and economic viability of public transport systems as well as increasing the supply of high-performance buildings. It refers to a new type of real-estate development corporation, namely ‘Green Development Corporation’. This would be limited by character to develop a specific type of project, referred to as a ‘Green Development’ (a mid-rise project developed at urban densities, with mixed uses). Marco Gamberini illustrates the content of the new regulatory framework of Region Toscana and how it includes the principles of sustainability. The paper by J.G.Taylor aims to: i) assess the current state of environmental pollution in the city and the impact of policies introduced since 1978 to deal with this; ii) outline the impact of changes occurring in the city’s industrial and commercial structures as a result of its rapid expansion in the coming decade; iii) suggest recommendations for the improvement of the existing regulatory framework. It concludes by analysing why existing policies have not been taken up to any great extent by the enterprises for which they were designed, and by assessing what relevance the findings may have for China’s urban areas in general. Martin Sexton describes the dysfunctional paradox which emerges in the existing construction system as being indicative of the tendency to conceptualise the environmental debate supporting, at the same time, unsustainable construction activities. He argues that environmental problems should be embedded in larger systems and, consequently, presents the ‘prajna’ approach as a useful managerial innovation which can assist in this conceptual transition to systemic ‘wholeness’. Marco Sala discusses the environmental and energy-related aspects in teaching architectural technology. In particular, he focuses on the concept of integration and the possibility of considering the elements and the components of a building in relation to both its specific functions and other functional systems. The author argues that the rapid evolution of building technologies and systems


makes it difficult to gather enough information to assemble a body of basic knowledge that helps choose the most rational energy-related solution. This is due to the fact that required knowledge and technologies are of quite recent development. No attempt has yet been made to organise the results achieved in a systematic manner. The paper by Richard Grey and Sandy Hallyday considers how buildings can beneficially interact to optimise efficient use of energy, water and waste resources, taking account of site factors, planning issues, life cycle implications, maintenance, durability and users’ needs and requirements. It undertakes an audit trail of a peripheral estate and generates a model for its potential stages of revitalisation as a sustainable community. In the second part of this book, the paper by Raymond Cole pays attention to the detailed linkages and relationships between specific issue areas of buildings and the environment, including their relative significance and priorities. It recognises that many important issues are in conflict with others and prioritisation and/or compromise is inevitable. In particular, the paper presents a comparison of the frameworks used in several current environmental assessment programs for organising individual environmental criteria and identifies how the added notions of priorizations and linking can offer direction for a more effective evolution of these techniques for use in both design and assessment. From a different perspective, Charles J.Kibert discusses the implications of internalisation of environmental costs in creating a sustainable built environment, by examining the basis for allocating costs, performing the accounting and distributing the proceeds from pollution surcharges. The contribution made by Tony Birtles is the presentation of a background development and content of BREEAM, the environmental assessment method developed by the Building Research Establishment. As the author argues, ‘the BREEAM portfolio remains the only standard environmental assessment process for buildings, operating anywhere in the world’. The benefits which the method provide to all the participants are explored and the need for developing a city version of the method is considered. The paper by Bryn Golton looks at the problems of understanding the components of the total impact and of assessing the cumulative effect, by examining the demolition stage of the life of a building. The aim is to give insight into the issues which need to be addressed to enable appropriate actions towards a methodology for accurate cumulative effect assessment. The paper by Mark Deakin examines the economic theory that is drawn upon to understand the relationship between obsolescence and depreciation and the methodologies which have recently been advanced to evaluate the effect this process of development and change has on the built environment. Particular emphasis is placed on exploring the possibility that exists to use these procedures as a bias to offset the rate at which the built environment becomes obsolete and depreciates to the point where the value of the product is exhausted and in need of replacement.


The contribution of Sam J.Allwinkle and C.E.Speed presents the concept of sustainable development within the context of tourism and the built environment. It focuses on the measurement and distribution of tourists, the infrastructures and superstructural needs and the identification of the impact on the built environment, including case studies in Scotland. Finally, it discusses a framework for the analysis of tourism destination on the built environment. The paper by C.Brooks et al. sets out to survey the evidence on whether the economic and social benefits exceed the economic and social costs in the current practice of limiting the urban (re)development process by designing small urban districts to be conserved. Three social cost benefit methods—the hedonic price method, the travel cost method and the contingent valuation method—are used to gain such evidence. In particular, the author suggests that urban conservation may positively affect the economy of the surrounding area, and that these dynamic effects may be difficult to measure. The paper evaluates the economic impact of urban conservation. Almerico Realfonzo discusses the relationships between urban regeneration, development and evaluation, pointing out critical issues in the context of Southern Italian administration. The paper by David Mason deals with the problem of managing development at cultural heritage sites. It considers the notion of conservation in both its aspects, as an expression of the need to identify with and preserve the outline of a developing cultural identity, and, as a corollary of this, of the demand for sustainable economic growth, social localisation and sensitive environmental planning in and around sites of historic value. Furthermore, it discusses methods and criteria of quality assessment interpreted in the context of a programme of sustainable cultural resource management. Simin Davoudi examines the way in which the contemporary environmental debate, with an ever increasing emphasis on the notion of sustainable development, has transformed the planning agenda and shifted the balance of the interplay of the socio-economic interests. These and other substantive issues are addressed by focusing on the processes of structure planning in an urban region, the county of Lancashire (UK). Abdul Khakee discusses current planning methods which include, in addition to analytical and appraisal techniques, forms of presentation of planning material, rhetorical ability, and openness and clarity in argumentation. These communicative aspects of the planning process are regarded as important as the analytical ones because of the shift in emphasis from the plan as a source of policy formulation to the planning process during which policy commitments are made. In particular, the paper analyses the impact of this choice of method used during the first round of structure planning in Sweden on the results of the planning process. Almerigo Zeppetella discusses the problem of evaluating land use plans by EIA and illustrates the results from an Italian case-study referred to the city of Aosta. Furthermore, he investigates the relationship between the current


practice of town planning and the EIA method, highlighting the role of a rhetorical (argumentative) assessment approach in decision-making processes with conflicting interests between social actors. The paper by Martin Symes discusses the contribution that Environmental Impact Assessment techniques can make to the processes of urban and architectural design. It proposes that EIA techniques be developed which have the requisite variety for incorporation in iterative and developmental design processes. In the third part of this book, Giulio Mondini illustrates the themes which seem to tie the several guidelines for evaluating transformations in the built environment. In particular, the author argues that the approach to complex problems requires the formulation of a strategy because of the presence of uncertainty and aleatory conditions which characterise the present evolutionary space. David Clark employs an intercity hedonic analysis on US metropolitan areas, using the 1990 Public Use Microdata Samples of the Census of Population and Housing, to derive implicit values for a variety of activities which are considered noxious. The findings indicate that, all else being equal, residents are indeed willing to pay, in terms of higher property values and sacrificed wages, to live in areas having lower levels of some types of noxious activity. The paper by Marina Bravi and Rocco Curto discusses the evaluation of public goods by using the contingent valuation methods (CVM). It reports the results of five applications of CVM using a discrete choice model with referendum data. The comparative reliability of dichotomous choice and open-ended CVM is also evaluated by one case-study. The paper by Guy Garrod et al. reviews the different methods which can be used to inform decisions on the conservation of buildings and outlines the criteria by which they can be judged. In addition it assesses the results of a limited number of studies including two conducted by the authors into the total economic value and the benefits of maintaining historic buildings. Gemma Sirchia discusses the potentialities and the limitations of the contingent valuation method in applications concerning cultural and historical resources. An application of this method for the analysis of the option value is presented. The paper by Peter Nijkamp and Luisa Artuso aims to design an operational framework for the evaluation of alternative urban configurations with a particular view on the socio-economic vitality of urban policy interventions aiming at revitalising the historic parts of the city. The methodology is illustrated by means of an Italian case-study. In the next paper, the cultural built heritage is discussed by P.Nijkamp and F. Bizzarro in terms of integrated conservation. A multidimensional approach is used to address the plurality of perspectives and the transparency of decision making processes.


The paper by Paolo Rosato and Giuseppe Stellin illustrates different applications of a multi-attribute analysis for the selection of residential areas. The results show that this technique can be a useful aid for decisionmaking problems in the context of sustainability of cities. Land planning and resources evaluation for public investments by Maurizio Grillenzoni et al. presents some case-studies related to rural space and landscape, given the assumption that countryside stewardship may contribute to the solution of many of the emerging problems of the metropolitan areas. The case-studies consider: a waste dump, a dam for drinkable water, green areas for out-door recreation. Taria Muneer et al. discuss the impact evaluation of energy efficient buildings with reference to the thermal and daylight environment. In this presentation building energy demands have been analysed to study the impact of energy efficient design features such as high-tech glazing types and lighting controls. Life-cycle analysis for the key building fabric materials is also presented therein. The paper by Margaret C.Bell describes an on-line traffic, roadside pollution and roof top climate monitoring system. The use of the system to research empirical models which allow area wide prediction of pollution is presented, along with preliminary results. The Traffic Management and Control method, designed to reduce air emissions and avoid hot spots, for particular studies in Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire, is explained. Bridget Shield presents the results of the survey, both noise and questionnaire, to determine the extent of annoyance and the type and level of noise causing disturbance. Furthermore, it shows how current methods of assessing the environmental impact of railway noise in the UK are not appropriate in this case. Lastly, it discusses possible techniques for the future evaluation and specification of urban light railway noise. Lastly, Riccardo Roscelli and Nicola Bellomo present a mathematical model for assessing risk and uncertainty in the estimates of buildings. The model is built up for helping decision making in construction.

Environmental assessment methods for use at the building and city scales: constructing bridges or identifying common ground? Ian Cooper Eclipse Research Consultants, Cambridge CB4 2JD, UK

ABSTRACT This chapter draws on the resumé of emergent themes and unresolved questions presented at the end of the Florence workshop at which the working papers on which this book is based were first presented. It begins to identify factors which unite and divide those who are developing and applying environmental assessment methods for use at both the building and city scales. The principles which are said to underlie sustainable development can be employed to help clarify the commonality and differences (and, at least by implication, the strengths and weaknesses) of the approaches being adopted at both of these levels for assessing the environmental impact of the built environment. Keywords: Aims, environmental assessment methods, objectives, principles, sustainable development. 1 WORKSHOP AIMS AND OBJECTIVES As its organisers made clear, the Florence workshop was intended: • to serve as a forum for exchanging information, and • to develop collaboration and interaction between different disciplines. One of the ways in which it was anticipated these objectives might be achieved was by establishing “a common and unique language between the disciplines to be applied directly to the evaluation of the built environment for sustainability”. Given these worthwhile goals, it is expedient to look back at the workshop and ask whether this common language was achieved and, if not, what prevented this from happening. This is necessary not just for the purpose of retrospection but, perhaps more importantly, to help guide future action—to draw out lessons to assist the planning of future areas of action and co-operation by members of the BEQUEST network.


2 OPPOSING TENDENCIES APPARENT AT THE WORKSHOP First, it needs to be acknowledged that the Florence meeting did not manage to build a consensus about what (research if any) needs to be done: • to promote ‘sustainability’, or • to reduce the environmental impact of buildings and cities. This is not surprising. It was highly unlikely that the BEQUEST network would achieve such a difficult goal at its inaugural meeting. However, there were also structural reasons why this did not happen. There were apparent fault lines running through the workshop which will need to be bridged, if not repaired, for the network to continue to operate effectively. For instance, it was not clear that ‘sustainability’ was the rallying flag for all delegates that the organisers had expected. Indeed, by the end of the workshop, it was evident that we need to ask whether the concept of ‘sustainability’ is likely to unite or polarise potential network members. Some clearly saw it as a useful umbrella term for encouraging crossdisciplinary working. Others criticised it instead as a notion which was contradictory at the conceptual level and so which would prove impossible to operationalise or implement effectively. Even those who were willing to embrace ‘sustainability’ were not necessarily in agreement about how they thought this should be pursued. Some clearly embraced it as a means of: • increasing the autonomy or self-sufficiency of buildings or cities. Others stressed interdependency (rather than independence), seeing sustainability more as a means of: • improving the balance between cities and their hinterlands. Some members of the workshop (explicitly or implicitly) favoured a ‘bottom-up’ approach to sustainability based on decentralising and devolving decisionmaking. Others seemed to believe that this would only result in piecemeal tinkering. Instead they promoted a ‘top-down’, large scale, approach based on more comprehensive area development—not least to maximise returns on investment.


Fig. 1. The principles underlying sustainable development.

3 ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT Tony May’s contribution to the workshop offered a signpost to how to begin identifying and addressing the fault lines dividing those network members who did subscribe to the notion of ‘sustainability’. His chapter contains a reference [1] to a set of principles which can be employed to make more explicit what this term is currently being used to cover and, by extension, how it could or should be implemented in practice. His research team has reviewed the literature on sustainable development. From this they have distilled four separate principles underlying this concept, see Figure 1. Only one of these principles—‘environment’—deals directly with ecological factors. The other three are focused on political and socio-economic issues dealing with resource allocation (in time or space) and decision-making processes. 4 THE FOCUS OF ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT METHODS It is instructive to attempt to gauge which principles workshop members (consciously/unconsciously) addressed when they discussed the environmental evaluation of buildings or cities. As I have noted elsewhere [2], current methods for the environmental assessment of buildings such as BREEAM [3] and BEPAC


Fig. 2. Predominant focus of environmental assessment methods.

[4] only focus directly on two principles—‘environment’ and ‘futurity’. They do not include criteria which explicitly assess buildings against either ‘equity’ or ‘public participation’. Doxsey, the author of the City of Austin’s Green Builder Program, has argued [5] that there should be increased linkage of environmental criteria with “the prime motivators in public policy…with social welfare in employment and crime, financial indebtedness, growing food and shelter shortcomings, and, in more and more areas, violence….” This linkage will be necessary, he believes, to persuade third parties (outside the construction industry) to take up such environmental assessment methods. Conversely, workshop members who addressed making environmental evaluations beyond the scale of individual buildings, at the level of cities or their constituent districts, tended to stress the ‘public participation’ and ‘equity’ principles underlying sustainable development, see Figure 2. On occasion, they did so almost to the exclusion of discussion of the ‘environment’ per se. 5 FUTURE BRIDGE BUILDING Future meetings of the network will need to address directly this split in attention and emphasis. At the Florence workshop, it became clear that, as environmental evaluation increases in scale—from individual buildings to city-wide, so the criteria involved move from being the private concern of building clients and their design teams to being part of the planning process and so open to public scrutiny and accountability. This transition is important. Recognition of it reinforces the point that all environmental evaluation methods, whatever the scale at which they are applied, need to be built on the firm foundation of consensus. As a consequence,


assessment criteria need to be not only explicit and replicable but transparent, negotiable and accountable as well. Developers of environmental assessment methods for use on buildings may feel, in the short term, that this emphasis on public accountability will make life more difficult for them. But, if they want their methods to be publicly endorsed— and, especially if they wish to increase the scales at which their methods are applied, as Birtles suggests for BREEAM in his chapter—then they will have to acknowledge that their methods have entered the public policy arena and are being used as part of a planning process which is held publicly accountable. For their part, developers of methods for environmental assessment at the city scale will have to pay as much attention to the scientific bases of their environmental criteria as their building scale colleagues already do. Both sets of developers of assessment methods clearly have much to learn from each other, not just about the formulation of assessment criteria but also about their practical implementation in the real world. Whatever our individual or collective doubts and misgivings about the notion of ‘sustainability’ as currently defined, the principles which Tony May and his colleagues have identified as underpinning it do present us with a convenient mechanism for getting to grips with what both unites and divides members of the BEQUEST network. By using these principles to identify where we each stand, we can begin to expose not only our goals and aspirations but our preferences and prejudices too. Once we jointly understand these, we should be better placed not only to stake out any common ground we already occupy but to identify other areas in which we may be able, at best, to reach consensus, at worst, to disagree amicably. This should put us in a much stronger position to continue to collaborate effectively and so reap the manifest benefits of cross-fertilisation already made evident by the Florence workshop. REFERENCES 1.




Mitchell, G., May, A. and McDonald, A. (1995) PICABUE: a methodological framework for the development of indicators of sustainable development. International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology, Vol. 2, pp. 104–123. Cooper, I. (1995) Construction professionals’ priorities and criteria for reducing the environmental impact of buildings: a survey of UK practices, in Linking and Prioritizing Environmental Criteria, proceedings of the CIB TG 8 International Research Workshop, Toronto, Canada, 15–16th November, 1995, pp. 35–48. Building Research Establishment. (1990) Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method: BREEAM Version 1/90—An environmental assessment for new office designs, BRE, Garston, Watford, England. Cole, R.J. and Rousseau, D. and Theaker, I. (1993) BEPAC: Building Environmental Performance Assessment Criteria, Version 1: Office Buildings, The BEPAC Foundation, Vancouver, Canada.



Doxsey, W.L. (1995) Linking and prioritizing environmental criteria within the sustainability context, in Linking and Prioritizing Environmental Criteria, proceedings of the CIB TG 8 International Research Workshop, Toronto, Canada, 15–16th November, 1995, pp. 49–52.

Toward a multi-modal framework for evaluating the built environment quality in sustainability planning P.L.Lombardi* and P.S.Brandon† *Dipartimento

di Analisi Economica e Sociale del Territoria,

Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia, Venice, Italy †Research

& Graduate College, University of Salford, Salford M5 4WT, UK

ABSTRACT This paper is concerned with providing a theoretical framework to aid the establishment of an integration system, named BEQUEST (Built Environment Quality Evaluation for Sustainability through Time), which enables users to assess urban projects within the context of sustainability. A multi-modal thinking approach is used to define and structure the concept of built environment quality and to bring together the languages and disciplines involved into a conceptual framework. This will lead to the harmonisation of information and knowledge across the built environment. The framework will also provide an aid for decision-making processes in planning. Keywords: Built environment quality, evaluation approach, multimodal thinking, sustainability planning. 1 INTRODUCTION The built environment implies buildings of all types, transport infrastructure, public utilities and other built structures and modifications to the natural environment. It represents the context in which individuals spend their time living, dwelling, working and recreating. The scale, quality and distribution of built facilities affects the efficiency with which producers of goods and services operate, and the quality and shape of the environment in which individuals live [1]. Because the human population and its activity are generally in a state of change, their environment is subject to growth, decline and adaptation. Consequently, settlements are generally in a state of evolution: buildings, clusters and whole districts are gradually adapted or re-developed to meet economic and social demands. Land and buildings have an impact on the environment as they are produced, consumed, and continue to exist. The production of the built environment entails


the use of natural materials, the consumption of energy, and localised impacts on habitats. The form of the built environment affects intrinsic energy needs as well as the efficiency with which energy needs can be met. There is a growing realisation that the world’s cities are the major consumers of natural resources and the major producers of pollution and waste. “Urban areas will always be net consumers of resources and major degraders of the environment, simply because of the relative intensity of economic and social activity in such places” [2]. In terms of planning policy, this involves a change of emphasis and change in the criteria by which development is judged towards environmental protection and sustainability. The sustainable development, defined as “a development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” [3], is a reaction to the degradation caused by economic growth, unfettered by a consideration of environmental and ecological issues. The development models which have been used in the past were physical-spatial and economic-quantitative. They did not take into account the existing interdependence between the various dimensions of an urban system which encompass economic, social and cultural values. Understanding these interdependencies is essential when considering urban development in terms of sustainability [4]. Sustainability is characterised by a concern for nature and by a respect for the needs of current and future generations, without losing the role of the economical efficiency of planning proposals. This is a holistic concept with a world-wide scale of reference. The term might be correctly applied to society, as follows: “a sustainable society is the one in which, for the indefinite future, human communities sustain and regenerate the species and habitats of the natural world, sustain and rehabilitate the quality of natural and built environments, and sustain and transform society’s economic capacity to meet the material and cultural needs of its people” [5]. In the words of Merret [5], the roots of the concern with ‘sustainability’ can be traced back to the development of capitalism on a world scale and to that system’s prodigious demands on the natural world as a site for its activities, a source for its raw materials and a sink for its wastes. This has brought with it, over a period of little more than two centuries, widespread destruction of species and habitats, the degradation of natural and built environments and depletion of non-renewable resources. Since the mid-sixties, the three Ds have constituted an emerging contradiction for the market system on a world scale, providing the context for the powerful growth of environmentalism as a social and political force. Alongside all the varied measures deployed in the quest of sustainability, landuse planning has been assigned an important and integrating role by governments in many of the countries of the European Union. For example, urban planning can reduce energy consumption and pollution, by minimising the need for travel in relation to the ecological ‘carrying capacity’ of cities (i.e. to urban density and


congestion), and more generally, incorporating sustainability criteria in regional and local planning. Merrett [5] suggests that land-use planning for ‘sustainable society’ requires the following five actions: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

The conservation of species and natural habitats; The improvement of its efficiency-in-use of natural resources; The stimulation of its supply of renewable resources; The reduction in the harmful effects of its waste products; The promotion of production to meet the material and cultural needs of that society’s population.

However, the quintessential paradox of the ‘sustainable society’ is the conflicting requirements of sustaining the environment and at the same time sustaining the flows of production and consumption necessary for the reproduction of the human species. These inter-field conflicts pose major problems of evaluation in sustainability planning. According to Voogd [6], the sustainability concept, although admirable and pursuable as an objective, lacks sufficient flexibility to be applied directly at a local planning level. The main reasons are the following: • It does not necessarily guarantee the prevention of environmental degradation, if interpreted from a ‘needs’ perspective; • It stimulates conservative behaviour according to the ‘precautionary principle’, in which policy makers take, initially, a cautious approach which may be relaxed as evidence becomes more available; • It does not allow compromises since ‘future generation needs’, although rather vague and uncertain, are more important than today’s needs. Quality concepts, such as ‘quality of life’ and ‘environmental quality’ or ‘built environment quality’, are more suitable than the concept of sustainability when evaluating planning proposals, including spatial and temporal trade-offs which always occur where many conflicting goals and objectives exist. This is due to their explicit multidimensional nature which implies that the weighing of dimensions may play a role in detecting the degree of quality. However, the multidimensional nature of the quality concept cannot be precisely defined, because usually many different attributes and data sources are used to describe and measure quality standards [6]. The definition and evaluation of quality in the built environment is a complex issue which involves calibration of the existing environment, a measure of the future environment to be created, and a reconciliation between environmental protection and social equity with economic objectives. Furthermore, it requires a complex consideration of user requirements, performance and values, through time.


This demands a renewal of both our scientific/technical instruments and our cultural attitude toward the built environment. This paper tries to address this issue by establishing a conceptual framework and performance based system for the assessment of the built environment quality at a local planning level. 2 THE ‘BUILT ENVIRONMENT QUALITY’ 2.1 Problems in defining the concept of ‘built environment quality’ As with sustainability, quality is also a very broad concept which is multidimensional and multifaceted and can only be revealed through use. For this reason, it is rapidly and continually shifting [7]. The Latin root meaning of ‘qualitas’ is clearly non-normative. However, over the years the term quality also took on a normative denotation, as a synonym for ‘degree of excellence’ or ‘high awarded property’ of something, etc. As such, quality is something that is aimed at, not just a description of how something happens to be [6]. In construction, it has become common practice to define quality, in relation to performance, as ‘the degree to which performance matches requirements’, or using such phrases as ‘fulfilling needs’, ‘suitable for use’, ‘fitness for purpose’. The UK British Standards defines quality as being “the totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs” [8]. This is the concept of ‘Total Quality’ which recently the Industrial World has coined in order to satisfy the new demand for high quality products. It expresses the possibility of controlling the process and the product quality by means of performance criteria. Performance criteria are related to user needs and to external environmental factors. A functional analysis is required to define all the functions for a building. User needs are translated into user requirements; they are quantified and measured by means of performance criteria. These are characterised by different levels of satisfaction in relation to user requirements. In technical terms ‘quality’ is usually connected with standards. However, in planning, the definition of quality using traditional urban standards is not satisfactory since those are levels of performance specified in quantitative terms, e.g. territorial density, population rates, quantity and dimensions of parks, gardens and facilities. Such standards have a prescriptive character: they tell you what to do and how to do it, rather than define what practical actions have to be taken. They have focused their attention on a limited number of aspects of the many needs an urban environment needs to satisfy, presuming to be able to establish criteria for getting universally valid goals. The standards have been formulated in a culture conditioned by a deterministic approach to the problem


of knowledge as exclusively quantitative tools for measuring reality. Sectorialisation, simplification, possibility of generalisation are the approaches on which the definition of the traditional indicators, developed by the rationalist school, is founded. Investigating the concept of quality for the built environment through the history of ideas and models of a town from 19th to 20th century, it is recognised that many philosophers, politicians, scientists and technicians, from Owen, Fourier and Ruskin [9] to Le Corbusier, Geddes and Lynch [10], have described their ‘ideal’ townscape, usually with a critical eye on industrial towns, and have highlighted the multi-meanings within the built environment. However, their critique was not able to connect these meanings into an explicit ‘global semeiological system’ [11], or a common language which can be used in decision-making processes related to the built environment. This language is not common to all the disciplines involved in the planning process because decisionmakers are all experts, such as technicians, architects and engineers, who use a specialised and codified vocabulary. The result is a built environment which is not linked to the real social value system, i.e. it is a ‘dead language’ (using Victor Hugo’s metaphor) [12] which usually cannot be understood by people. Several studies [13, 14, 15] have recognised that most technical personnel involved in managing and implementing quality standards hold a view of quality that is at variance with that of the general public. In particular, inhabitants’ perceptions tend to overlap with experts’ evaluations when the environmental quality is low, i.e. the lower the environmental evaluation, the lower the residential satisfaction. An appreciation gap exists between planners and the public in much the same way as has been demonstrated with respect to architect and non-architect groups. Although planners do share many of the creative concerns of architects, they place a greater emphasis on the functionality rather than originality of designs because they are restricted by ‘socially-oriented’ rules which make them act, at least to a limited extent, in the public’s interest. In conclusion, whilst the public tend to appreciate continuity in the townscape, planners, like architects, tend to appreciate more fashionable and ‘up-to-date’ architectural styles. These results lend support to the view that there should be greater integration of ‘public interest’ within the planning process, particularly with respect to aesthetic control, where current procedures for participation and consultation are clearly inadequate. 2.2 Problems in evaluating ‘built environment quality’ A major problem in evaluating the built environment quality is to find a measurement system that can be applied to the planning process. This means identifying the characteristics of the built environment, both technical and nontechnical and to link the measurable aspects to other sub-systems with which


they are intimately bound up, such as those in the social, cultural, economic, and political realms [13]. It is similar to the problem of assessing the “quality of a dessert” such as a fruit salad, which combines different ingredients. Each of them may be separated and scientifically measured, but the assessment of its ‘total quality’ can be made only by using people’s experience and judgement of the whole dish to establish the criteria and assess the outcome [16]. The question that arises is the following: “Is it possible to define the attributes of built environment quality other than its ‘measurable’ ones?” With regard to this problem, it is necessary to distinguish between ‘measurement’ and ‘assessment’. ‘Measurement’ involves the identification of variables related to quality and the utilisation of technically appropriate data collection and data analysis methods. ‘Assessment’ involves the evaluation of performance against a criterion or a number of criteria. Both performance and criterion can only be defined by a value-based judgement; they are not empirically verifiable. Indeed, the term performance must be a goal-orientedbehaviour, i.e. a behaviour rendered meaningful by the existence of a criterion that specifies when a goal has been attained. So a publicly meaningful quality assessment can only be achieved if the value system underlying performance and criteria is shared by both experts and public [13]. The problem of the degree of compatibility between the evaluation of experts and public is particularly important if it is assumed the role of planners within the development control system is to evaluate planning applications in the best interest of the public. The different views should be taken into consideration in approaching the analysis and management of quality for the built environment [14]. In conclusion, the more appropriate evaluation approach for built environment quality at a local planning level should be conceived as follows: • Multi-person approach: a participation process and a tool for mediating between conflicts, trying to reach one final solution; • Multi-period approach: considering both a long- and a short-term view in forecasting a solution and in providing information on the environmental, social and economic consequences of the project through time; • Multi-disciplinary approach: different disciplines, measurement methods and data-bases are required in order to verify the environmental sustainability of urban projects. During this last decade, the importance of an evaluation process involving wide participation in urban planning has increased in order to achieve a balance between the objectives of social equity, economic efficiency and environmental sustainability, in resource allocation. All the above characteristics of an evaluation approach for the built environment may be, theoretically, recognised in the well-known ‘Environmental Impact Analysis’, which tries to answer the


‘green’ agenda of EC countries, and has been extended to include economic, social and ecological issues. This approach has been suggested in the face of the complexity of ecological interdependence and uncertainties surrounding environmental resources. In theory, it involves a greater comprehensiveness and a use of multi-criteria analysis, limiting the scope of cost-benefit analysis to cost effectiveness analysis [17]. However, at the moment, the analysis is usually limited to a few measurable aspects of the project, rather than performance assessment based on explicit criteria. It is more concerned with satisfying the concerns of the experts than those of the general public. The public conceives the built environment in terms of global appraisal based on perceptions of quality. These perceptions are psychological, by definition. Global appraisals may be viewed as attitudes, that is as composites of cognitive, affective, and behavioural aspects. A decision based upon only economic and/or technical analyses, or supported only by political reasons, is usually unsatisfactory for both the people and the experts. Furthermore, if the decision does not take into account a long-term view, it cannot meet future needs for sustainable economic and social development. A decision made now will affect the use of resources and the benefits derived for a long period ahead. Typically, however, politicians are motivated by: the net benefits of resource use, international competitive advantage, and short-term political survival. Thus, only when the disbenefits arising from environmental damage outweigh the benefits as perceived by the voters, is the self-interest of the politician likely to be compatible with sustainability [2]. An additional problem with current environmental impact evaluations is the lack of an integrating mechanism or tool which could bring together the diversity of interests necessary to assess built and natural environmental impacts. Each discipline involved brings its own agenda, own classification system and own techniques to the problem. Often the disciplines are unwilling (or unable) to consider the views represented by others because there is not a systematic methodology which will allow a fruitful dialogue to take place [18]. The fundamental point is that the built environment is an ‘ecological and economic system’, which is characterised by strong (usually non-linear) interactions between the parts, feedbacks (making resolution into insoluble causal trains difficult or impossible) and the inability to simply ‘add-up’ small-scale behaviour to arrive at large-scale results [19]. These characteristics of systems are not well understood using the methods of classical, reductionism science. Classical science is based on the resolution of phenomena into insoluble causal trains and the search for basic, ‘atomic’ units or parts of the system. It depends on weak or non-existent interaction between parts and essentially linear relations among the parts, so that the parts can be added together to give the behaviour of the whole. According to Costanza [19], adequately evaluating the structure and the dynamics of complex systems requires a pluralistic approach and an ability to integrate and synthesise the many different perspectives that can be taken. There


is probably not one right approach or paradigm; rather we need to extend our problem, and also develop the ability to use all the available light to view and understand the system. We need an integrated, multi-scale, transdisciplinary, and pluralistic approach which would allow the relationships between scales and modelling approaches to be directly investigated and would produce new ways of scaling or using information at one scale to build models at other scales. In this context, multi-modal thinking can be useful to define and structure the concept of Built Environment Quality. Out of this multi-modal thinking, it should be possible to develop a conceptual framework for decision support systems which integrates all the dimensions of the built environment quality, both hard and soft, into one single methodology. We have named this approach BEQUEST (Built Environment Quality Evaluation for Sustainability through Time). This approach may improve the level of information for evaluating urban projects in the context of sustainability. 3 WHAT IS MULTI-MODAL THINKING? 3.1 The ‘Cosmonomic Idea of Reality’ One approach to multi-modal thinking, resting on the Philosophy of the Cosmonomic Idea founded by the Dutch philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd [20], represents an alternative way of viewing society and the world in general. In particular, it is in opposition to the deterministic conception of our lives which started with Isaac Newton in physics in the late 17th century and which was developed by the classical economists during the 18th century. This concept has been essentially mechanistic, holding utility as the principle governing the whole of life, and has blinded us to perceive the true nature of the world, man and his actions. Dooyeweerd’s theory of reality is dependent upon the fundamental assumption that “the universe is ordered and this order encompasses the totality of natural phenomena and human life. This implies that there exists a truth that is absolute and autonomous from man and nature” [21]. By denying such a presupposition we must succumb to relativism. One must also surrender the idea of human learning, progress and the notion of ethics and responsibility. According to the above presupposition, it is also possible to make a distinction between theoretical and pre-theoretical (everyday) thinking. In everyday thinking we are responding to many of the aspects of our daily lives all the time, such as economic, social, spatial, physical etc., while in higher theoretical thoughts, we isolate and abstract one or other of the aspects of reality and give special attention to it, thus developing physics, biology, psychology, economics, etc. as separate sciences.


This non-reductionism idea of a ‘cosmic law framework’ can free us from the horns of one of the oldest dilemmas of objectivism versus subjectivism. We can think of the theories of Aristotle and Kant [22]. For Aristotle the “cause of being of a thing” is its substance or form, and ‘laws’ are formulations of the observed behaviour of things as caused by their internally programmed natures. Humans come to know the orderliness of things by conforming their concepts to the nature of objects as they exist outside their mind. Kant, on the other hand, maintained that the mind of the knower or subject is the source of all the order in experience. It is possible to understand the objects we experience only because those objects have first been formed by having our mental order imposed on them. In this way, the apparently ‘objective’ order of reality is really subjective in origin [23]. 3.2 The modalities and their laws Herman Dooyeweerd’s theory identifies fifteen “Modal Aspects” of reality, modes in which entities function. These modalities, starting from the harder to the softer, are: Quantitative; Spatial; Kinematics; Physical; Biological; Sensitive; Analytic; Historical; Lingual; Social; Economic; Aesthetic; Juridical; Ethical and Credal. This ‘working’ list should not be understood as a dogmatic pronouncement about all genuine aspects of reality. Rather, it is intended as a description of people’s experience. The categories of this list were derived at simply by taking every large-scale kind of property which has been distinguished in the history of philosophy and science. These are the kinds of properties exhibited by the objects of our experience. Each modality is given its meaning through its nucleus and has its own order, or set of laws, by which it is governed. In the hard modalities, such as numerical and spatial, and their equivalence in scientific disciplines, mathematics and geometry, the orders, or set of laws, that govern these modalities, are more determinative, i.e. ‘the law always exerts its own fulfilment’ [24]. For example, within the physical modality, the law of gravity is always obeyed; it is a law of spatial aspect that nothing can be both round and square. However, in the soft modalities, such as ethical and juridical, the laws are more normative. Their fulfilment is contingent on people’s inclination to follow these laws, and they cannot be described through the harder modalities determinative rules. The modalities with each own core ‘meaning moment’, are shown in Table 1. The various aspects displayed by the objects of experience exhibit an orderliness among their own properties; that is, they are related in ways that determine what is either necessary or impossible among them. The order in which these aspects occur in the list is intended to reflect the order in which they appear in things as we experience them prior to theorising. For example, there are things which have physical properties without being alive, so this appears to be a precondition for everything having biotic properties. In other words, there is


Table 1. The fifteen modalities and their nuclei.

an interrelation between the modalities which define their position. Indeed, for instance, the economic modality is dependent on the social, the social on the lingual, the lingual on the historical, and so on. However, there is a certain degree of correspondence or ‘mapping’ to the order in other modalities which allows us to transpose an element from one modality, named source, into another or several other modalities, named idioms [25]. Although every modality can be an ‘idiom’ for another, its effectiveness as an idiom varies, and the degree of correspondence declines as the distance between one modality and another increases. For example, the numeric modality is not a very suitable idiom for the juridical modality and it would be better to use a closer modality such as the ethical. The economic modality is also quite distant from the numerical modality which would lead us to suspect that the wide use of numbers to express economic behaviour, such as price, interest rates and so on, is more a matter of convenience than accuracy in representing economic value and phenomena [25]. This can be illustrated by considering the economics surrounding a dessert. Facts about the economic modality of this dessert can be traduced into the numerical modality, generating such data as the price charged for this dessert, the number of desserts sold, etc. Then, by manipulating these data following the mathematical laws of the numerical modality that are embodied in such tools as statistical analysis and algebra, it is possible to organise these data into a mathematical equation. However, the mathematical models used for describing economic behaviour cannot establish quality, beauty and comfort of economic goods and then judge in a normative manner whether the price is either too high or too low [25].


3.3 An example: the urban district The modalities can be better illustrated by an example, say the consideration of an urban district. The numerical aspect can be immediately discovered by counting the number of houses, offices, banks, schools, roads, etc. placed within it. The spatial dimension is visible in the layout and footprint of the buildings, infrastructures and gardens. Within this urban district there is a constant movement of people, cars, bicycles, animals and goods which point to the kinematics dimension. Both living creatures and buildings are physical and need energy in order to function. The above dimensions are represented in all the aspects, dead as well as alive, while the remainder only apply to living organisms. The organic phenomena of life, represented by the biotic modality, can be viewed in the need of people for food, water, air to breath, houses for refuges and hospitals for health. In addition, it can be viewed in the presence of gardens, green areas and parks. The sensitive aspect is illustrated in the display of emotions and feelings of the people in their relationships within a family, a group of friends, a work environment or in the perception of occasional tourists toward the built environment. It is also present in the animals who live in that area (dogs, cats, etc.). People have an intrinsic logical dimension (analytic modality) resulting in discerning of entities, etc. Houses, buildings and infrastructures are built on the basis of past experience and technological knowledge and therefore they assume a particular architectural style belonging to the historical modality. They communicate meanings and cultural values found in the lingual modality. The urban district is in itself a social system and it forms a social community. People have social intercourse and social exchange inside their built environment and often find their employment there. Offices, banks and other business buildings, as well as industrial plants, are qualified by the economic modality. The aesthetic dimension is visible in the architectures which form the settlement, in their proportions and beauty, as well as in the harmony of the entire organisation of the built environment. The juridical dimension is noticeable in the group of laws that regulate the use of land and property. The ethical dimension is visible in discussion on topics like environmental pollution caused by modern city life. Finally the credal modality can be traced to the strong belief in science and technology as the solution of modern society’s ecological problems.


4 A MULTI-MODAL APPROACH TO THE ‘BUILT ENVIRONMENT QUALITY’ EVALUATION 4.1 A structure for ‘built environment quality’ evaluation Multi-modal thinking is used here to define and structure the concept of ‘built environment quality’, as an ‘objective criterion’ or ‘standard’ outside the decision-making process. The aim of this criterion is to provide guidance for evaluating urban projects and programmes for sustainability. A research project to establish the criteria and methodology is being undertaken by the author and the following illustrates the work to date. The approach starts from the identification of a list of dominant ‘built environment quality’ dimensions. These are linked to the fifteen dimensions of reality (or modalities) in order to understand their real nature and properties and a multi-modal framework for the ‘built environment quality’ is being developed, including a list of ‘performance criteria’ based on Dooyeweerd’s rigorous analysis of reality. These ‘performance criteria’ for built environment quality are examples of “normative” structural purposes which explain that “what ought to be is always part of what is”. In other words, according to Clouser [23], norms like natural laws have an existence distinct from both subject and object; this is why norms can and do continue to govern creation even when people exercise their freedom to disobey them. Understanding what are ‘performance criteria’ for built environment quality and sustainability and making them explicit and linking them into a theoretical body of knowledge are the main tasks to be addressed in the current study. 4.2 The main dimensions of the ‘built environment quality’ What does emerge from literature is that many different approaches to understanding both ‘quality of life’ and ‘environmental quality’ are being used. The concept of ‘built environment quality’ is strongly related to ‘quality of life’ and this last concept is often found to address the sustainable development principles of futurity (a concern for future generations), social equity (concern for today’s poor and disadvantaged), public participation (a concern that individuals should have an opportunity to participate in decisions that affect them) and environment (ensuring that human activity does not threaten the integrity of ecological systems) [27]. Vogel has isolated at least eight different ‘quality of life’ dimensions [6]: equity: a fair distribution of costs and benefits among segments of society; beauty: as a characteristic of objects or situations that delight the senses and/or


exalt the mind; security: as comfort and confidence in the safety of their actions and surroundings; vitality: explains the capacity to survive, or to live, grow and develop; efficiency: acting or producing effectively with a minimum of effort or waste; prosperity: the amount of available capital; health: both physical and mental well-being; democracy: as the degree to which people can change their environment, exercised either directly or through elected representatives. Most of these ‘quality of life’ dimensions reflect an anthropocentric paradigm, based on the concept of environmental control focused on the interests of individuals. However, additional dimensions can be found in literature [6, 28, 29 , 30] regarding ‘environmental quality’ which suggest a more ecocentric paradigm, departing from higher group or system interests. These dimensions include the following: diversity, as both the degree of ecological variation and the variation of the built environment; amenity is used to denote that environments should be comfortable and enjoyable; functionality refers to how environments are used; density is often related to the preservation of bioproductive land, to increasing the efficiency of infrastructure, to the reduction of transportation energy and to the improvement of the viability and vitality of communities; information is considered in terms of potential research contacts and key information facilities; heritage is connected to cultural values, historical development, the built heritage and listed buildings; mobility includes public transport usage and access to urban facilities. 4.3 A suggested multi-modal framework for ‘built environment quality’ The above dominant aspects of built environment quality outline the multidimensionality of this concept. They each have a different nature; they belong to different aspects of reality. More specifically, they are connected to several different modalities based on Dooyeeweerd’s theory. For example, equity is a moral characteristic which belongs to the ethical dimension of reality, democracy can be viewed as part of the juridical modality, beauty is an aesthetic attribute, and so on. Some of the dominant dimensions of built environment quality are included in the multi-modal framework shown in Table 2. The list of ‘performance criteria’ included in this framework does not aim to be comprehensive for establishing built environment quality, but it provides an example of possible structure for the purpose of guiding the evaluation of sustainability in planning. Furthermore, it shows a new classification system for different topics of built environment quality, using the multi-modal thinking approach. There are strong interrelations between all these aspects and several scientific disciplines are involved in improving specific knowledge on each of them. Sustainability planning is linked to all these dimensions.


Table 2. Framework for built environment quality.

In this multi-modal framework for built environment quality, both normative (soft) and determinative (hard) aspects are covered. The purpose of this framework should not be seen as a rigid way to calculate to what degree ethics, jurisdiction, aesthetic, etc. are found in a planning proposal, but more as a framework for discussion. One strength of using this multi-modal framework as guidance for evaluating urban projects, and assessing their performance, is that it captures a wide variety of human thought and experience. Furthermore, since these modalities are drawn out of the sciences, further knowledge about each can be found by inquiring of the different disciplines. A second value within the framework is that it relies on extensive research where the dimensions have been uncovered and arranged in their specific structure. There is an interrelation between the modalities so that one builds onto another. Consequently, no dimension can be removed [26]. A further benefit with this structure is that ordinary people, not only technicians and experts, recognise the dimensions as natural aspects of their own lives. The framework also leads to the harmonisation of information and knowledge across the built environment, bringing together all languages and disciplines involved in planning into a ‘global semiological system’ which is linked to the


real social value system. This framework will hopefully form the base for establishing a new decision support system in planning, both open and participative, which might lead to more sustainable urban developments in the future. 5 CONCLUSION AND FURTHER RESEARCH The evaluation of built environment quality in sustainability planning requires a multi-disciplinary, multi-people and multi-period approach and the handling of both technical and non-technical aspects of reality, such as those in the social, cultural and political realms (i.e. unemployment, recession, crime, and so on). At this time, the decision support systems which usually support development corporations and public choice have strong limitations in managing the different aspects of human and natural life in an integral manner. Consequently managers cannot deal with the turbulent political, social and economical environment. New technologies such as multi-media, animated graphics and virtual reality have enhanced these capabilities even further, but they are only mechanical representations of the more normative dimensions of reality [25]. In evaluating ‘built environment quality’ for planning sustainability, there is a need for an integrated approach involving a rethink of the classical (reductionism) scientific approach. The multi-modal thinking approach represents a new way of understanding reality, avoiding both reductionism and utilitarianism biases. In this paper, it has been postulated to provide and structure a theoretical framework for guiding the evaluation of built environment quality. This framework is in itself general and is to be used as a tool for structuring the discussion and as a basis for decision support systems in sustainability planning. Its main contribution is to make ‘performance criteria’ explicit for the built environment and to link them into a theoretical body of knowledge. By considering them in a harmonious way, guided by their different nuclei and meanings, the evaluation process could be enhanced. However, some performance criteria need further investigation in the future. Once they have been tested through a Delphi application, they will form the base for the development of a ‘built environment profile’ at district level. This will provide a useful tool for evaluating local planning proposals, in accordance with the principles of sustainable urban development. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The authors gratefully acknowledge the contribution made by Dr Andrew Basden in the IT Institute of Salford University for introducing, discussing and providing bibliography on multi-modal thinking referred to in this paper. The


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Limitations in environmental evaluations V.Bentivegna Dipartimento Processi e Metodi delta Produzione Edilizia, University of Florence, Florence, Italy

ABSTRACT Environmental evaluation is still a controversial question because its theoretical and empirical outcomes do not yet allow generally valid results. Therefore they need to be put into practice cautiously. Moreover, when environmental evaluation is used as a decision-aid within public decision processes, its intrinsic limitations are magnified by its multifunctional task. This chapter is subdivided into two sections. The first concerns evaluation as a technical-scientific procedure and points out the most controversial conceptual problems. The second deals with the role of evaluation in the public decision process related to regulation of actions which affect the environment. The conclusions are that environmental evaluation cannot be considered either generally valid or fully representative of all interests and that there is a need for more efficient organisation in the scientific field. Keywords: environmental evaluation, conceptual frameworks, economic theory, linear systems, ecology, complexity, public decisions. 1 A CONDENSED SUMMARY OF THE STATE OF THE ART 1.1 The conceptual background Generally speaking, evaluation is a technical-scientific procedure which aims to inform a judgement based on values. In the environmental field, there is a need either to assess the impacts on the natural and built environment which can be attributed to a policy or to an action, or to evaluate the effects of these impacts on a community.


The conceptual framework on which this evaluation is founded is far from being a stable one. There are many evaluation methods and among scholars there is no agreement either on a single conceptual frame or on a homogeneous vocabulary. The most widely accepted theoretical approaches are the standard economic theory, the classical linear systems theory and the ecological theories. 1.2 Economic theory Economic theory applied to the environment has faced the evaluation issues by trying to bring them inside the general theory through the notions of natural resource, external effects and collective goods. This theoretical approach has been criticised mainly on the basis of the following arguments: market prices cannot measure transactions between the economy and the biosphere; unique or exhaustible resources cannot be analysed in terms of substitution of production factors; in the set of all allocative decisions that can affect the environment, only a few have market origins because many important decisions are taken inside public or private, social or economic, etc. organisations (for instance, most of those concerning land planning), so that analyses based only on the market are not able to reveal all interactions between the environment and civil society; economic theory is not able to take into consideration the co-evolutive aspects of environment and social systems; allocative efficiency is only a second level criterion of judgement, constrained by ethical considerations and resilience [1], etc. 1.3 Linear systems theory Classical linear systems theory considers the environment as the stable context in which the social system is placed. Therefore the environment is substantially considered as a set of constraints on the city and on the people which forces them to adopt certain behaviour. Here, the main criticisms concern on one side the intrinsic limitations of the theory, and, on the other side its application to the environmental analysis. For instance, the theory assumes that knowing the initial conditions of a system is sufficient for understanding its evolution in the future [2]. Or, that the relationship between social systems and the environment is static (i.e. it underestimates both human beings’ ability to alter, transform and govern their physical environment, and the environment’s ability to react and to condition human beings). The inadequacy of the classical theory of linear systems has stimulated some new developments like the theory of chaotic non-linear systems [2, 3] and the theory of autonomous systems [4, 5] which seem to be very interesting for further developments in the field.


1.4 The ecological system The ecological scheme, based on a radical contraposition between economic and ecological logic (the observance of the laws of the former implies violation of the laws of the latter), has been criticised because it is too much marked by the representation of nature without human beings (we cannot assign a precise, stable and measurable ecological niche to them). 1.5 Complexity and rationality The plurality of conceptual systems is a consequence of the complexity of the issue. The first order of complexity factors belongs to the environment as such, like: the presence of thresholds, accumulation effects, undetermined time horizons; circular causalities among different effects and among actions and effects; the impossibility to subdivide environmental systems in discrete units, which can be assessed as such [6]; the irreversibility of development processes; the dependence of the consequences of an action on the initial conditions of both environment and individuals; the dynamism of non-linear processes. A second order of complexity is given by the plurality of theoretical evaluation approaches. A first most important aspect concerns the philosophical doctrines from which these basic theories derive. In fact, basic theories are important for many reasons. “First, the theories serve as a source of (implicit) philosophical rationales for most decision-aiding approaches. Second, the procedures used in the various approaches are to a considerable extent natural derivations from the fundamental theory. Third, the criteria by which approaches are evaluated as ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ must stem directly from a philosophical judgement of the appropriateness and usefulness of the theories” [7, p.60]. Here, the main problem is the interaction between economics and ethics inside the decision process: if it is true that efficiency cannot be the exclusive parameter for an ethical judgement, it is also true that ethical judgements without any economic evaluation are unreasonable. The problem is how to judge both the ethical and economic content of a choice of public goods like the environment. The most influential doctrine is utilitarism. Here the rational choice criterion is to maximise the aggregated utility (classical version), or individual preferences (neo-utilitarism version) [8], by means of an aggregated balance of utilities (or preferences) where redistribution is not important [9]. Allocative and distributive decisions are equivalent and the economic calculus can be extended to the sphere of justice. By so doing, assuming the aggregative principle, and supposing that either facts and values are separated and the initial conditions of individuals are not relevant, we can exclude the problems associated with the consequences of an action on the environment being perceived in different ways by different individuals. These decisions are not constrained by ethical arguments like inter-


and infragenerational altruism, benevolence, moral values, etc. It should be noted that utilitarism is at the base of the welfare economics from which stem both cost-benefits analysis and the revealed preference theory, which is the ground for both hedonic prices and travel cost methods. In the new-contractual theories [9, 10], social justice and efficiency are not equivalent, in the sense that the former does not coincide with the latter. Here, the decision maker—and therefore the evaluation—is not neutral towards preferences. On the contrary, the decision maker classifies and identifies those preferences which belong to the most disadvantaged groups as pertaining to his decision in relation to the allocation of social and co-operative goods, like environment. It is evident that, if we assume that there is a confusion between facts and values and that discriminating preferences is rational, then the evaluation of a collective choice is not the same as before. At the moment, if one wants to assume these theories as the foundation for environmental evaluation, some important aspects are not very clear. For instance, how should we define those who are disadvantaged when income or wealth do not represent the only dimension on which disadvantages have to be measured? How can we identify the most disadvantaged generation? Pluralistic-dialogic theories are characterised by an emphasis on the informative and communicative aspects of choices and they are concerned with the plurality of preferences in a diachronic and spatial sense, by the tension between ethical and economic needs, and they are interested in the costs associated with redistributive choices [11, 12]. Even if the implications of these theories on environmental evaluation have not yet been explored, it seems that they would be of great interest. Another controversial field is the rationality question. There are many possible meanings of rationality in the decision process which have been highlighted by organisation theory,1 but in environmental analysis this question is generally put in terms of substantial vs. procedural rationality. The issue can be summarised as follows. Economic (substantial) rationality is based on two key principles and two essential presuppositions. The two principles are: • coherence within a set of axioms (like the transitivity rule: if an individual prefers A rather than B and B rather than C, then he must prefer A rather than C); • the individual rational behaviour, in the sense that an individual must choose the best strategy among all possible ones. The two presuppositions are: • the agent has a complete knowledge of the problem, of the context and of his preferences; • he is able to treat information in the best way.


Therefore, uncertainty does not belong to this way of reasoning. Both principles and presuppositions are neither realistic nor sustained on an empirical basis because they require a decision-maker able to know all the possible alternatives and their costs and consequences. Moreover, an individual must be able to order his preferences assuming a unique reference value. Substantial rationality is considered very useful in evaluation methods because it allows the so-called “objective evaluation”, even if it has been strongly criticised for not taking into consideration uncertainty and irreversibility or the qualitative aspects of choice, and for limiting the informative content of decisions. Evaluations relying on this kind of rationality assume that it is possible to discover all situations that provide, ex ante, the best outcomes within a domain of given alternatives (the one-bestway, the optimal choice). They are prescriptive because they are able to find the alternative to be preferred and this alternative is the best one. Procedural rationality [14] is based on more realistic considerations, because it accepts uncertainty, decision-makers’ available information, individual cognitive capacity and decision costs. It replaces substantive rationality with a bounded rationality which implies that decisions must be reasonable and acceptable, i.e. able to satisfy an unstable set of preference criteria. It postulates that an agent may have more than one strategy in order to reach those situations he judges more satisfying, but no outcome is taken for granted or ensured. If evaluation assumes this kind of rationality it becomes descriptive, since its aim is to search for a good domain of choices and the verification of decision methods. This path has some important consequences on evaluation: for instance, evaluation is no longer demonstrative but becomes argumentative. Both heuristic and algorithmic reasoning are compatible, and multipurpose, multivalue and multigoal evaluations and qualitative variables can be employed in the analysis. In the system of substantial rationality, optimality is an attribute of the decision (the best choice), while in the system of procedural rationality, it is the procedure which brings the satisfying decision [15]. The third order of complexity factors is related to the limited conceptual baggage which is at the analyst’s disposal, like: the impossibility to group individual preferences in an operative social welfare function; the impossibility of forecasting on the basis of unknown variables and therefore perverse effects à la Boudon are always possible [16]; the impossibility of isolating an effect from the initial conditions of the system; the importance of doing-nothing; the difficulties of changing the traditional and well known “cause→effect” relationship to a “cause→system→multiple effects” one; the impossibility of evaluating those interests which will never be revealed (e.g. those belonging to future generations); or, generally speaking, the conceptual difficulty of 1 Diesling individuates five kinds of rationality in the decision process: logical, economic, social, legal and political rationality [13].


controlling uncertainty [17] and irreversibility (defined either as the incapability of an actor to change a situation, or the impossibility of coming back to the starting point [18]). In addition the intergenerational matter is still unresolved [19]. The fourth order of complexity factors is related to evaluation procedures, like: difficulties in collecting and treating information (indicators, relevance, reliability and availability of data, etc.); inadequacy of forecasting and the use of statistical methods [20]; difficulties in comparisons; difficulties in using analogical reasoning, for instance, in terms of substitutive markets; the need to control the cumulating of effects which means the collection and elaboration of a large number of variables, knowing very little about their structural relationship; difficulties in separating the effects strictly arising from an action, from those depending on many other different sources; the high cost of comprehensive evaluations.2 These difficulties increase when both the social system and the decision process related to the built environment are considered. For instance, in an interactive world the decision-maker cannot be considered as an individual, endowed with absolute rationality and knowledge. It is important to consider interactions among individuals and groups having different points of view. This means that the evaluation must take into consideration interests and behaviours which are not always compatible and homogeneous. Public programmes develop interactive processes in which politicians, administrative staff, opinion leaders, lobbies and public opinion play important roles and thus evaluation enters into the political decision-making process. Moreover, the notion of city is strictly connected with the notion of planning and so we have to deal with intentions and institutions. The effects of a decision on the environment are not neutral to the agents who support these effects, so there are important distributive effects. When considering the built environment many other evaluative problems must be taken into consideration. For instance, evaluation must deal with technology, land and town planning, with the mechanisms of production of the built environment, the mechanisms of appropriation and use of both natural and built environment resources and the allocation of surplus space. Moreover, there are questions like the trade-off between the goals of efficiency, equity and beauty, or the functions and role of historical and cultural sites and in general the symbolic meaning of the built environment. A particular class of problem arises when considering both the real estate market and environment at the same time, because they have different logic. Real estate markets consider the city as fully divisible in discrete units and the reference criterion for decision making is allocative efficiency. Environmental analysis on the other hand rejects the first point of view on the ground of its systemic logic and does not accept the latter one because efficiency is considered as a second level criterion, constrained by the needs of communities and environment. To sum up, the most important controversial issues seem to be:


• analytical vs. systemic approach: should we evaluate objects emphasising structures, or have we to evaluate actions i.e. emphasising functions, transformations and activities [21]? • substantive vs. procedural approach: should we assume substantial rationality as the path for evaluation, or should we take into account procedural rationality? • efficiency vs. equity approach: should we assume efficiency evaluations as the most preferred evaluation method or environment evaluations which include justice and equity problems? • algorithmic vs. heuristic: should we regard deterministic algorithms as the only way of reasoning with regard to evaluation or are heuristics also appropriate? 1.6 Plurality of values Plurality of values is a novelty in the broad field of evaluation. This provides another group of questions: which values should provide the reference for evaluation? In environmental evaluation, reference to prices and costs is considered inadequate because both market and firm theories cannot provide evidence for the ethical aspects: the market as such is not a reliable source of information and these theories are inadequate to explain or describe environment. In 1964 Weisbrod [22] identified the option value, later systematised by Henry [23] in 1974. In 1967 Krutilla [24] identified the existence and the bequest values. In the same year C.Forte [25], in a seminal paper, identified the social surplus value, from which Fusco Girard would later derive his social complex value [26]. Boyle and Bishop [27] distinguish four classes of values in the environmental field: consumptive use values, non-consumptive use values, indirect services and existence value. Among all these new values, the most significant ones are the option value, the existence value and the bequest value. The option value is the value given by potential consumers to goods or services for preserving the possibility (option) of consuming or using them in the future. It can be empirically observed by the behaviour of consumers in maintaining or increasing their possible choices. It is linked to the choice potential, that is the set of all possible alternatives that, even if not chosen at that moment by individuals, nevertheless remain accessible, thus affecting their behaviours. 2 For Merkhofer the three sources of complexity in evaluation are limited knowledge, dysfunction in human perception of risk and social consensus [7].


Option value is a way of limiting the consequences of irreversibility [23] because it has the property of exploiting information which is not available at the time. Therefore it is able to integrate intertemporal choices in the economic calculus [28] in a way which is different from the traditional discount rate. Existence and bequest values are often considered as equivalent. Existence value is the value given to goods for the simple fact that they exist. It originates from the concepts of uniqueness and irreversibility. Its meaning is strictly joined to that of patrimony, i.e. an accumulation of wealth to be used in future consumption. The environmental meaning of patrimony is not the same as used in public economics because it is associated with generations and not individuals therefore its future perspectives cannot be specified at the time of decision, as decisions on its use will be taken by somebody who is actually unknown. It implies some permanent limits on the use and on the exchange of goods because the users’ preference cannot be forecast. It also has strong symbolic content. The possibility of so many values associated with goods has encouraged research to determine a comprehensive value. Almost all approaches in this direction are based on the summation of individual preferences. Among these total values one can quote the total economic value and the social complex value [26, 30]. Ineffectiveness of the market and plurality of values increase confusion to the already confused evaluation conceptual framework. Here, the most important controversial issues seem to be: – a single value vs. a multivalue perspective: should environmental evaluation of the built environment take into consideration only a single value (whatever it is), or does the evaluation of environmental effects need a multivalue perspective? – comprehensive vs. desegregated evaluation: the increase in communication stemming from a synthetic value is always positive or should it be compared with the reduction in information that inevitably arises when a total value is derived? 1.7 The measurement problem Plurality of values, multiplicity of impacts, different view points and an inadequate conceptual framework have created a large number of evaluation techniques which can be assembled into three main classes: economic evaluation, impact evaluation and multicriteria evaluation, each of them subdivided into families of techniques. Economic evaluation is a major field for the measurement of environmental impact because “…a utility change may be expressed in terms of an infinite number of money measures” [31, p.200]. Economic evaluation can be subdivided


into two main families, i.e. evaluation techniques based directly or indirectly on the market, and evaluation techniques based on utility measurement. Market methods originate from the revealed preferences theory and they measure both willingness to pay or willingness to accept [32]. These methods can be classified according to survey criteria (direct, i.e. statements analysis, and indirect, i.e. behavioural analysis) and according to the context in which these surveys are carried out (real and hypothetical context). Among the indirect methods in a hypothetical context the most used methods are hedonic price method and travel cost method. Both of them have been criticised because they capture only use values and do not take solidarity into consideration. Their validity field is narrow because they make reference to an equilibrium market, i.e. a competitive market where consumers are fully informed and free from any social constraint. Among direct methods the most used method is contingent analysis which has been strongly criticised. Mitchell and Carson [33] have identified 22 pitfalls in this method, but it remains appealing for its simplicity and flexibility. Generally speaking, this approach has been criticised for its weak theoretical background, the difficulties in distinguishing preferences and the effect of preference revelation on the analysis outcome (free rider and prisoner’s dilemma effects). Measurements based on utility measures evaluate in terms of value functions and Neumann-Morgenstern utility functions, both in the real or simulated world. They have been criticised because they are not able to separate the technical production conditions from the psycho-physical ones, for the difficulties in aggregating consumers’ surpluses and for the need of a social welfare function which is always improbable. Impact evaluations aim to identify and measure the effects of an action on the environment in physical terms, but they can assess both physical and socialeconomic aspects. Their predominant characteristic is to be based on nonmonetary measurements, with preference for quantitative measurement scales. They are multidisciplinary and the impact measurements utilise techniques and indicators derived from the natural sciences, mostly in the form of expert judgement. Evaluation techniques can employ check lists, impact matrix, relation nets, map overlapping, according to the procedures in use. Multicriteria techniques are different from the previous ones because they can handle many goals at the same time, can treat quantitative and qualitative information together and they have no internal value judgement. Moreover, this approach does not incorporate a theory of value so that values may be culled as necessary [34, 35, 36]. To sum up, there are criticisms on the internal soundness of each technique, on its capacity to explain, describe and forecast in a reliable way the effects of an action on the built and natural environment and, even, on its usefulness for decision-makers. The presence of so many methods and approaches provides empirical evidence that there is not, to date, a method or a technique which can be considered as the best one in any situation (the one-best-technique). Each


technique is able to represent only some of the aspects of the whole system of effects, i.e. each evaluation has a limited field of validity, and can represent only a share of the many interests involved in the decision process. On the other hand, within its field of validity, each technique can give useful information to the actors who participate in that decision process. Each has practical benefit but “a (evaluation) technique is a good one only if it reaches…the goals for which one uses it: neither more or less.” [18, p.28]. In conclusion, despite the good will and skill of the analyst, the impression is that the environmental evaluation of cities and buildings is a difficult exercise, for which it is not always possible to ensure the requisites of practicability, acceptability, accuracy, soundness of logical base and completeness. A first consideration is that methods and evaluation techniques should be employed with attention and care and their outcomes used cautiously in practical applications. A second one is that, in the environmental evaluation field, it is not always possible to compare methods, techniques and outcomes, because they may be too different to be compared. This means that it is not worthwhile to search for unifying models and techniques. In fact, the problem does not lie so much in the lack of a general agreement on methods and research procedures, as in the lack of systematic and adequate comparisons among these methods and these techniques. This means that there is a need to build upright, stable and efficient communication channels, together with the need to build up a common language. 2 EVALUATION IN THE ENVIRONMENTAL PUBLIC DECISION PROCESS Generally speaking, a decision-aid is an ordered and systematic way of supporting the process leading to a decision. In public decision processes related to the environment, evaluation is mainly seen as a decision-aid, i.e. it is requested to rationalise, to organise and to allow comparison of alternatives. Evaluation can be considered as a research exercise. In this case, the object, the method and the investigation field are chosen by the researcher according to the cognitive theory he wants to verify. However, when it concerns the public agent’s actions and behaviours it must be considered as a social practice. In this case, the investigation field is given [37], because the context of the analysis is the decision process of which evaluation is a component. The first consequence of this interpretation is the widening of the investigation field. When evaluation is considered as research, the researcher is interested in the physical or economic effects directly related to the environmental impact, i.e. he investigates the relationships between an impact and its environmental effects and, generally, he tends to give objectivity to the knowledge by assuming that it is possible to understand reality as it is. Therefore, the results of the research can be considered as true, at least, until their falsification.


When evaluation is considered as a decision-aid, the investigation field grows wider because social actors must be taken into consideration and the relationship to be investigated then becomes “impact→environmental effectst→effects on the actors”. Here judgements on actions and behaviours are not just related to their effects on environments, but consideration about gainers and losers are important as well. Thus, a second level of investigation is needed, which concerns the effect of public interventions on production and consumption processes. In other words, the indirect effects on people are as important as direct effects on the environment. Environment is a major field for public decision process evaluation. The reason for the extensive use of evaluation in this field can be related to the lack of self control within the social system with regard to the environment, together with the complexity of problems, which cannot be governed through the traditional bureaucratic-administrative model of choice. Public intervention consists of incentives and regulations, with the aim to bring the agents’ behaviour back to the path of environmental compatibility. In both cases the public decision is the result of a social calculus in which political feasibility, technical rationality and economic considerations are taken into consideration. As a decision-aid, evaluation appears as a political event which is a component of the political context of the decision [37] because it enters into the negotiation game associated with these public decisions. Placed as it is inside the political decision process, the evaluation plays a complex role fulfilling three practical needs for the public administration. The first need is a material one and consists of a better management of policies and actions of the field of the built and natural environment, through the control of the effects of actions and behaviours on the environment and on the social system. The second has a symbolic nature and consists of giving an image of rationality to administrative behaviour, justifying its choices. The third is related to politics and concerns the incentive given by evaluation to participation. Evaluation is, at the same time, a concept and a practice that has effect not only on the knowledge but also on legitimacy. It works in two dimensions, both cognitive and instrumental [38]. As a means for rationalisation, evaluation identifies what it is better to do in order to pursue public goals, to guide decisions and to increase the capacity of analysis of the public administration [39]. The task of the evaluation in legitimising public decisions stems from the lack of legitimacy which is present in the civil society with regard to public actions, and in particular, to public environmental policies. Evaluation can appear to be a tool to re-legitimatise public activities. In fact, the legitimacy problem in environmental policy does not lie in denying the right of the State to govern both natural and built environments, because it is admitted that in both these fields the State defends universal values and has an irreplaceable social task, but in calling its choice criteria into question. What people want is that empirically verified


methods attest the realism of public goals and the efficiency and effectiveness of public choices [38]. Evaluation, as a political tool, is able to increase useful information for administrators and citizens, increasing participation in environmental decision making. In fact, evaluation has long since been identified as a tool which can guarantee the transparency of decisions and facilitate participation. Evaluation shows how a choice has been reached, creates the conditions for active participation, makes pros and cons common knowledge to be accepted or rejected, allows negotiations which are visible and provides a clear decision path which facilitates conscious consent. In so doing, the environmental evaluation takes on a substantial political role which will affect its content and procedures. If environmental evaluation has such a political role, there is the need for careful use of its outcomes, which have a critical impact on individuals and groups. In fact, public decisions in the environmental field are the results of a complex decision process, in which many actors participate with their different interests and expectations. The State is only one of these many different actors, whose aim is to reach a decision supported by wide consent. Therefore, evaluation cannot be considered as objective knowledge, but it becomes a means to reach a deeper knowledge of the problem. In summary, evaluation cannot be but a tool for argument within the comprehensive collective decision process relating to the environment because its conceptual framework is controversial, its methods are valid only within a narrow validity field, and its outcomes represent only a share of the interests in the game. Therefore its task is limited to clarifying ideas and allowing a better comparison among alternatives than ordinary language can do, so enriching the debate. According to this point of view evaluation has no more the arduous task of giving an improbable objective judgement but it becomes the representation of different points of view, useful for reaching a good decision and developing a learning process. This approach qualifies evaluation as a language and therefore its efficient use needs to take account of the rules of language. For instance, a problem and its solutions have a clear meaning only inside the speech where they have been formulated. Therefore, the efficiency and effectiveness of the evaluation depends on the possibility for all interested groups to make their own evaluations, to communicate with each other and to be listened to, which is typical in negotiations. But in order to sustain his own point of view an agent needs to participate in this debate i.e. to have political access to the negotiation table [40]. In consequence, for the same environmental problem, there can be many different evaluations supporting many different points of view, none of which can be considered the best one, but all useful in increasing knowledge and helping to reach a better decision.


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The development of the Leeds Quantifiable City Model *A.D.May, **G.Mitchell and **D.Kupiszewska *Institute for Transport Studies, The University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK **The Environment Centre, The University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK ABSTRACT Three UK Research Councils have jointly established a research programme “Towards the Sustainable City” which is investigating the processes underlying the pursuit of urban sustainability. As part of this programme, a strategic model of the urban sustainability process, the Quantifiable City, is being developed, based on the city of Leeds, both to aid policy development and as a test-bed for research ideas. The paper reviews the background to the project. The model development strategy is then described, and details are given of the sustainability parameters to be used, the construction of the conceptual model, the model framework, the incorporation of sectoral models, and the audit of available data. A final section describes future stages in the development and application of the model. Keywords: Sustainable development, urban modelling, environmental modelling. 1 INTRODUCTION The pursuit of urban sustainability is a complex task requiring the analysis of the full range of urban activities both spatially and temporally. Activities and processes which merit particular study include land use patterns and built form; transport supply and demand; energy consumption; waste generation and processing; water supply and contamination; atmospheric pollution; and land contamination. An understanding of the interactions and feedbacks between these elements is essential to the analysis of sustainability. This paper describes the development of a strategic model of the sustainability process, the Quantifiable City, which is designed both to provide a tool for policy makers and to act as a test-bed for those involved in research on urban sustainability. The project has been funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) as part of their research programme “Towards the Sustainable City”.


Section 2 reviews the background to the project, and earlier research in the subject area. Section 3 describes the model development strategy, which is elaborated more fully in Sections 4–7. Section 8 outlines the next stages in the development of the project. 2 OBJECTIVES AND BACKGROUND Sustainable development has been described as “development that meets the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs”[1] and “development that improves the quality of human life while living within the limits of supporting ecosystems”[2]. These definitions underlie a major research programme, launched in 1993 by EPSRC in collaboration with others, entitled “Towards the Sustainable City”[3]. Cities are, almost by definition, not sustainable on their own. They rely on their hinterlands for many of their supplies, some of which will be globally sourced. Equally they dispose of their waste into the atmosphere and water courses in ways which will affect the surrounding region and, potentially, the planet. The research programme is not, therefore, seeking the utopia of a wholly sustainable city; instead it is investigating ways in which cities can become more sustainable. While useful research can be conducted in individual sectors such as buildings, water, waste and transport, it may be difficult to predict the wider effects of such research findings, because of the complex interactions and chain reactions between these sectors. The Quantifiable City project has been designed, and financed by EPSRC, to help overcome this problem. Its objectives are: • to provide a tool which can be used by practitioners in the modelled city to monitor trends and to test the impact of proposed policies; • to provide a model structure which can be used by others to develop similar models for other urban areas; • to provide a facility which can be used by researchers to test, predictively, the impact of their research findings within a modelled city; and • to identify, through use of the model, those interactions which are least certain and those which are least conducive to sustainability, and hence most deserving of future research. The model is being developed based on the City of Leeds, which has an urban population of around 600,000; the opportunity is also being taken, in conjunction with the University of Huddersfield, to test its applicability to Kirklees Metropolitan District, an adjacent area of West Yorkshire centred on the town of Huddersfield (population 200,000). While the project is being directly financed by EPSRC, it has attracted external support and collaboration from the Health and Safety Executive, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Pollution, Kirklees District Council, Leeds City Council, the National Rivers Authority, the West Yorkshire


Passenger Transport Executive, West Yorkshire Waste Management and Yorkshire Water, all of whom are contributing data and models, and participating in the consultation process as the project develops. The concept for the project arose from the establishment of the Leeds Environment Centre, which brings together the environmental research interests of some 20 departments in the University of Leeds. Many of these are already active in the predictive modelling of specific sectors of the urban system, including atmospheric pollution, energy, population, transport, waste treatment and water quality. The EPSRC “Towards the Sustainable City” programme provided the opportunity to co-ordinate these modelling activities, and hence to develop an overall model of the urban system and its implications for sustainability. This is not, of course, the first time that such a model has been attempted. The Stockholm Environment Institute developed PoleStar, an accounting system designed to assist in sustainability studies [4], while Giaoutzi and Nijkamp produced a dynamic stock-flow model for the Sporades Islands [5]. The International Institute for Applied System Analysis (IIASA) has recently developed a sustainability model for the island of Mauritius [6], which they believe will have applicability to other areas. In developing their proposals they examined other sustainability models, e.g. [7, 8, 9, 10, 11] and concluded that such models should: • avoid nebulous relationships, as adopted in WORLD 3 [7, 8]; • develop models for particular places, where equations can be specified with more confidence; • emphasise problems which are difficult to manage, have complex causes and wide ranging impacts; and • enable a contrasting range of policies to be tested. A similar approach is being adopted in the Quantifiable City project. A complementary project, also funded by EPSRC, but rooted in the disciplines of town planning and architecture, is also underway [12]. It is intended that the two modelling approaches will be co-ordinated in future developments. 3 MODEL DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY To achieve the project goals described above, the research team began by identifying sustainability indicators to act as outputs of the Quantifiable City model. An indicators methodology was developed and a suite of indicators generated. The indicator suite will be subject to refinement as the Quantifiable City model progresses, but is largely complete. From this point three strands of research are pursued in parallel.


The first strand is the development of the conceptual model. This includes identification of all components and processes important to city sustainability, and the linkages between them. Many relevant subsystems have been modelled in the past, and the main difficulty lies in integrating them into one comprehensive system. In particular, urban models of socio-economic processes must be linked with physical environment models. The conceptual model will be represented graphically in a form of box and arrow diagrams supported by qualitative interaction matrices. Important issues in conceptual modelling include identification of ideal spatial and temporal scales, as well as definitions of spatial boundaries for the model subsystems. The second strand aims to bring us from a conceptual model to a working computer model. It encompasses two main tasks: design of the computer framework and review of existing urban and environmental sectoral models. We are not attempting to develop the computer model from scratch, but will use existing, well established sectoral models as building blocks. The modelling gaps identified by comparing the functionality of known sectoral models with the requirements of the conceptual model will then be identified. All sectoral models under consideration will be thoroughly tested before inclusion in the integrated model structure. Sensitivity analyses will be particularly important prior to sectoral model integration. In designing the computer framework, several issues must be addressed, including choice of platform, linking of models written in different programming languages, design of a common data format, choice of software for the graphical user interface (GUI), database, GIS and data visualisation tools and design of the GUI. The main feature of the proposed computer framework is its modularity, allowing progressive development of the model, beginning with an exemplar model of a subsystem, which can be extended by the integration of further sectoral models. As new and improved models become available they can replace obsolete models without needing to change the whole structure. The third strand of the research concerns the construction of a database. This includes a data audit to assess the availability and suitability of data required to analyse sustainability trends, and the input data required by sectoral models. The data audit results will influence the final content of the suite of sustainability indicators. 4 PROPOSED SUSTAINABILITY PARAMETERS The Quantifiable City modelling process requires the identification of a series of model output parameters, or sustainability indicators. A single output parameter, or sustainability index, was not sought as this cannot provide urban managers, working across a wide range of city activities, with the detailed information they require to assess different policy options. There are no widely accepted measures of sustainability in current use, so a suite of indicators was devised using


PICABUE, a methodological framework for the construction of indicators of sustainable development [13]. The steps in the method are: 1. Specify the users and purpose of the indicators, and the definitions and principles of sustainable development that are referenced. 2. Identify and select issues of concern. 3. Construct and/or select reference indicators of selected issues. 4. Augment reference indicators by sustainability principles. 5. Modify augmented indicators to address boundary and uncertainty issues as appropriate. 6. Evaluate and review final sustainability indicators. In keeping with the most widely accepted definitions of sustainable development [1, 2], indicators were developed to measure quality of life and ecological integrity (Fig. 1). Indicators for quality of life were developed to address the sustainable development principles of futurity (concern for future generations), social equity (concern for today’s poor and disadvantaged) and environment (ensuring that human activity does not threaten the integrity of ecological systems). Following a literature review a hierarchical disaggregation procedure was used to identify primary, secondary and tertiary components of quality of life. For example, airborne particulates are a component of air quality which itself is a component of physical health and hence quality of life. The six primary components were identified as health; physical environment; natural resources, goods and services; community development; personal development; and security. Reference indicators were then identified for sixty-four of the most significant secondary and/or tertiary components. In most cases appropriate reference indicators could be identified from the relevant literature, an advantageous feature of the indicators methodology. Sustainability indicators were then developed by applying the sustainable development principles outlined above to each reference indicator. Reference indicators are expressed, where relevant, relative to resource stock limits or pollution standards to give futurity indicators and to social disaggregations (age, sex, ethnic or socio-economic status) to give social equity indicators. For example, the reference indicator measuring potable water consumption has become the basis for three sustainability indicators: (i) household expenditure on water as a percentage of income per social class (social equity); (ii) water consumption as a percentage of the estimated resource stock in a drought year with a 50 year return period (futurity); and (iii) number of days per annum that the river flow drops below the minimum recommended to maintain the aquatic biological community (environment). The application of the environment principle produces indicators of the pressure that human action places on the environment. These indicators are rooted in quality of life themes and so only relate to the resource value of


Fig. 1 The development of sustainability indicators using PICABUE.

ecological integrity. The existence value of ecological elements was covered by identifying additional complementary ecological indicators (Fig. 1). This process led to a series of recommendations on sustainability indicators [14]. These proposed sustainability indicators were then reviewed by the project’s collaborating group, who were asked if the indicators were relevant, sensitive to change across space, time and social groups, understandable, measurable, supported by consistent data, expressed with an appropriate data transformation, and amenable to the setting of targets and critical limits. The


resulting list of sustainability indicators will be further modified as the project progresses. 5 DEVELOPMENT OF THE CONCEPTUAL MODEL 5.1 Conceptual model strategy A conceptual model is required to assist in the formulation of the mathematical model of the Quantifiable City. The conceptual model simplifies the system of interest, the ‘sustainable city , by identifying relevant system components, the linkages between them and to some extent the nature of those linkages. The strategy for the development of the conceptual model is: 1. Develop a framework diagram of the socio-economic-environment system in the context of sustainable development. The diagram is used as a basis for identifying components that may be relevant to the conceptual model. Components would include sustainability indicator subjects from the quality of life and ecological integrity themes, and other system components such as population dynamics, lifestyle, technological change, and economic activity. 2. Develop a matrix showing the qualitative links between system components. 3. Develop subsystem diagrams of significant urban processes showing their relevance to the appropriate sustainability indicators. 4. Use the interaction matrix to develop diagrams that show the linkages between conceptual model subsystems. 5. Identify spatial and temporal scales and boundaries appropriate to model subsystems. Once a conceptual model of the sustainable city has been developed it can be used as a basis for identifying which components, and groups of components, in the model are addressed by existing sector models, where modelling gaps occur, and which existing sector models could be linked through the common format database. 5.2 Development of the model The Quantifiable City model seeks to integrate numerous sectoral models in a common framework so that the potential is developed to quantify sustainability indicators relevant to a wide range of urban processes and management options. Fig. 2 illustrates just one possible link from the water resource subsystem to the wider Quantifiable City model. In this example a link is shown to a water quality

Fig. 2 Relationships between subsystems in a sustainable city model, centred on water quality.


subsystem where river water stock is a significant determinant on another sustainability indicator, river water quality. Clearly policies aimed at water resource management could have a significant effect on river water quality. An optimum demand management strategy identified from the modelled water resource subsystem may have the added


advantage of increasing river flows, and so the pollutant carrying and disposal capacity of the river. However, the water quality subsystem may itself be linked to a sewage generation subsystem. In this subsystem a waste management authority may wish to investigate different policy options for disposing of sewage sludge. Options may include discharge to river, land filling, spreading on land, incineration or composting. The Quantifiable City model would seek to assess these options with respect to sustainability indicators in the waste area, and other sustainability indicator subsystems. In this example, an increased pollutant carrying capacity of the river, resulting from sustainable management of the water cycle, gives waste disposal managers greater flexibility in choice of sustainable waste disposal practice. In return, energy recovery from waste incineration and composting of organic wastes may be used to offset energy consumed in pumping water around the distribution network. Interactions between indicator subsystems may be far reaching. Fig. 2 shows that water quality influences the ecological quality of a river, and that in turn this may influence the amenity value of a river corridor and hence land values and ultimately land use. Changes in land use, in turn, can influence water quality. River quality improvements may also have implications for abstracted water, potable supply quality and so public health, another sustainability indicator topic. Wide reaching implications of river water quality improvements, such as these, are not merely of academic interest, but are of considerable interest to the National Rivers Authority, the UK’s water conservation authority. Other subsystems in the Quantifiable City model are to be developed similarly to quantify sustainability indicators in other areas. For example air pollutant emission models will be linked to dispersion models so that the impact of transport policy on air quality sustainability indicators may be investigated. However, water quality can be affected by air quality (through acid deposition and acidification of ground waters) and transport related processes such as street wash and toxic spills from vehicles. 6 MODEL IMPLEMENTATION 6.1 Computer framework The conceptual model described above is to be implemented as a computer system running on a PC platform, making it available to the widest possible user group. Specialist submodels (e.g. those requiring high performance computing) could be made available through a computer network. As described above, the computer system will have a modular structure. It will include a number of sectoral models, interacting with each other through a database in which all the data will be kept in a common format. It is anticipated that many models will be


acquired in a compiled form, so numerical modules will be developed to act as interfaces between models and the database. These modules must be capable of recalculation of data with different spatial zones to a common format (e.g. ward based data to grid based data). A GIS (Geographical Information System) will be used for this purpose. Sectoral models will produce two types of outputs: (i) intermediate results to be used as an input to other sectoral models, and (ii) reference indicators. Additional numerical modules will be programmed, which will use reference indicators and data on sustainability parameters (e.g. census data, environmental standards, threshold limits) to calculate sustainability indicators, as described in Section 4. Input data, outputs from sectoral models, and sustainability indicators, will be displayed as graphs, tables or maps using visualisation modules. Input parameters will be able to be changed readily to facilitate policy testing. Model parameters will also be able to be changed, to permit sensitivity testing. A userfriendly graphical interface will allow interactive access to models, data and descriptive information modules. Input parameters will be able to be changed readily to facilitate policy testing. Model parameters will also be able to be changed, to permit sensitivity testing. 6.2 Sectoral models The utility of the Quantifiable City model depends to a large extent on the quality of its component modules. Particular attention is being paid to the selection of suitable sectoral models, of which three sources are considered: (i) models recommended by national government agencies (which are likely to be well tested), (ii) models from commercial consultancies (scientifically more upto-date, but expensive), and (iii) models from the academic community (easier to acquire, but they may require more testing). This last group includes models developed, or currently in use, at the University of Leeds, (e.g. the SATURN model developed by the Institute for Transport Studies). These models are particularly attractive, as specialist support from academic colleagues is readily available. Currently we are collecting basic information about each potential model; its name, author and owner, purpose, input and output variables, spatial and temporal scale, platform, operating system, programming language and availability. Most models will probably be acquired in a compiled form, which would make any modifications impossible. Therefore, it is important that models have a large number of controllable variables, so that various scenarios and policies can be tested. It is our intention to investigate models in all sectors which influence sustainability. However, we have started with sectors of widely recognised importance for city sustainability, namely transportation and air pollution. These areas have been the subject of extensive modelling work, so the


difficulty lies with selecting the appropriate models, rather than in filling modelling gaps. In the transportation sector it will be necessary to provide models at three levels. The first addresses strategic transport impacts and predicts choice of frequency, destination, mode and time of travel in response to changes in land use patterns, transport infrastructure provision, and the management and pricing of that infrastructure. These can be conventional four stage transportation models, such as TRIPS [15] or broader sketch planning models such as START [16]. The second assesses the impact of the predicted demands for road use on the road network; here we expect to use the interactive simulation and assignment model, SATURN [17]. The third is a series of models which use the traffic stream parameters of flow, composition and speed to predict environmental impacts such as noise, pollutants and accidents. The main types of air pollution models are: stochastic, receptor and dispersion models [18, 19]. Stochastic models use statistical methods to describe and forecast temporal changes in air quality. Dispersion or source oriented models aim to evaluate concentrations of pollutants in space from information on emissions, meteorology, topography and atmospheric chemistry. Receptor models use information on air pollutant concentration and so-called source profiles (typical composition of emissions from a given source) to apportion contributions from various sources. Dispersion models are most suitable for the Quantifiable City, as they may be used to predict changes in urban air quality in response to changes in emission levels, thus permitting the impact of traffic management scenarios to be evaluated in air quality terms. Various types of dispersion models are under consideration, including Box, Gaussian, Eulerian and Lagrangian (trajectory) models. Important air pollution issues to resolve relate to data availability and boundary problems, as urban air quality is affected not only by the city based emissions, but also by emissions originating in surrounding and distant regions. A third area of current interest is the population sector. Population growth is not an obvious threat to the sustainability of many Western European cities, where the urban population is often in decline, as in Leeds. However, a population model is an important element of the Quantifiable City model for three reasons. Firstly, it supplies input data to other sectoral models that need population data to calculate, for example, water demand, energy consumption, transport demand and waste production. Secondly, demographic data are essential to the modelling of sustainability indicators addressing the social equity principle. For these reasons, a model addressing changes in population structure is required. Important variables include population density, age, sex, occupational class, income, educational achievement and ethnic status. Thirdly, population projections are needed to address the futurity principle.


7 DATA AUDIT Data required to support the Quantifiable City model may be classified as: (i) input data for individual sectoral models; (ii) data for testing the accuracy of model predictions; and (iii) data from monitoring programmes used to analyse sustainability trends. Sustainability trends are monitored using reference indicator data together with additional data relating to the sustainability parameters, which are used to calculate sustainability indicators. These parameters include environmental standards, demographic data and where known, resource stock limits and carrying capacities. The data audit has concentrated on investigating reference indicator data, examining data availability, quality, format and spatial and temporal scales. Data media is also an issue, as non-digital records, such as paper maps and data archives have resource implications for database construction. The results of this data audit will inevitably influence the final suite of sustainability indicators. Significant data gaps have already been identified in several sectors, largely due to a lack of data collection programmes or data confidentiality. However, in some cases there is the possibility of using surrogate data to fill these data holes. Data on contaminated land, for example, are not publicly available, but could be generated from maps of past land use using a GIS. 8 FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS The next stages in the model development involve programming the display of those indicators which are not directly modelled; installing and testing sectoral models; and integrating those sectoral models into the Decision Support System. In parallel with this, consultation with collaborating partners will help to identify a long list of possible policies which might usefully be tested, including those based on legislative, planning, technological, fiscal informational and enablement measures. It is not the intention to produce a full working model within the two year timescale of the current grant. Instead, the aim is to demonstrate that the conceptual model is defensible and that the process of converting it to a fully operational model is feasible. This will be tested and demonstrated by producing exemplar models, for example in the interactions between land use, transport, air pollution and health. The most appropriate exemplars will be chosen based on the reviews of policy variables and of available sectoral models. Based on the performance of these exemplar models, decisions will be taken on the work programme and funding required to complete the Quantifiable City model.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The work described here has been financed by EPSRC, whose support is gratefully acknowledged. Several colleagues in the University of Leeds, notably David Kay, Adrian McDonald and Mike Pilling, and from our collaborating partners, have contributed to the development of the Quantifiable City model. The views expressed are, however, the authors’ own and should not be attributed to other participating agencies. REFERENCES 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

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An energy and environmental prediction model for cities P.J.Jones,* N.D.Vaughan,* P.Cooke** and A.Sutcliffe** *The Welsh School of Architecture, UWCC, Cardiff, CF1 3AP, UK **The Centre for Advanced Social Studies, UWCC, Cardiff CF1 3AP, UK

ABSTRACT The Energy and Environmental Prediction (EEP) project, will develop an environmental auditing and decision-making tool, for use by planners and others in their pursuit of sustainable development. The EEP model will be based on Geographic Information System (GIS) techniques and will incorporate a number of sub-models to account for the energy and emissions produced by buildings, transport systems and industry. The model will predict energy use and emissions at a whole city level and down to a level which will inform planning decisions. It will allow the quantification of factors and indicators that can be used as a measure of sustainability. Keywords: energy use, environmental decision making, sustainable development, GIS, energy, emissions 1 INTRODUCTION An Energy and Environmental Prediction (EEP) model is being developed in collaboration with local authorities in South East Wales as part of a unified effort to plan for sustainability and to predict energy use and associated emission of waste and pollutants at a local and global level. In order to improve urban energy management and planning, local authority policy makers and managers require knowledge of energy consumption and emissions at a regional level, together with the ability to predict how this might change, both incrementally and cumulatively, over time as new policies are introduced and new developments proposed in the built environment, industry and transport systems. There is also the need for a quantitative method that will enable local authority decision-makers to monitor trends and their subsequent progress towards meeting agreed targets, such as Cardiff City Council’s determination to reduce the city’s CO2 emissions by 30%, compared to 1990 levels, by the year 2005.


However, there are few readily accessible models for planners and policy makers which are able to predict urban energy use and emissions in sufficient detail for planning sustainable strategies and for monitoring their success. The EEP project was established in the context of this requirement. The central aim is to produce a fully documented computer model and procedures to allow decisionmakers to plan for improved energy efficiency and reductions in polluting emissions. The model will help local government develop corporate environmental policies with special emphasis for planning authorities to take environmental energy considerations into account in formulating development plans and policies. The work is being carried out by The Welsh School of Architecture and The Centre for Advanced Social Studies at the University of Wales, Cardiff with support from Cardiff City Council, South Glamorgan County Council, MidGlamorgan County Council, Gwent County Council, Newport Borough Council, Mandix (consultants), Welsh Development Agency, SWALEC, British Gas, Wales Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Welsh Water. The project is jointly sponsored by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) under their “Towards the Sustainable City” programme. 2 THE EEP MODEL 2.1 The requirements for the EEP model A series of discussions and interviews with the ultimate end-users revealed that the Energy and Environmental Planning model will ideally be required to: • quantify energy consumption for different sectors (building, industry and transport) and spatial areas within a region; • predict future levels of energy consumption by activity sector and spatial area; • calculate the emission of pollutants associated with energy use; • predict the dispersion of waste and pollutants at local and regional level and their effect on the environment and air quality; • establish a baseline for energy consumption and emissions at 1990 levels; • monitor progress towards agreed targets; • relate the results to the relevant legislation, indicators, standards or guidelines; • help assess alternative renewable energy management and supply options; • help identify sites for future development that accord with the objectives of sustainable development;


• predict the specific incremental and cumulative impact of energy use and emissions associated with proposed developments and policies; • identify and appraise the accessibility of a site by public and other transport; • assess the likely effect of developments on overall travel patterns and car use. 2.2 The EEP framework A review of the requirements for the EEP model has indicated the need to undertake three main types of analyses within the planning and administrative process. These are summarised in Fig. 1 and can be briefly described as follows: • Regional Energy Auditing: the EEP model will be used to predict current and future energy consumption and associated emissions within the transport, building (domestic, and commercial) and industrial sectors. It will also establish a baseline for energy consumption at 1990 levels and allow monitoring of progress towards agreed targets over time. The model will also allow for different energy management and supply options to be assessed. • Environmental Impact Assessment: the EEP model will be used to determine, and help modify, the energy use and emissions relating to specific developments, such as new housing schemes, supermarkets, or the construction of new roads. Following the structure outlined in the LGMB guidance document for planners [1], the model will also be able to inform the process relating to individual developments, such as, location appraisal, the investigation of land use and movement patterns, site appraisal, site layout and the design of individual buildings. • Planning Policy and Options Analysis: the model will also aid in the investigation and analysis of planning options, proposals and policies for reducing energy consumption. For example, an ‘accessibility profile’ routine may be developed which would allow planners to carry out spatial audits of accessibility and identify areas in need of improved accessibility in order to reduce the fuel used for travel. 2.3 Key requirements of the EEP model The key features of the EEP model are summarised below: • A modular approach: the EEP model will be founded on a series of interactive submodels and procedures. These will either be developed ‘in house’ or, whenever possible, existing models will be used. • A flexible framework: the EEP model will be structured to be flexible in order to allow for future expansion beyond the limits of the current EPSRC project and for the model to incorporate new modules or easily adapt existing models as the need arises.

Fig. 1 A provisional schematic of the EEP tool’s procedural components.



• Transferability: the general framework of the model will be transferable to other cities in the UK. The model is initially being developed in pilot form using information available for Cardiff and will be transferred to the Merthyr and Ebbw valleys. • Spatial scale: the model will operate at both a regional and city level, and down to the level of medium sized individual developments. • Temporal scale: the model will be able to operate at a variety of time scales, depending on the specific requirement of the analysis and the availability of data. • Output: the model will relate the results to relevant indicators, legislation or guidelines and express them on a GIS, in numerical, graphical and tabular form. • User friendly: all too often design aids and computerised tools fail to be used by the professionals they were intended for because they are cumbersome to use or written in language that the user is unfamiliar with. The project team has been particularly mindful of this failing, and has decided to structure the model so that it matches current and anticipated practices in local authority planning through concepts and language that are either familiar to officials or can be easily explained to them. 2.4 The component parts of the EEP model The main components of the EEP model are outlined in Fig. 2 and summarised below. • The user interface: users will access and control the model via a ‘primary interface’. The interface will allow the user to choose which scenario to consider and enable them to call a range of external procedures or sub-models, selected according to their need. It will also enable the user to examine, enter and amend data in a straightforward manner. The interface will present the results simultaneously, through the associated GIS and other graphical devices or tables. • Sub-models: the EEP model will be founded on a series of interacting submodels, a number of which are currently being evaluated for use. Some of the sub-models will be specific to one of the three analysis procedures, whilst others will be of general use, as indicated in Fig. 1. It is recognised that the EEP model will only be as good or as credible as the models and data that are utilised. This being so, all sub-models and data will need to be valid, reliable and well accepted. This is particularly important where the models are to be used to satisfy government standards and legislation. Where well established or government approved models/procedures exist these will be generally incorporated into the model rather than developing similar components ‘in house’. • The database and data-highway: a ‘data highway’ will allow data to be called from the database and be transferred between the different sub-models as they interact with each other.

Fig. 2 Principal components of the computing framework.



• The computing framework: the model will run on a PC platform. Users will access the model via a Microsoft Windows™ interface which presents them with choices and through which data can be entered. As the model is to be mounted on a Microsoft Windows™ platform in conjunction with MapInfo™, and as MapInfo’s favoured programming language is its own MapBasic™ and Microsoft’s Visual Basic™, the primary interface will be assembled in Visual Basic™. The primary interface will elicit data, perform analysis and present results via established utilities within Microsoft Office. 3 THE SUB-MODELS 3.1 Domestic energy use models and procedures Domestic energy use and its subsequent emissions at both a whole city and local level, will be predicted using a BREDEM type calculation [2] in conjunction with demographic and occupancy data from census and other sources. Figure 3 presents a flow chart which summarises the proposed sub-model. In addition it is planned to incorporate various government approved energy rating models, such as NHER and Starpoint, in order to comply with recognised government standard prediction methods. These evaluations will be modified according to locally available building performance and use information, where that information exists or can be made available to the project. 3.2 Non-domestic energy use The energy used within individual non-domestic buildings (schools, hospitals, service sector buildings, etc.) will be predicted from sector specific reference energy data. Data will be derived from national figures by building category, normalised, where applicable, for floor area, occupancy and weather. As with the domestic sector, these estimations will be modified by local performance information where that exists. Figure 4 shows, as an example, the energy use associated with the university building stock in Cardiff. 3.3 Industrial energy use models The energy use and environmental impact associated with the various industrial activities in the city will be determined using both general information available from government sources [3] and information specific to individual sites or activities within the city. As with the domestic and commercial energy


Fig. 3 The proposed methodology to establish energy use, cost and emissions of domestic buildings using BREDEM type calculations [2].

calculations the final estimates will be specific to sites within the city at the level of the individual post code unit. 3.4 Transport modelling Traffic flow data (flows, speeds and fleet composition) are needed in order to predict changes in the need to travel related to the introduction of new developments and to calculate road traffic emissions. Standard transport models, including the traffic assignment model SATURN, will be used to provide an estimate of traffic flows within the city. However, the restricted number of nodes and links represented by SATURN generally limits its modelling capacity. In order to fully represent and predict road traffic emissions across the entire road network it is necessary to represent the flows at the level of individual streets throughout the city. In order to satisfy this need the EEP model will


Fig. 4 Specimen thematic map of gas and electricity use per m2 for a sample of UWCC’s buildings in the centre of Cardiff.

incorporate ‘space syntax’ techniques [4], in addition to existing modelling techniques (Fig. 5). Space syntax analysis is a collective name for a set of computer-based modelling techniques which have been developed at University College London to represent and analyse space at all scales of the built environment, from single buildings to entire cities. These methods, which model the urban spatial structure, are able to predict pedestrian and vehicular movement in fine detail. Research in central London has shown that space syntax analysis can, in many instances, account for over 80% of the variance in pedestrian and vehicular flow rates. Indeed, the developers of the technique have argued that these methods are able to predict flows more accurately than existing transport modelling methods. The key to predicting movement using space syntax is the axial map. This is used to represent the spatial structure of the urban area and is constructed by drawing the longest and fewest lines of sight or access within an urban area. Once constructed, the initial axial map is processed in order to establish the mathematical relationship between the lines (Fig. 6). The most important spatial measure used in space syntax analysis is spatial integration. This is a measure of the spatial relationship between one line to all others in the model. It represents the degree to which each line on the axial map is present on the simplest routes (i.e. fewest changes of direction) to and from all other lines. Extensive research has shown that there is a powerful correlation between levels of integration and


Fig. 5 The methodology for modelling transport use and emissions.

both pedestrian and vehicular movement. Given this, the integration value of a line can be used to predict both pedestrian and vehicular movement. Within the current project, some development work is being carried out in order to make space syntax transport analysis complementary to, or comparable with, the other transport modelling techniques. 3.5 Road traffic emissions models A fundamental requirement of the EEP model is the need to estimate the effect of vehicle exhaust emissions on air quality. As emphasised above it is recognised that the project should align itself closely to existing procedures and established guidelines, and be flexible enough to absorb any changes to them. For this reason, the Department of Transport’s traffic emissions methodology, set out in Vol. 11 of the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges, will be incorporated within


Fig. 6 A provisional axial map of Cardiff (the original, which is in colour, gives a clearer indication of the outcomes of such analysis).

the EEP model. This procedure allows for emission assessments to be made for a selected location, across a region and to assess the impact on air quality due to new developments such as a new road scheme. It permits a three-way comparison; between current pollution levels, those expected in the future if a particular development is built and those if it is not. As described above, the initial estimation technique requires information on the characteristics of the road network, the existing and predicted traffic flows and speeds, obtained either from a traffic model or local survey, together with their associated emission rates. These are then simply ‘factored’ to produce the emissions. 3.6 Urban accessibility models In order to help identify sites for development which reinforce sustainable development objectives there is a need to appraise those sites in terms of their accessibility by various means of transport. This would require public transport accessibility tools, such as those developed by Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council (PTAL), and Croydon Borough Council and MVA Consultancy. Such tools could serve a number of different functions. They would help planners identify areas in need of improved accessibility, assist the development of investment programs to improve accessibility, help rationalise the provision of networks in relation to urban form and land use, help address social and equality aspects of sustainability and provide a robust methodology in

Fig. 7 A provisional and partial schematic for performing a regional sustainability assessment with the EEP tool.



support of Public Local Inquiries, development control and policy formulation. Space Syntax techniques are being considered as a means of classifying locations, in terms of their private and public transport accessibility. In this way land-uses, which generate high levels of movement, could be located in areas of high accessibility, which would promote the use of public transport and so help to reduce energy use and emissions. 3.7 Atmospheric dispersion models There is a need to determine the effect that pollutant emissions within the city have upon local air quality. An Atmospheric Dispersion Modelling System (ADMS) will enable environmental health officials to evaluate how point source and other local emissions effect the city when they interact with local weather and topographical conditions. The EEP model will incorporate two basic types of dispersion model. The first will provide a general analysis of air quality across the region, acting more as a ‘screening model’, indicating where a more detailed analysis might be necessary. The second model will predict in greater detail those problem areas that might require further attention. In order to satisfy these two requirements, the EEP model will incorporate ‘in house’ CFD ADMS procedures and national modelling techniques as these become fully specified. 3.8 Estate Layout Models Estate Layout Models may be incorporated within the EEP framework. These will help planners and developers make best use of a site’s micro-climate and solar energy potential to reduce building heat loss, and maximise solar displaced space heating and daylight displaced electric lighting. 4 INDICATORS Indicators are fundamental in monitoring a city’s progress towards sustainability. In terms of global impact the EEP model will use CO2 emissions as the paramount indicator in relation to its effect on global warming. In addition to energy use and emission indicators, the EEP model will consider indicators associated with quality of life. Indicators will be selected in consultation with local practitioners, some of whose ideas are contained in the Local Government Management Board design guide for sustainable settlements [5]. Other indicators, for instance those relating to public health or citizens’ attitudes towards sustainability, will be selected in accordance with specific requirements.


4.1 The regional balance sheet The results from these various analyses will, where possible, be expressed in common units and brought together into an assessment sheet for the city (subarea of the city or larger region (Fig. 7). Set against the above entries related to the city’s environmental impact will be others which either reflect the actions the city has taken to ameliorate its impact, or, express the quality of life its citizens enjoy as a result of the activities which produce that impact. These, for example, will include entries for: natural environment improvements, inhabitants’ health, educational attainment, employment, absenteeism, crime and vandalism, and journey characteristics. The final evaluation of the ‘regional balance sheet’ will be a matter for the city’s residents, officials and politicians. The tool is not intended to supplant judgement, but rather to provide information by which reasonable and defendable judgements can be reached. REFERENCES 1.

2. 3.

4. 5.

H.Barton, G.Davis and R.Guise. Sustainable Settlements: a guide for planners, designers and developers, Luton: the Local Government Management Board (LGMB) and the University of the West of England, 1995. B.R.Anderson, A.J.Clark, R.Baldwin and N.O.Millbank, BREDEM2: domestic energy model, background, philosophy and design. Garston: BRE, 1984. Energy Efficiency Office (Department of the Environment). Energy Consumption Guide 18; Energy Efficiency in Industrial Buildings and Sites. Garston: BRECSU, 1993. W.Hillier and T.Grajewski, Studley Estate Study (unpublished), London: Home Office. Sustainability Indicators Research Project, Report of Phase One, Luton: Local Government Management Board, June, 1994.

An information system to support environmental decision making and debate C.Tweed Department of Architecture, The Queen’s University of Belfast, Belfast BT9 5BY, UK

ABSTRACT Purely technical approaches to solving environmental problems are inadequate. Technical solutions, conceived in isolation from the social and cultural contexts in which they must ultimately perform, are often unworkable. Moreover, it is clear that all environmental problems have a social dimension. This paper describes preliminary work on an information system which aims to support debate among interested parties in defining strategies to promote sustainable environments. The work draws on previous research at Queen’s on an existing information system in which the recording of argumentation is a central feature. This paper argues that a similar structuring of debate will benefit environmental assessment, by integrating technical understandings with the multiple viewpoints of those interested in outcomes and will provide a record of why particular strategies were adopted. Keywords: Decision making, argumentation, information systems, environmental assessment. 1 INTRODUCTION In June 1995 the Shell oil company reversed its decision to dispose of its decommissioned drilling platform, the Brent Spar, by sinking it in the North Sea. Instead they agreed to tow the installation to a suitable port for dismantling before eventually disposing of it on land. The company had bowed to commercial pressure brought about by the boycotting of its petrol stations by environmental campaigners and their sympathisers. Reactions in the press were swift and often passionate. Almost all, regardless of their views about the outcome, criticised the lack of reasoned debate about the environmental relative merits of disposal at sea, or on land. Conveniently, this paper was nearing completion at the time and this incident presented an irresistible opportunity to highlight the need to develop information systems which will support and


encourage the explication of arguments about environmental issues. Of course, the publicity surrounding Shell’s decision and the specific characteristics of this debate are removed from more mundane discussions about small scale building developments. But despite differences in scale, they share some important characteristics. This paper therefore is about the development of an information system to support decision making and debate in the domain of environmental impact assessment, particularly as it relates to the built environment. In this context the recording and subsequent retrieval of arguments is seen as a primary means of linking technical data to strategy and policy. 2 DECISION-MAKING PROCESSES Decision-making processes are not fully understood, but it seems clear that they vary across domains, people and time. The process of deciding on a medical treatment, for example, will be different to deciding where, when or whether to construct a new road. In an attempt to elucidate the process within engineering design, Wallace and Dwarakanath have carried out ‘descriptive’ studies of decision-making processes in engineering design. They found that the argumentation occupies a central role [1]. The Brent Spar incident demonstrates that decision making about environmental issues has strong social and cultural elements. Nor is this a oneoff case. Examples of opposition directed against road building and other developments are plentiful. The result is that what were previously considered straightforward technical decisions, in which the ‘facts of the matter’ spoke for themselves, have become hopelessly entangled with broader issues of policy and value. This kind of debate is now intrinsic to making decisions about the environment because technical evidence is not sufficient alone. 2.1 Environmental assessment information Given this widening of the debate it is difficult to draw a boundary round the range of different types of information that support decision making. Even if we confine our attention to the type of material which is typically included in an environmental assessment we still find an enormous variety of information sources and types. Typically this may include reports on land use, demographics, ecology, landscape, buildings, pollution and noise [2]. It will be appreciated that practitioners from such a wide range of disciplines will choose to order and present their information in different ways: as free text, as tables, matrices, formulas, diagrams, graphs, charts, photographs and drawings. The information contained in these reports is then likely to become the target for debate and discussion in relation to other claims, facts, and policy statements.


Expert opinion may be, and increasingly is, questioned. Issues emerge that require clarification and resolution. Decision making takes on the mantle of negotiation conducted according to the norms of practical reasoning. 2.2 Practical reasoning Giving reasons to justify an assertion or a course of action is widespread in our culture. When our actions have a direct effect on others we may quite legitimately be asked to explain why we have chosen one course of action over another, or over a range of options. Reasoning is enshrined in our institutions too. Construction professionals—architects, engineers, surveyors—are legally responsible for their actions, and the effects these have on clients and the general public. In the courts, the test will be whether an individual has behaved as a ‘reasonable person’, taking account of his or her education and background. This kind of reasoning is very different to classical logic; it is the pragmatic debate of issues in concrete situations subject to the finitudes of time and money. The paradigm of practical reasoning, therefore, is jurisprudence rather than analytical logic, and so we are interested in argumentation only as it affects practical outcomes or commends one course of action over others. Argumentation—as the whole activity of identifying issues, formulating and criticising positions, making and challenging claims, reasoning, and so on—is essentially a social phenomenon conducted in a language, and according to rules, defined by our cultural traditions. It takes two to argue. It also requires a shared background of beliefs, language, and tacit agreements about the rules of the reasoning ‘game’ for any meaningful exchange between people to take place. To narrow the focus, it is assumed that the goal of reasoning is to achieve consensus. This view of reasoning is not intended to uncover the way we really think, nor to lay down a method for how we should think, but to look at ways of making our thinking explicit such that it can be scrutinised and shared amongst those who have an interest in its practical effects. To quote Toulmin: [Reasoning] is less concerned with how people think than with how they share their ideas and thoughts in situations that raise the question of whether those ideas are worth sharing [3]. Arguing in practice, therefore, is much messier than we might care to admit. Further discussion of this aspect of argumentation lies beyond the scope of this paper, but the interested reader is directed to the work of Stanley Fish [4], and a more detailed study of practical reasoning in design and other related fields by the author [5].


3 COMPUTER-BASED DECISION SUPPORT Environmental issues, even at local levels, touch so many interests that the sheer quantity of information which must now be considered demands new technologies for information storage, organisation and retrieval. We can only hope to manage this scale of information supply by developing sophisticated computer-based tools. But how much support might we reasonably expect from computers? And how ambitious should we be in setting the goals for computer based decision support in any area? These questions can best be answered by considering how much structure we can introduce to the representation of these types of information. The problem of imposing too much structure on the information users wish to represent in a system is familiar within CAD research, and has been a major preoccupation of researchers in this area for many years [6]. During the 1980s the author was engaged in research into developing a descriptive system, MOLE (Modelling Objects with Logic Expressions), which aimed to impose the least constraints on designers [7]. This experience provided some salutary lessons in how to balance flexibility and system utility. It demonstrated that, as the degree of structure was reduced to avoid overly restricting designers’ forms of expression, the computational power of the system diminished, with a corresponding transfer of the burden of programming from the system developer to the end-user. This same shift can be seen in proprietary software today. It is manifested in the degree of control which end-users now have over the operation of word-processors, spreadsheets and other relatively simple applications. In a domain which draws on so many different information sources it seems prudent to avoid over-structuring, even if it is to the detriment of functionality. With this awareness of the trade-off between flexibility and computational power we can draw up a list of possible functions for an environmental information system. Roughly in order of increasing ambition such a system should provide: 1. a central interface for accessing all explicit information used in the environmental impact analysis and policy formulation; 2. a unified conceptual representation scheme which will integrate the disparate types and sources of information; 3. flexible structures for organising and linking information; 4. tools for assisting with routine filing, editing and retrieval tasks; 5. protocols for sharing information across telecommunications networks; 6. representational formalisms for building (mathematical, functional, logic) models; 7. ‘intelligent’ retrieval and filtering of relevant information; and 8. automatic or semi-automatic processing of information.


The list is fairly straightforward (though certainly not trivial at a technical level) until we reach 7. If the word intelligent is not enough to alert us to the difficulties of this task then the word relevant should. Implicit in this statement is the notion that we could instruct a computer system to be able to decide what is relevant to a given environmental problem, even if we could describe the problem to it unambiguously. 3.1 An information system for urban civil engineering Most of these system functions are anticipated in current research to develop, or at least lay the groundwork for, computer-based tools to assist in urban civil engineering projects. This work, which has clear relation to the environment, is being undertaken by a team of researchers within the EC’s COST (Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical research) C4 Action. A tentative conceptual structure has been proposed by Dupagne to serve as a focus for debate and discussion [8]. Many of the issues emerging from Action are pertinent to the research described here [9]. 4 CROSSDOC: A GENERAL INFORMATION NETWORK PLATFORM Earlier experiences with developing CAD systems have taught us to aim lower rather than higher in our ambitions for systems. Our first priority in developing a system for environmental information is to develop a general software platform which can be easily and repeatedly configured to support whatever information structures are considered necessary within a given context. The CrossDoc system, currently under development at Queen’s University, is intended to fulfil this role. By strenuously avoiding any domain-specific features in this platform we hope to ensure its continued utility. CrossDoc draws on earlier research which resulted in an information system, PLINTH (Platform for Intelligent Hypertext), to assist in the authoring of building regulations [10]. Unfortunately, because PLINTH was developed using the POPLOG programming environment, running under Open Windows on Sun workstations, it has not been practical to distribute the final system widely nor reuse any of the program code on more commonplace hardware. It is, however, providing useful feedback on its use within the Scottish Office. Many of the ideas first pioneered in PLINTH have been incorporated in CrossDoc, including its conceptual representation scheme.


4.1 Representation scheme PLINTH uses a representation scheme which combines features of KBS (Knowledge Based Systems) and hypertext. Rada and Diaper proposed this representational paradigm, which they call ‘expertext’ [11]. The theory behind expertext begins with the observation that the underlying models for expert systems and hypertext techniques share the same origin—semantic networks — which supports a basic graph (node-and-link) structure. Though similar in graph-theoretic terms, substantial differences between the two approaches lie in their treatments of the nodes and links. Nodes in expert systems are seen as semantically impoverished because they contain a formalised representation of knowledge—reduced to its strictly logical content—whereas nodes in a hypertext system are semantically rich, because they consist largely of unconstrained natural language text. Conversely, links in an expert system are well-defined semantically—typically as the predicate names in a rule-based system—but in hypertext systems have little or no semantic content. Expertext seeks to combine these two techniques to create systems that will offer the best of both: semantically rich (hypertext) nodes connected by links with well-defined semantics. A particular architecture for expertext systems was proposed by Barlow [12], which has since been refined and labelled Headed Record Expertext (HRE) by Diaper and Beer [13]. As before the underlying formal characterisation for this scheme is the semantic net, which can be traversed automatically because all links are fully specified. Nodes consist of two parts: the text (or table, picture, or sound), and a formal representation of its semantics—the header. The HRE model was adopted as the conceptual structure for networks in CrossDoc. Every node in a CrossDoc network has a header, which contains fields that specify the type of node, the name of who created the node, dates of creation and modification, and the name of the file in which the node’s contents are stored. Each header can also be extended to incorporate user-defined fields that may be referred to in navigation rules, classification tools and search and extract queries. User-defined fields follow a slot-attribute template. Any node can contain a reference to a ‘fragment’ of a document. Fragments are created by marking up documents using the appropriate text or graphics mark-up editors provided in CrossDoc. This does not alter the document content. It does not insert any tags or control characters into the document. Instead fragments—which can be as small as a single word or as large as an entire document—are recorded as pointers to portions of the document. They can be thought of as moveable ‘windows’ on to documents. This ‘soft’ fragmentation contrasts with the ‘hard’ decomposition of documents in most hypertext systems, e.g. HyperCard, and allows fragments to overlap. Fragments, then, identify items of interest in documents.


Nodes and links in CrossDoc are not defined arbitrarily. To introduce a discipline to the formation of networks, CrossDoc uses Network Object Descriptions (NODs) to specify what types of nodes belong to a particular type of network and also what types of links are permissible between different node types. 4.2 System components and their operations CrossDoc consists of four main components: • a NOD editor for creating and modifying Network Object Descriptions; • a network browser/editor—a graphical interface to networks which consist of typed nodes and links combined according to the constraints specified in Network Object Descriptions (NODs); • a text mark-up editor—TOME (Text Object Markup Editor); • a drawing markup editor—DOME (Drawn Object Markup Editor). The three main stages in building an information network are: NOD specification, network creation, and mark-up. A NOD is defined using the builtin editor to create node and link types and the possible relations between them. Link maps determine which links can be created between which nodes. The editor also allows the user to specify the colours used to depict nodes and links on the screen. Once a NOD has been specified the user can begin to make use of it to create a network. Since the user has full access to the details of each NOD she or he is able to modify it as necessary, even after it has been used to establish a network. During mark-up the user opens texts and drawings and uses the relevant mark-up tools to pinpoint fragments of interest. Existing networks can also be marked up to create network fragments which can be referred to in other CrossDoc documents. The fragments can then be loaded into CrossDoc where they appear in the Fragment Manager’s window, with text, drawing, or network icons. Fig. 1 shows how fragments are listed in the Fragment Manager. Attaching a fragment to a node is simply a matter of dragging its icon from the manager’s window and dropping it on to the node. A limitation of the early mark-up features was that they were only able to deal with ‘pure’ ASCII text files, which ruled out using documents created by wordprocessing applications. This limitation has been overcome by using the ‘publish and subscribe’ features built in to the Macintosh interface. Publish and subscribe allows users to create ‘editions’ in any application program which supports publishing. CrossDoc ‘subscribes’ to editions which are then presented to the user as fragments. An added advantage is that the operating system keeps track of changes to each edition and tells all subscribers when they need to update their copy of it.


Fig. 1. The Fragment Manager.

CrossDoc provides comprehensive support for selecting parts of a network and then performing tasks on that selection. Selection tools and commands allow individual nodes or groups of nodes to be selected and the selection can then be enlarged, using the ‘grow selection’ command, by specified amounts. Users can create network layers, like in most drawing systems, which can be hidden or deactivated. 5 INFORMATION NETWORKS A schematic view of how CrossDoc is used is illustrated in Fig. 2. The intention is that different types of information, which may exist in different forms and are spread over different documents, can be identified and referred to in CrossDoc where they will subsequently be organised into networks of linked fragments. Networks will describe, in general, document structure, but also logical connections, functional dependencies, semantic links that are specific to a domain of application. CrossDoc provides us with a general tool for constructing node and link networks in which nodes may contain references to textual or graphical documents. In theory, and because NOD files allow end-users to change existing or create their own networks, this tool can be adapted to meet the requirements of any domain. In this paper we focus on one type of network to support debates in environmental assessment. 5.1 Argumentation structures It has previously been claimed that arguments, as they are conducted in boardrooms, law courts, planning inquiries, bear little relation to classical logic. This observation rules out detailed formal modelling of arguments. Instead this research focuses on the kind of structures which might be used simply to organise components of arguments.


Fig. 2. Integration of information.

Fig. 3 shows the IBIS (Issue Based Information System) framework developed by Kunz and Rittel [14] as a model of problem-solving within an argumentative process. They describe their goal as to support co-ordination and planning of political decision processes. The method is presented as a manual tool for identifying, structuring, and settling issues by problem-solving groups. It offers four main types of node—topic, issue, position and argument—and supports different types of links between them. IBIS centres on argumentation as a process for arriving at consensus agreement on declared issues. It is essentially a framework for recording the argumentation process between different people (stakeholders, as they are called). A topic is an unstructured problem area, in which issues are posted, normally in the form of questions, that are further differentiated as factual, deontic, explanatory, or instrumental. Positions are attached to issues via links of type responds-to, questions or suggests; arguments belong to positions through supports and objects-to links. IBIS offers a set of general containers and relations for high level representation of debated issues but lacks detailed structure for scrutinising and appraising arguments critically. On some occasions a finer grained structure may be necessary. In The Uses of Argument Toulmin describes a micro-structure for arguments which can be grafted on to IBIS [15]. Traditional forms, such as the


Fig. 3. Nodes and links in the IBIS schema.

syllogism, simplify reasoning in which ambiguities hide behind universal premises. In most everyday situations it is usually enough to state the facts which have led to a particular claim. The method of getting from facts to a claim is understood implicitly because it forms part of our cultural background. Toulmin, however, is concerned to demonstrate the benefits resulting from explicating the warrant which enables the step from facts to claim. In many cases there is no need to examine warrants. But for critical examination of arguments the warrant must be stated. He adds that the absence of a warrant indicates that the jump from facts to claim cannot be treated as rational. The barest form of argument has three basic elements: • Claim. A claim is what is asserted in an argument; it is the conclusion or outcome—the development should be permitted; no appreciable noise pollution will result; the development will lead to new local employment. • Grounds. The facts presented as evidence for the claim—field measurements show that sound levels will be within acceptable limits. Grounds can of course be the conclusions of other arguments. • Warrant. The justification for stepping from grounds to claim, often expressed as a form of deductive rule—if the dBA unit is an accurate indication of subjective sound levels then… This simple structure often leaves too many openings for ambiguity. Three further elements are needed to reveal more of the argument:


• Modality. The degree of certainty of the claim. Few claims can be made with certainty; the modality allows claims to be qualified by ‘usually’, ‘presumably’, ‘possibly’, ‘probably’. • Rebuttals. The possible limitations or exceptions which would invalidate the claim. Changes in circumstances, and contexts will often invalidate the argument. Rebuttals explicitly anticipate this happening. A claim will nearly always be restricted by exceptions to the rule. • Backing. Finally a warrant often receives its power from a wider context—its backing. The general body of evidence which authorises the warrant— statutes, regulations, science, received wisdom, etc. CrossDoc can easily be configured to provide this level of detail for argumentation, but our experiences with PLINTH suggest that this requires analytical skills which users may not have. It is one thing to develop a set of containers for arguments, and another to be able to fill them with information that is consistent with their intended usage. 6 ARGUMENTATION IN PRACTICE The CrossDoc system, configured with an argumentation NOD, has been applied to a real example of environmental debate. The example centres around a planning application for a change of use to an existing occasional motorbike racecourse to become a venue for frequent international motoring events. The example focuses only on an issue of noise pollution to illustrate the use of CrossDoc configured with the default Document NOD and an argumentation NOD. But it should be clear that the same approach can be adopted for any type of environmental issue. It should be also emphasised that the interactive nature of the system cannot easily be conveyed in the static medium of this paper. The starting point is the developer’s planning application which raises concern from inhabitants of the nearby village about increases in noise levels. Fig. 4 shows part of the information network for this early stage. The system can display on the screen relevant extracts from maps, drawings and texts as part of the network structure, as shown here. Alternatively the original documents can be opened for editing or browsing using pop-up menus on the appropriate nodes. These documents are not necessarily opened for editing by CrossDoc which launches the computer applications which created the documents. This is a feature of the publish and subscribe mechanism described earlier. The figure also shows that the Planning authority have requested from the developer evidence which demonstrates that noise levels in the village will not exceed current levels. Limitations on space prevent a display of the entire network here. However, the developer’s position is linked to further nodes which contain fragments of the EIA report that support the developer’s claim. The acoustic consultant provides a set of written conclusions illustrated by plots of


Fig. 4. Establishing the location and content of an issue.

actual measurements of noise levels in the village. These are all accessible in the computer-based network. It is impossible to demonstrate the ease by which nodes, display nodes and links can be created, assigned to different layers, selected, and made visible or invisible. A user can easily alter the amount and content of information displayed on the screen in order to trace the lines of specific arguments. A third type of NOD, not shown here, provides a node type to represent the various stakeholders. Nodes of this type may be linked to meetings, and decisions as well as to the Document and Argument NODs. This makes it possible, for example, to choose a particular decision and, using the ‘select connected’ command, quickly identify everyone involved in (linked to) that decision. As this example suggests, the primary application of CrossDoc in environmental assessment will be to construct decision journals which record the views of everyone involved in reaching a decision. CrossDoc offers a ‘meeting place’ for all the bits of information that lie behind a particular decision. Provided the political will is there, this should lead to greater debate between interested parties.


7 ARGUMENTS ABOUT ARGUMENTS The idea of a decision journal seems attractive because it should lay the reasons behind specific decisions open to scrutiny by whoever has access to it: those who are currently engaged in the debate and those who may later want to examine the justification for specific proposals or developments. The idea of maintaining a decision journal is not new. The recording of argumentation in some areas has been tried elsewhere; in architectural design, for example [16]. Fischer describes research in which IBIS has been used to record design decisions by architecture students, in designing a kitchen layout. These experiments, which were conducted with individual students working on their own, have pointed out one of the main problems with this approach. In the early stages of the design students duly filled out IBIS structures, but as the design developed and the designers were caught up in the momentum of the design as it evolved on paper they found the burden of recording their reasoning too distracting as it diverted them from the task in hand—designing. This finding is intuitively agreeable, and accords with the results of the ‘descriptive studies’ by Wallace and Dwarakanath at Cambridge. Both sets of experiments were conducted in laboratory settings, and perhaps this suggests that results might differ in practice. Architectural design, at least as it is taught in many schools of architecture, is a lonely activity. Student projects tend to emphasise the solitary aspects of design, with its concomitant imagery of the tortured designer creating something from nothing. In practice it is rarely that simple. Designers are restrained by other members of the design team, their clients and contractors. Decisions need to be justified to a much wider audience than in a college environment. It is the need for justification both at the professional and legal levels that suggests that the investment of recording debate might become profitable. Accountability is the key difference between laboratory experiments and their practice-oriented counterparts. The interruptions to designing, created by interactions between different members of the design team, could provide the necessary stimulus to reflect and record decisions. Begeman and Conklin, the authors of gIBIS, describe difficulties they have experienced in developing and using their system [17]. They note that: • There are no specific nodes for recording goals or requirements. • There is no particular support for making a decision (or reaching a consensus) among the various positions attached to an issue, and no way to indicate that such a decision has been made. • There is no way to refer to design elements—argumentation was not integrated with the design activity. • The hypertext approach resulted in fragmented texts which, having lost their context, were difficult to understand.


• There is no provision for meta-level argumentation—in their experience they found that arguments often ‘go meta’ when users disagree about the use of the IBIS nodes. • Networks of arguments become hopelessly complex because there is no way to assign importance to nodes and links. However, even with these shortcomings, they conclude that their implementation has been used more successfully than any other and recommend its development as the basis for future design projects. CrossDoc has addressed these issues: by allowing users to modify the types of nodes and links available to them; by providing mechanisms to include drawings, maps, photographs and text to be linked to networks; and by using a ‘soft’ fragmentation scheme which allows fragments to be viewed in their original contexts. 8 CONCLUSIONS AND FURTHER WORK This paper has argued that there is a need to adopt a holistic approach to dealing with environmental assessments, because of their increasing complexity and because of demands for greater accountability. Issues surrounding the development of computer-based systems to assist with environmental assessment have been identified. The paper has described work in progress on an information system for supporting decision making in the domain of environmental sustainability, principally through the recording of argumentation. Argumentation structures have been reviewed and illustrated with examples of how they have been applied to actual cases, and the problems with this approach have been discussed. The immediate research tasks will be: first, to develop CrossDoc to a sufficiently robust state that it can be safely distributed to organisations; second, to devise methods for reducing the burden of recording argumentation whilst engaged in a task; and finally, to carry out field trials of recording arguments within organisations. Longer term goals will need to address problems of exchanging information between multiple copies of CrossDoc across telecommunications lines. For the moment, however, it is the conceptual issues which pose the greatest challenges. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The author wishes to thank and acknowledge Dr Pat Braniff of Braniff Associates for his help and advice, and for providing case material. REFERENCES 1.

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Self-sustainable urban development L.Fusco Girard Dipartimento di Conservazione dei Beni Architettoconici e Ambientali, Università di Napoli “Federico II”, Naples, Italy

Keywords: Urban system, complexity, sustainability, autopoiesis, complex value.



1 THE THREE FACTORS OF CRISIS OF URBAN SYSTEM Cities are the important, unsolved issue of our society, the cross point of all contradictions of the modern world. They are the areas where the interdependences among different components are maximized, where each part is linked to the whole through a systemic organization. In cities change is faster and diversity achieves its pinnacle, and, therefore, the pluralistic composition of our society is highlighted. Cities are the place where the conflicts due to different interests, life styles, cultures and values are at their maximum. In addition, the production of information, new technologies and welfare is maximised. However, it is inside its boundaries that emargination, unemployment and poverty are concentrated. The abundance and the under-utilization of human resources and the over-utilization/scarcity of environmental and natural capital meet in the big urban and metropolitan areas. It is in cities that the consumption of non-renewable energy is about 100 times higher than in natural ecosystems. The consumption of non-renewable energy is higher, largely because of the transport sector. This is linked to the infrastructural network design and, therefore not only to the urban (compact, spread over, linear, etc.) texture and to the productive system of goods and services, but also to the settlement system. However, this implies that the high level of pollution, the concentration of waste and the increase in temperature, together with an overconsumption of soil, make the normal life cycles harder, especially when there is a low level of energy efficiency. Energy sustains all human activities, but at the same time, it may destroy the environmental resources which support cities. Ambiente Italia [1] shows that a city of one million inhabitants may take from the environment 11,500 tons of fuel, 320,000 tons of water and 2,000 tons of


food, producing 1,500 tons of air pollution, 300,000 tons of polluted water and 1, 600 tons of solid waste. This can be considered as the first factor of crisis which interacts with the second factor, namely the polarity richness/poorness. The present rates of unemployment show that the social emargination is mainly an urban phenomenon, which becomes worse and worse because very often the benefits of the urban economic development still favour those who have already been involved in economic activities. Therefore, the problem of finding a job for those who are unemployed—in other words of getting rid of the gap between opulence and extreme poverty—and the energy issue, which brings environmental degradation, are interconnected. These two problems belong to a self-generating circuit, in the sense that the former contributes to the existence of the latter. As a result, the fragmentation and the conflict become more and more intense, namely, along different social groups, this generation and the future one, between this generation and the natural system. The third factor of crisis is that traditional urban scale economies often result in diseconomies, without any possibility for the city to “incubate” new activities. Therefore, the environmental, production and social subsystems stress the contrasts and the growing conflicts in a perspective of involution rather than of synergic evolution or co-evolution. 2 THE SUSTAINABILITY OF THE CITY AS SELFSUSTAINABILITY 2.1 Self-sustainability and the processes of autopoiesis The city must be considered as the starting point in order to promote a “good life” for everybody, even for those who live out of the economic processes, and for future generations. Therefore one must “fight” [2] against urban poverty, bring nature back into the city, in order to establish an equilibrium between nature and artificial systems, to achieve efficiency in the urban system organization, taking into account its complexity, and to improve the cultural and human resources heritage. A “sustainable urban development” may be illustrated as the “good city” to compare with the urban crisis, in order to promote a “good society in which to live” [3]. However, sustainable urban development must not be considered as a given, final status of the city, but as an evolutionary process composed of dynamic equilibria. These equilibria can be upset by external events with the consequence of a change in the urban system which reproduces itself in another form,


thanks to its ability of self-organization [4]. In other words, from this point of view the importance of the concept of self-sustainability becomes critical [5]. The way in which this concept refers to the ecological, economic and social dimensions is illustrated in the next section. “Change” is a keyword of sustainable development. Namely, it refers more to the dynamic aspect of sustainable development than to the static one. Multiplicity/plurality is another keyword in the definition of sustainable development, which implies that all differences in cultures, values and interests must be considered as a source of mutual enrichment and not of conflict. “Continuity” is another important keyword. The concept of sustainability is borrowed from the dynamics of ecosystems, and it refers to their ability to adapt and re-adapt themselves to changes. Moreover, homeostasis is the ability of a subject to remain itself, keeping its identity despite all changes. Namely, this may be achieved thanks to the selforganization/self-regulation ability of the subject. This may be considered the key element of sustainable development, that element which is able to recreate equilibria starting from the unbalancing forces. These latter are the external pressures and the multiplicity of the internal components of the system, which are sources of conflict. That is the element that creates a new order, a new organization and that avoids disorder, involution and chaos. The acknowledgement of the multiplicity and plurality of the several components of the urban system implies the acknowledgement of the existence of many interests, needs, values which are mutually competitive. However, this competition becomes a stimulus for innovation, creativity and ideation: it is the richness of the system. In other words, it is possible to attach a value to these differences, because they are a source of interaction and mutual exchange (which would not exist in the case of homogeneity), and therefore of innovation and systemic evolution. However, the condition for this to happen is the existence of a principle able to summarize, to transform heterogeneity, to pass from an increasing multiplicity to integration, from unbalance to a new equilibrium. Namely, this principle is linked to the ability of self-regulation and self-organization. This ability of self-regulation which depends on many factors is recognizable in the concept of autopoiesis [6]. The concept of autopoiesis, which was first used by Maturana (and then by Varela) [7] in biology, expresses the ability of a system to keep constant its organization over time, through the continuous reproduction of its components. The main characteristic of a live system is to keep its identity, its own physiognomy, its specificity, its distinctive characters and its autonomy over time, despite the frequent substitutions and the external pressures to change. For instance, a cell keeps itself alive by producing a very large number of different components, like enzymes and proteins. In other words, it reproduces for itself and then it acts in its “own” interest [8].


In the meantime, the cell acts compatibly with the life of the whole system and produces not only for its own interest, but also for the cells belonging to other systems. Namely, it moves by interest and “sympathy” sensu Adam Smith [9]. This means that the cell respects certain organization rules in order to make its behaviour compatible with the one of the whole organism. Thus, the specificity and the vitality of each component, as well as the vitality of the whole system, is guaranteed. In fact, the several components interact following a rule which can determine the way they are linked together and reproduce themselves once destroyed [10]. Nonetheless, a good communication system among the components is essential for this purpose. The production, as well as the self-reproduction of information and knowledge, allows the system to hold stable relationships even during change. Luhmann [11] has transferred the concept of autopoiesis from biological systems to the social one. Particularly, he highlighted how the “unity of complexity”—i.e. the systemic unit of the social system—depends on its ability of autopoiesis. Moreover, the risk that the increase in independence of every part with respect to the whole may bring a “hypercomplexity”, which can make the communication among the different parts more and more difficult, must be taken carefully into account. This may result in risks for the system itself due to the difficulty of co-ordination. In fact, this problem may lead to an emphasis on the partial unbalances and then to a crisis from hypercomplexity. Could the above be applied even to the city? The application of the autopoietic principle to the urban reality implies an approach to the city as a complex system, which is divided into different (economic, social, institutional, natural) subsystems. Each of these subsystems is characterized by a degree of multiplicity and, at the same time, by an (unstable, temporary) unity of its own and a capability of adaptation and self-reproduction. First of all, the characteristics of the urban system as a complex system must be analysed. The city is a system in which every component is part of a co-evolutionary process which can be turbulent and chaotic. Each one of these components interacts with the others at different levels of hierarchy. Characteristic of this system is the autonomy/freedom of each component, which can react to the same stimulus in a different way, related to its education. Each component can also modify its behaviour, taking rational and non-rational decisions alternately. Unlike eco-biologic systems where self-organization processes tend mainly to survival, urban systems are characterized by aware and conscious subjects, and then by the freedom to achieve a plurality of ends beyond that of mere survival [12]. This leads to a fragmentation but also to the possibility that coalition strategies will be identified in order to build different kind of hegemony [13]. This complex urban system is characterized by a pluralistic structure which acknowledges the autonomy of each component in taking its decisions.


However, this autonomy should not reflect an atomistic conception, as contemporary presence of individual entities. On the contrary, it should be able to interact with the other autonomies. In other words, it must follow some rules that express the goodness of the system as a whole. There is not an autonomy in itself, an autonomy that does not take into account the “others”. This means an autonomy that maximizes not only its “goodness”, but also the goodness of all the other components of the system. This is the paradox of self-organization: on one hand, the need to maximize its own interest is acknowledged; on the other hand, there is the necessity for a cooperative relationship with all the other subjects, able to make the different components co-evolve all together [14]. In order to achieve these co-operative behaviours, every component of the system must recognize and adopt the same common rules of organization and behaviour. Thus, every component must feel a sense of identity, and of belonging to the whole. Moreover, every subject of the system should be independent of the others, but at the same time it has to be able to interact with the others. There are two main points: each component renews and transforms itself, though innovations, ideations, creativity in its management. This is possible if it is able to reproduce its knowledge, information and learning wealth. This means that there is a basic interdependent relationship among all the components of the system, which results in co-operation and competitiveness among the components. These relationships based on a principle of interdependence (and not of dependence) determine either the co-operation or the competitiveness among the components, i.e. to establish the level of possible conflicts. A system capable of self-control can solve the conflicts—caused by its pluralistic form and autonomies—without pushing them out of its boundaries. Namely, it is able to compose the conflicts internally [15]. In other words, it is a system able to pass from conflicts to the resolution of them, to co-operation, and to integration. However, it is essential that each subject is involved in the process of participation in order to realize a real, rather than a formal, democracy. This process will be characterized by agreement on the rules that reflect common interest [16]. The self-sustainability of a complex system, specifically the environmental/ urban system, is warranted by its ability for self-organization and depends on the communication among its different components. An environmental and urban system becomes sustainable when it does not waste the environmental and natural resources and energy. This is a necessary condition, but alone it is not enough. The most important characteristic is that the system is able to control itself internally, because only doing so will it be really vital, resilient, flexible, and open to all possibilities of integration [17]. Urban sustainability—available resources’ sustainability and preservation of the environmental and natural resources from negative effects of the development


(i.e. not linked only with energy and environmental resources’ consumption) — raises an essential issue: social sustainability, or better social selfsustainability. In fact, the concept of self-sustainability is strictly connected to the social dimension, namely to the sort of relationships that exist among the different components, whether or not there is a predominance of horizontal communication (interdependence) processes over the vertical (dependence) ones. Moreover, the concept of self-sustainability is also linked to democratic participation, and to co-operation and consensus. Prigogine states that it is the communication among systems which provides the energy requested to achieve new stages of organization and to avoid chaos [18]. As a result, there are some implications with respect to the programming, the management and the implementation of urban development. If the above is true, the result is that sustainable urban development must be thought of as taking into account the resources’ conservation (ecological sustainability), the social dimension (self-sustainability), and the economic dimension. 2.2 Ecological sustainability and urban organization Firstly, the sustainable development of cities is not only referred to the urban space, but also to a broader environmental contest. In fact, the city lives, exchanges and interacts with the whole metropolitan system. Therefore, one cannot speak only about sustainability, but mainly about environmental/ metropolitan sustainability (or self-sustainability). Economic thinking has often highlighted how the development of the cities occurred by injuring the environmental system, which supports the city with its natural agricultural products. Cantillon [19] investigated the imbalance between city and countryside, as well as between capital and minor cities, in terms of commercial balance. Quesnay [20] stated that cities expand at the expense of the countryside, creaming off its human and monetary resources. The first localization models of all the activities around the cities, e.g. the Steuart’s one [21] which alternated several concentric areas devolved to different uses, may be interpreted as the attempts to find solutions to the dichotomy citycountryside in order to reach a more sustainable system. The city heads into decline if it fails to have a countryside wide enough to support all the main necessities, to provide raw materials like metals, water, supply stuff and energy [22]. Moreover, if the environment is beyond its carrying capacity, the city heads into decline as well. The city needs the environment as “ecological support” [23], in order to keep its organization, its vital processes, its feedback processes, its capacity for autopoietic exchange. As a result, the physical environment provides some main


regulatory functions, which can be listed as follows: (1) the regulation of the water cycle; (2) the regulation of the chemical composition of the atmosphere (oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen) in the correct combinations; (3) the cycle of chlorophyll photosynthesis; (4) the regulation of microclimate; (5) the control of humidity; (6) the regulation of the biomass; (7) the regulation of solar energy and of the production of biomass; (8) the waste management; (9) the control of chemical composition of water; (10) the control of biodiversity; (11) the regulation of the carbon cycle; (12) the regulation of the cycle of hydrogen. All the functions listed above, are those which express the self-control capacity of the eco-biological system. They express an intrinsic aim of the ecological system, that is the direction for its development. In other words, these functions express the autopoietic character of the ecobiological system, which guarantees the permanence of the system itself through self-reproduction and self-organization. This eco-biological system, like all autopoietic systems, has the capacity to provide services also to other subjects, namely the human beings: (1) energy extraction; (2) cultivation; (3) achievement of the built environment; (4) free time fruition; (5) chemical industry production; (6) protection against flood/ natural calamities. The eco-biological system has an autopoietic and eteropoietic capacity at the same time. In fact, it supports its own life processes, being at the same time the support of the other subjects’ lives. As it has been argued, the urban system is characterized by a very high level of non-renewable energy. Thus in order to be “self-sustainable”, it should guarantee to the eco-biological system the properties of homeostasis, resilience, and stability. In other words, the urban system should guarantee all its autopoietic functions: all its life cycles, its self-reproduction capacity. Only in this way would it be able to provide the city with energy and materials, and in the meantime it would be able to absorb also waste, pollution and heat. Energy “supports” the urban activity. According to Prigogine, a system which is far from the equilibrium, receiving energy from outside, may find the conditions to reorganize itself in a new complex asset [24]. However, at the same time, energy depletes the environmental resources, because of the waste of production and consumption. Therefore, energy achieves a strategic role between economic development and conservation of the environment. Thus, it is possible to highlight the interdependancies among urban assets (compact, spread, linear, etc.), uses of the soil and energy consumption. Namely, a certain urban asset might require heating etc., and therefore determines environmental costs. Conditions of ecological-environmental self-sustainability depend on what kind of plan is implemented, as well as on improvement in the management of waste, of urban transport, of public urban heritage, on a more efficient use of energy and on use of renewable sources of energy.


Actually through urban planning it is possible to determine the relationship between the natural and built environment and it is possible to preserve environmental resources, and to promote the use of renewable energy. 2.3 Social sustainability This sustainability (or better, this self-sustainability) is really important for the vitality of an urban system. It is linked to the requirement that the great multiplicity, plurality, differentiation (which may become fragmentation) and heterogeneity of culture, interests etc. should not build “invisible walls” and unmanageable conflicts but should see itself as part of a unique whole—i.e. should recognise that the welfare of the individual in the community is linked to the welfare of the system itself. It is from such an awareness of interdependency that co-operative exchanges, participation and so, consensus and solidarity emerge. Social sustainability depends on the ability for active communication which, in its turn, generates co-operative and self-organizational process. Communicative interactions among the various components guarantee constancy of systemic relationships, even in a changing process. The notion of “community” [25] is the complementary principle to plurality/ multiplicity/diversity which, more and more, characterizes a city’s reality and introduces integration into the hypercomplexity due to fragmentation and pluralistic order. A city can have a sustainable development only if it is able to self-organize towards external pressures, changes and its own internal hypercomplexity which always determines increasing risks for its dynamic, unsteady balance etc. It depends on a more general perspective which can be defined as the ethic dimension. A sustainable development of the city can be reached only when each social component behaves, chooses and reacts not only in relation to its own specific purposes/criteria, but also with those of the other components. Therefore the self-sustainability perspective introduces the necessity for coordination, for co-evolution, and co-operation. This is explicit in respect of the same fundamental behaviour rules. This co-operation requires an active communication process. The real energy which makes the system autopoietic is knowledgeable communication. An urban community’s components will never manage to promote a sustainable development while they remain subjects, split into many groups or subgroups, unable to realize a communicative, dialogic, co-operative relationship, and unable to overcome their own point of view being centred on their own interests [26]. Co-operation/consensus is possible when different components’ behaviour/ choice criteria are not only identified with efficiency/productivity but with larger


and longer term criteria, including common values such as solidarity, social justice, environmental quality, etc. On one side, therefore, we need to create new organizations able to improve existing ones in light of external pressures and suitable for the introduction of innovation. On the other side, solidarity becomes the principal element for sustainable development. This means that new values should be introduced. Solidarity (not only towards nature but towards future generations and other non-human subjects too) is the value on which the urban system’s selforganization ability is based, because it allows the principle of systemic integration to be realized, finding unity in growing social hypersegmentation. This principle balances the plurality/multiplicity one. It is the substantial element for the promotion of a self-regulatory asset, suitable to make the most of the part, within the context of the whole, and in a context of common interest. A city which expresses solidarity, which recognizes plurality of values/ cultures/interests and respects environmental integrity is a self-sustainable one— i.e. a vitality, capable of self-control and self-management. In this kind of city a systemic working, in which each part (somehow) takes into account the other components, the interdependent relations which link each part to the whole, is realized. This involves interrelations among parts i.e. a capability to react to information in time, i.e. to evaluate. Acting and interacting in relation to the information flow are substantial elements of urban self-sustainability. Therefore either the activation of suitable communication channels or the realization of organizational assets able to promote a dialog between the various parts and the different components and institutions are basic requirements. A city able to promote a sustainable development is a city whose community is able to choose the goals and instruments of its own development, through communication, participation and constant comparison with the public explanation of good reasons. It is a city that has an “integrating principle” within itself with respect to the pluralistic principle. A city that can activate an autopoietic organization, developing the value of solidarity. This latter is the value able to warrant systemic integration, through the equilibrium of urban social hypersegmentation and producing unitariness in multiplicity. This is the main element in the promotion of a self-regulating system able to valorize one part but in the framework of the whole and of the common interest. A sustainable city, i.e. a vital city, that is able to self-regulate, self-organize, self-manage, depends on the individuals’ education in achieving their own interest and at the same time, taking into account the common interest. The city in which the behaviour of people is the one proposed by the paradigm of “homo economicus” is not a self-sustainable one.


In other words, assuming the notion of the autopoietic process, we can say that a city is self-sustainable if its components behave as “citizens” and not only as “consumers”, i.e. individuals who cannot go beyond their own interest [27]. 2.4 Economic sustainability Up to now, the issue of sustainability has been considered as an issue concerning the conditions of preservation/management/use of the system of environmental/ natural resources—which are mostly public—and as an issue of social sustainability. It is necessary now to put the issue of sustainability in even more specific terms: how is it possible to make sustainable an economic system that is not, on the whole, sustainable? How is it possible to make an economic urban system able to sustain itself, i.e. self-sustainable? Both natural and built environments interact with the system of public institutions, with the social system as well as with the system of enterprises. These are the four interdependent subsystems from which results the urban selfsustainability. The productive system of enterprises is not—in general—self-sustainable. It is supported by natural/environmental resources. The issue of sustainability has been tackled as an issue concerning essentially the fourth “layer” (natural economy), and which consists of the good management of resources. These resources are a common good that should not be damaged, and over-utilized. The productive system draws out of the environmental system the resources it needs (often at zero price) and discharges the waste products into it. The imbalance is clear and it cannot exceed certain maximum capacity thresholds. But natural resources absorb pollution and recycle waste. The natural system, in fact, is able to sustain the other three above systems because it is a self-sustainable system. Whenever it loses that self-sustainability, it also loses the ability to make up for the unsustainability of the other above systems. This exclusively ecological view of sustainability does not fully grasp the systemic aspect. Therefore we talk of social sustainability. Social economy too— together with the economy of nature—supports public and private economies. Thus, the economic sustainability has to be stressed. It concerns specifically the productive system of enterprises, whose relationships are regulated by a more or less free market. Economic sustainability should aim to achieve the maximum efficiency without compromising the natural/ecological capital, because this one is the (local, regional, national) community heritage. The actual sustainability cannot arise from an “external” condition to the first field, i.e. from the intervention of an outer subject who acts “from the outside” to make sustainable what is not sustainable in itself [28].


The system of private economy is often “sustained” by the effort of the public system, and for this reason it has to become sustainable. But also the industrial private system itself has to become “self-sustainable”. Only in this way will the “efforts” of the public system be successfully effective in time. Otherwise, we may only limit (partially!) the damages of the private sector. A system, which itself is not sustainable wears itself out as well as the context in which it works. Self-sustainable systems are the autopoietic ones. This concerns the enterprise sector, too [29]. The requirements of sustainable development cannot be fulfilled by transferring them to the public sector. In fact, this last one with its institutions, investments, goods and services, often “supports” the private sector, producing a dependent and non-vital economy. It is necessary that the private sector, in its turn, becomes sustainable or—even better—self-sustainable and does not relieve its unbalancing effects on the other systems. To do so, the system of private economy should organize itself in the city in a different way from that of today: it should reduce wastes and deterioration, produce innovation, substitute cyclic processes for the linear ones, recycle resources, and use mainly natural energy [30]. The sustainable enterprise is not the enterprise which “gets” goods and services, areas, capitals, etc. from the public sector and that—for instance—can reduce the energy consumption (for transportation, communication, etc.) or that minimizes the pollution discharging, only because it is “controlled” by the public institutions. And it is not even an enterprise continuously “assisted” by public economic contributions and transfers. This enterprise “depends” for its sustainability on “external” subjects, and as the latter reduce their action the enterprise will be again not self-sufficient. To warrant sustainable development needs a change in the functional organization of enterprises. It is necessary to underline the insufficiency of an approach to sustainable development only in macroeconomic terms. A change at a microeconomic level is required. The self-sustainable enterprise is the one that succeeds in incorporating these elements and is able to be competitive in the market, continuously producing innovation, not only for its maintenance but also for its evolution in the market. It is the enterprise that allows the communication among its components at all levels, and then the capability of mutual co-ordination. It is the enterprise where the choices are made taking into account a number of objectives, not only with respect to the traditional functions of maximizing profits. It is the enterprise that has a decentralized organization in order to meet the new market dynamics, which require maximum flexibility. It is the enterprise that takes on the centrality of the resource represented by knowledge. In other words, it is the enterprise that constantly plans its organizational order to integrate the different criteria/objectives [31].


It is, therefore, the enterprise that succeeds in achieving all the objectives, both those of efficiency and those of ecological preservation and social quality. In fact, it constantly changes its organizational order through its investment in knowledge and innovation. It also chooses new arrangements that enable it to get closer to the “ideal configuration” that makes trade-off superfluous [32]. In the light of these considerations, the sustainable enterprise is the one that has resorted to integration between environmental preservation and the financial accounts, for instance through the drawing up of ecological budgets and budgets of values. A business rationality is necessary in which environmental and social values manage to orientate choices, becoming actually “operational”. Both specific and general interests should be present in enterprise choices, making particular interests live together with the general one. Enterprise has always considered the environment, social security and health as something “external”, something to leave to urban-metropolitan public institutions. This has set enterprise apart from its social and ecological environment. Enterprise did not feel responsible for objectives/strategies/general interests that were beyond the financial efficiency. Sustainable enterprise is the one that manages to go from the separation of efficiency and equity to integration [33]. Particularly, it is enterprise that goes from the division of production and consumption to the integration of production/ consumption; from the rigid work division to rotation (of roles and functions); from management based on leadership to self-organizing capability; from hierarchical order to a polycentric network. 3 THE IMPLICATIONS OF URBAN SUSTAINABILITY AS SELF-SUSTAINABILITY: INVESTING IN HUMAN RESOURCES The implications of the approach to sustainability as self-sustainability are multiple. First of all, this means that sustainability can be realized in a city only if human resources are promoted, that is those resources that have the maximum intrinsic value. Education, communication, knowledge, culture are the resources able to warrant self-regulation and self-reproduction in spite of external disorders and pressures. Above all, self-sustainability depends on the abilities of individuals, on their ideational co-ordination, and reactive capability to cope with the actual problems. The real hero of sustainable development is the citizen, with his culture, knowledge and values. The more the individuals forming the urban community are not only producers or consumers of goods and services, the more a sustainable development is possible. This means that individuals should be moved not only by the category


of interest, but be able to waive consideration of their own interests and feel “sympathy” in a Smithian sense (i.e. taking into account the general interest). Thus individuals should feel “citizens” [34]. Culture is the means through which the transformation of the consumer/ producer into citizen occurs. Culture is always the tool through which human communication takes place. The interactions network among all the components is defined/oriented by culture in its multiple dimensions: immaterial ones (values, ideas), social ones (behavioural rules, interpersonal relationships), material ones (arts, cultural heritage, etc.) [35]. The unceasingly self-renewed culture/knowledge is the vital and creative linking element of the urban system’s various components, i.e. individuals, firms, families, institutions. Education determines the behaviour of individuals toward environment and nature, therefore it is culture that directs the interaction and systemic co-evolution processes. This urban self-organizing process has to be promoted by improving public institution work, so that people’s needs, wants, interests can be taken into account through organizational strategies able to allow a form of participation and decentralization. The preservation of ecological vitality is not enough: human vitality of the urban system has to be promoted, and the critical point is the cultural dimension. An individual oriented culture leads to non-sustainable life styles, and conflicts with any new pattern of solitary development and actual democracy [36]. A culture that recognizes dual utility—i.e. the I and the We together—must be spread. Society is not the sum of many independent entities, but it is the whole of the systemic relationships of every component, each one interrelated with the others, each one co-evolving. This can happen because the relationships are mutual and are not only market-oriented exchanges. The new cultural paradigm is less anthropocentric and more eco-biocosmocentric. It emphasizes the importance of interdependencies rather than of single parts, and it is consistent with a holistic view in which freedom and equality can meet. The awareness of the whole, that is of being part of a community, is essential to sustain development. If this awareness does not exist a growing difference between individual choices and common interest can occur [37]. This distance produces a non-sustainable structure. 4 THE IMPLICATIONS OF URBAN SUSTAINABILITY AS SELF-SUSTAINABILITY: TOWARDS A THEORY OF URBAN ORGANIZATION The approach to sustainability as self-sustainability, which is the autopoietic approach to urban development, implies also a theory of the organization of cities and, then, of institutions that should promote ways of acting and choices


compatible with Sustainable Development. There is a relationship between autopoietic development processes and decentralized institutions. Decentralized assets warrant a better organizational flexibility and democratic participation and, then, a better citizens’ capability of self-government, leading to a better control of common decisions. This asset is the most consistent with the Maastricht subsidiary principle that suggests that public institutions have to be as close as possible to the citizen, in order to better understand his/her needs, values, wants. This principle minimizes distances between citizens and public institutions. Public hearings, investigations, petitions, referendums, evaluations, monitoring, etc. are easier at district level. A decentralized asset, for instance, allows for continuous revision of the urban plan, identifying any new objectives and organizational strategies in view of the achieved results. This intends to strengthen urban district communities, so that they become the new poles of the urban network. Each of these new “poles” should be characterized by a capability of integration/communication/competition/co-operation with the other poles. It adapts itself under the pressures of change in a co-evolutionary process similar to that of complex biological systems. Clearly, the above implies a continuous informative process among the various network components, i.e. a flow of knowledge, evaluations, information. A strongly hierarchical power restrains “horizontal” communication processes. But a decentralized network organization should provide also for a centralized public institution (e.g. metropolitan city) able to warrant coordination in the event of incompatibility/conflict. More generally, decentralized assets warrant those “good institutions” able to control interests and to favour the democratic game, without which the Sustainable Development is not actually feasible. The physical/spatial consequence of the above means realizing network strategies which link cities and a city’s “parts” in a systemic network. The critical role of the transportation sector is clear. It is important to link in a multipolar network the different elements of the urban system. This kind of network articulation allows a decentralized urban asset which is more suitable and then more able to maintain the urban organism’s vitality. Particularly, these decentralized institutions should play the role of “third part” guarantor of the respect and implementation of rules: without this control there is no reciprocity and, then co-operative behaviour. 5 THE IMPLICATIONS OF URBAN SUSTAIN ABILITY AS SELF-SUSTAINABILITY: A VALUE AND EVALUATION THEORY The autopoietic approach to urban development implies also a value theory and an evaluation theory.


A value theory allows us to identify which goods are relevant, have a “value” and why. The value theory supplied by economics focuses on a consumer’s sovereignty (i.e. on what is useful to satisfy consumer’s needs) and on producer (i.e on production costs and on profit): it is a value theory of “here and now”. The actual urban/metropolitan condition and its lack of balance show the limits of this value theory supplied by traditional economics, which is myopic in the medium-long term, as well as indifferent to the future generations’ demand and to the social/communicative dimension of each individual. This latter is thought of as “separated” from the others, by an atomistic view which considers society as the sum of individuals whose relationships are those determined by market-oriented exchanges. In doing so, it ignores richard reciprocity relationships. A more general value theory able to encompass the social dimension and the psychological, biological, spiritual needs of the human being is needed. A value theory that takes care not only of short term interests/utilities but that opens itself to an ecological perspective, that is a long term perspective. The autopoietic approach to urban sustainability as self-sustainability implies a notion of value that matches intrinsic value, i.e. non-use value, with use value. A bio-ecological system has a “value”. This value is its own aim, represented by self-reproduction and self-organization, processes of self-organization/control (solar energy control, air composition control, biomass production, etc.) which express an intrinsic value—a non-use value on behalf of the human being. But an autopoietic system has also another aim: that of providing goods and services, which support life in its different forms, to other subjects. This heteropoietic aspect is connected with the use value. The autopoietic capabilities of an eco-biological system show the ecological value of an asset, i.e. an intrinsic value or non-use value: existence value. The heteropoietic capabilities are connected with the use values. In this perspective, the natural factor, the earth is not matter or space, but it is the element that provides all the living communities of the eco-biological system with vital energy [38], in a loop that can self-organize itself if it is not troubled by external actions. Earth is not only a “resource” because it satisfies human needs, but also because it satisfies the needs of other living organisms that actually “pre-exist” man. Therefore, it has an “intrinsic” value (which is unconnected from any use) which is independent from man and which depends on its autopoietic potential. Moreover, it has an instrumental value for the human being. But this value connected with use is not unique because it is simultaneously perceived in different ways by different kinds of subjects: direct, indirect, potential and future users. This requires us to acknowledge that the phenomenon of value did not arise only from the external “relationships” of the human subject. It is not something


only subjective, connected with the relationship man/nature or subject/object. But it is also something that exists independently of the human being’s utility, i.e. of his/her aims or intentions. The instrumental (or economic or monetary) value of nature is given by the fact that it produces services for the tourist sector, the forest sector, the recreational sector, the food industry, the fishing activity, the chemical industry, etc. The non-monetary, non-instrumental value of nature is given by the fact that it warrants clean air and drinkable water, the possibility of temperature control, and the preservation of every living species in their respective ecological niches, by means of its autopoietic processes. For example, let us consider a wood. The use value is that perceived by the subjects who get wood or other food products or use it in their leisure time, etc. The ecological value independent of use is that of the wood’s contribution to reducing pollution, to maintain microclimate, to maintain flora and fauna habitat (biodiversity), to the preservation of living species, to avoid soil erosion, etc. In the case of cultural-architectural-monumental assets it is possible to recognize a use value, that is an instrumental value for various kinds of subjects (direct, potential users). But apart from these use values it is also possible to acknowledge a specific value that makes itself plain through the perception that destruction of a cultural asset implies a “loss” of something independent of any instrumental use, something not reproducible. From this impossibility of reproducing—connected with non-replaceability and with authenticity and uniqueness (specific characters of artistic production)—a value assimilable to a non-use value arises. Monumental sites, cities’ historic centres express the identity of a community, its specificities, its memory, its genetic heritage. They are the tool by which every generation communicates with the others. Moreover the autopoietic systemic behaviour demonstrates the ability to take into account even the interests of other subjects, that is the common interest of the system and its degrees of compatibility. The above requires us to recognize multiple aspects and points of view expressing the different values for the various kind of users, i.e. a social value which is present at the same time. Value reflects different points of view, not only that of the subjects who act on the market as producers and consumers. In other words, it reflects an evaluation that grasps not only the individual dimension, but also the social/community one, consistent with the autopoietic approach. An autopoietic system is a system that recognizes the multiplicity of components but considers each one in relation to the others. This means that each component of concern as regards its “efficiency” is also “open” to a complex evaluation, co-existing individual utilities and non-exclusively individual utilities —that is multiple (single and social) utilities. The use values for future users express this component of solidarity.


On the other hand, as already said, the autopoietic approach leads to an intrinsic value theory, beyond the attention of use values for different subjects. The intrinsic value requires a non-monetary evaluation. We are talking of complex social values [39], which arise from an autopoietic approach to urban and regional sustainability. Sometimes it is possible to use monetary evaluations for those functions from which intrinsic value ensues. For example, it is possible to infer a monetary value for the natural function of organic wastes transformation through the spared cost of non-pollution. Organic phosphates mineralization is another example of natural function that would imply an economic cost whenever it is not secured by natural processes. But it is clear that intrinsic value cannot be fully expressed in economic terms. Turner [40] underlines the need to recognize a “primary value” to the autopoietic system—and then to the biotic and abiotic components interconnected each other. This primary value is the very presupposition for the system to supply useful functions and services to man. It is the requirement of carrying on all those heteropoietic activities that express “secondary total value” (STV). Only this value is expressable (at least partially) in monetary terms through the total economic value (TEV). This means we can recognize a total value (TV), expressed by the following equation: where e is the intrinsic value of the system. In other words, it is recognized that TEV has two limits. The first one is the difficulty in expressing all the goods and services in monetary terms. The second one is the structural impossibility of expressing the e value in monetary terms. Therefore, the complex value of a natural area is expressable in economic and at the same time non-monetary terms (through ecological evaluation). De Groot arrives at similar conclusions [41]. He recognizes the need to integrate economic evaluations with qualitative evaluations that express existence of intrinsic value (by means of ordinal evaluations with symbols as +++, ++, +, etc.). Moreover, he introduces the notion of social evaluation, in order to take into account a multiplicity of different points of view. This too is expressed by means of ordinal evaluations that integrate the monetary ones. A further confirmation of the structural limits of economic evaluations and of the need to integrate them in a multidimensional perspective can be found in Jacobs [42], who underlines the impossibility of including the point of view of less wealthy people and future generations in monetary assessments. In conclusion, the autopoietic approach leads to a notion of value that is intrinsically “social” and “complex”.


“Social” because it takes into account the multiplicity of viewpoints of different systemic components, which identify themselves in some organizational rules, through which compatibility and integration are realized. “Complex” because it reflects the acknowledgement that a value exists also independently of the exchange, and this value is connected with the very aims of a system. To express the non-use value it is necessary to start from the bio-ecological potential that depends on biological diversity (bio-diversity). It is necessary to use non-monetary indicators, as number, variety and variability of living organisms in a spatial unity in order to express the plurality of species that is the wealth to preserve for the self-sustainability/autopoiesis of the ecological system. The diversity of the various forms of life expresses heterogeneity and, then, the specificity of an area, i.e. the difference between one area and another. Biological diversity is important as well for the stability of ecosystemic equilibria and for autopoietic (water cycle, microclimate, etc.) functions. It is convenient to differentiate species diversity from ecosystemic diversity. Species diversity refers to the different species within which all components combine freely with the other ones. Species diversity can be expressed by means of a list of all the existent species inside an area, and by the abundancy/frequency of some species. Ecosystemic diversity refers to the variety of biotic communities interconnected within the ecosystem. Ecological evaluations use different rarity indices as wealth, species diversity, naturalness or systemic integrity, typicalness. For instance, by means of the Habitat Evaluation Procedure (HEP), developed by Lancia different evaluations—deduced from value functions—are aggregated, in order to deduce a unique index (HSI), which goes from 0 to 1, which expresses environmental quality. The ecological value index (EVI) expresses the wealth of the existent animal species in an area. The urban ecological evaluations combine the rarity index with the reproduction time of biological components. We are talking of multicriteria evaluations. The evaluations for sustainability (or better self-sustainability) cannot be expressed only in economic terms. An integration of economic measures with the ecological multicriteria ones is needed. Economic evaluations do not “grasp” the whole value of a benefit [43]; this means that they do not reflect the value for all groups of subjects interested, and they leave out: (1) future generations; (2) poor people; (3) the subject of the biological ecosystem [44].


These evaluations are unable to express public value, or improve the social value of a good. They are able only to reflect the point of view of the individuals as “consumers”. In contrast, the autopoietic approach underlines the ability of every subject to overcome its particular interest and to develop evaluations as members of a community, i.e. as “citizens” [45]. The above can be extended to cultural/monumental resources, for which the economic dimension is able to express only some of the components of value [46] and not the non-use values (particularly relevant). 6 CONCLUSIONS The contemporary city, being in a state of ecological and social crisis, reveals a deep unsustainability due to a development model based on economic priority. This model is unable to reconcile individual interests with the common one. Human development must be achieved starting with the city. Cell, organism, firm and city vitality depend on the equilibrium established between two poles. On the one hand, we have to consider city adaptability to a tumultuous change due to several external pressures. On the other, we have to consider city capability to maintain some features of its specificity and identity. A city is vital when it guarantees elements of persistence/continuity in spite of change. This is a dynamic, not given, but again recreated, reformulated, rebuilt equilibrium. A system’s capability to maintain constant main elements through continuous and organized production/reproduction of its different parts, expresses a process of autopoietic development. Urban sustainability has to be looked at as self-sustainability, i.e. as autopoietic capability. This approach has been applied to urban sustainability as self-sustainability, focusing on economic, social and ecological dimensions and the resources and available energy should be directed towards maintaining/improving urban organization, rather than encouraging its growth, through investment in human resources. It is very difficult for a city to become self-sustainable in energetic terms. But it can be self-sustainable in cultural and environmental terms. The implications on urban institutional organization, on value theory and evaluations have been considered. Finally a choice theory follows, i.e. an actual theory in order to realize that notion of sustainability in city and regional space. The notion of “social complex value” expresses a pluralistic approach to evaluation which combines monetary and non-monetary (ecological) evaluations in an integrated idea of value. The bio-ecological analogy referred to urban development must take into account that the urban system components—unlike biological systems—have


their specificity because they have the capability to develop a project. They have needs but also wants. Therefore the behaviour of an urban system is characterized by an exceptional complexity, with stochastic processes. To maintain urban self-sustainability it is necessary to have a careful maintenance/management of the natural urban capital and of the urban manufactured one. We are talking of those resources that, together with the human ones, are characterized mainly by intrinsic values. The relationship between self-sustainable development and non-use values is very close. Sustainable development can be actually implemented through the valuing of resources which have more non-use value [47]. Urban maintenance involves the preservation of the environmental and ecological potential, i.e. of the biotic regeneration potential. Ecological sustainability depends on air, water and soil resources self-regeneration capability. It depends on the way the urban and regional eco-biological potential is preserved/improved. For instance, air regeneration, micro-climatic rebalance and purification depend on photosynthesis, which in its turn is a function of existing biomass. Water regeneration is linked to the need for not compromising existing water layers which in its turn depends on the geolithological characteristics, on permeability, etc. Soil resource regeneration depends on the capability of not compromising its bio-ecosystemic vitality in the possible transformations, and to preserve it and to increase its value. This bio-ecosystemic vitality is expressed by a number of different animal and vegetables species, by their interaction and by interdependences with abiotic components. A suitable urban and regional planning is necessary that can focus all the interactions among the fundamental factors (air, water, soil) through an “ecological accounting”. This means suitable evaluations throughout the whole planning process. Greenery has to be brought back to the centre of urban development, not as decoration of city structure but as a vital factor (able to absorb various kinds of pollution, wastes, etc.) and a living system able to contribute to cities’ vitality, giving them a new organization. The above implies the development of a real “ecological accounting” that underlines the necessity for the identification of a biotypes register in which critical thresholds, sustainable capacity, and compensation ability are identified. By this perspective, a soil permeability grade check becomes fundamentally relevant. In fact, the regeneration ability of the three fundamental resources, i.e. air, water and soil, depends on it. Actually, we recognize in soil permeability the key element to warrant the ecological/environmental self-regeneration potential [48]. New integration strategies between ecology and town planning consist of the promotion of this parameter. Ecological/environmental potential is implemented by:


1. resort to compensation procedures aiming to guarantee environmental conditions not less favourable than the status quo preceding the transformation; 2. “green anticipation” measures in the building transformation by planting operations; 3. the realization of “green urban wedges” linking central areas to the extraurban ones. Urban planning “equalization” today has been proposed as the tool to achieve economic/financial efficiency objectives, ecological preservation objectives, and social equity objectives. “Equalization” becomes, then, the tool to implement the Sustainable Development of the city. These “equalization” rules imply a new co-operative relationship between public and private sectors. The private must recognize real estate rents maximizing objectives and more general interests (urban suitability) together. The public subject must aim to achieve public utility with the help of the private sector, not by itself. In order to achieve the objectives of urban sustainability it is necessary to develop strategies of private/public co-operation that have a positive sum, that imply the acknowledgement of a (private and social) “dual utility” on the behalf of every interested component. This means the ability to develop evaluations with respect to efficiency criteria, ecological criteria, and ethic/ distributive criteria. There is a need for complex evaluations, developed in the multidimensional perspective, both ex-ante and ex-post, in order to build a framework of general compatibility and to test the results. The economic evaluations allow us to underline the economic potential of natural capital. The extra-monetary evaluation allow us to highlight the multiple conveniences. These evaluation tools applied to the green and to the cultural heritage can contribute to a common awareness, essential for the systemic vitality and, therefore, for sustainability. Analogous considerations can be carried out for another basic sustainability or self-sustainability question: cultural heritage preservation. Urban planning should promote and guarantee land vitality, as Agenda 21 argued, interpreting this vitality not only in relation to the aspects linked to the bio-diversity, but also in a social sense. The maintenance/valuing of cultural/manufactured capital involves the preservation of the city’s particular characteristics, which express its identity, its specificity. They allow the preservation of the memory of a city, of its genetic heritage during changes and turbulence which often the city suffered. A city can preserve itself in the change, i.e. to maintain permanent elements from which depends the


preservation of its memory, its roots, its identity, its genetic heritage, during changes and turbulence. A system’s capability to maintain constant its main elements, through continuous and organized reproduction of its different parts, expresses a process of autopoietic development. Historical centre rehabilitation—where we can find the maximum multiplicity/ plurality/variety of expressions and differences—is strongly consistent with urban vitality promotion, with a reduction of congestion, with integration promotion and, then, with energetic consumption and pollution reduction. Above all, it is consistent with the preservation of cultural differences, which is as much (if not more) relevant as biologic diversity preservation. Cultural diversity preservation means the acknowledgement of the co-existing different cultures and the promotion of a co-evolution of cultures. Even in the case economic and extra-economic evaluations allow us to identify the functions more compatible with non-use value and existence value of these resources. Functions that can maximize the social complex value and are able to contribute to a common consciousness are fundamental for the development of systemic self-sustainability, and then also for the development of democracy. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT Sections 2, 5 and 6 reflect the results of research on “Valutazioni multidimensionali quali-quantitative dei piani e dei progetti per lo sviluppo sostenibile delle aree metropolitane”, supported by Murst 40% funds. REFERENCES 1. 2. 3. 4.




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Green Development Corporations: a proposed framework for an economically attractive and environmentally sustainable form of urban development N.K.Larsson CANMET, Ottawa K1A 0E4, Canada

ABSTRACT Measures are proposed that will encourage the private sector to develop, own and operate green developments, here defined as urban buildings or projects with greatly improved environmental and energy performance. It is suggested that the proposed approach will have beneficial collateral effects on urban development patterns as well as increasing the supply of high-performance buildings. Keywords: Green developments, whole-building performance, taxation, incentives, development. 1 BACKGROUND 1.1 Building performance It is widely recognized that existing buildings are relatively inefficient in their energy use. New buildings tend to reach higher levels of performance, but usually within the same order of magnitude as existing buildings. Since most buildings are directly or indirectly dependent on the use of fossil fuels, the rate of depletion of these resources is a concern, as are the collateral negative impacts on the natural environment. The construction and operation of buildings, and the transportation associated with their use generate considerable quantities of CO2 and other effluents affecting the global environment. Canada has made commitments for a reduction in its very high rate of CO2 emissions, but at current rates of improvement, this target will not be met. Buildings also have other significant adverse impacts on the natural environment, including the disruption of natural ecosystems, consumption of increasingly scarce raw materials, and the production of toxic liquid and solid wastes. The disposal of waste construction materials, due to


construction or demolition, is also becoming increasingly problematic because of a scarcity of disposal sites. 1.2 Related urban development issues The most serious building-related energy and environmental problem is not the performance of buildings themselves, but the fact that the low-density form of urban development prevalent in North America (and increasingly popular elsewhere) creates an excessive dependence on the use of vehicular transport. Vehicles used for private and transport purposes account for most of our use of fossil fuels,1 and are responsible for much of our greenhouse gas loading; the utilities and road systems required to support them are expensive, and the land required for all this is most often prime agricultural land. In typical North American cities, enormous areas of suburban land are devoted to single family houses, retail commercial areas or industrial parks, all developed at very low densities (see Figure 1). Central areas are often held for future development as parking lots or deteriorating low-rise structures, until such time as zoning permission and/or market conditions will allow the erection of highrise buildings; structures of twelve or twenty-plus floors. The existing pattern of urban development has a negative effect on the energy efficiency and environmental impact of the transportation sector, since the low densities and excessive segregation of uses lead to an excessive dependence on the use of fossil-fuel powered vehicles. It may be argued that alternative vehicle fuels (eg. fuel cells) will have been developed in the future, but this is not certain enough to rely on. In any case, the existing pattern of low-density road systems and utilities are expensive and represent high levels of embodied energy in their construction.2 They are also extremely space-consuming, and occupy land better suited to agriculture or recreational uses. There is therefore a need to increase the population density in our urban areas to reduce the dependence on private vehicles. This will require a policy that encourages mixed use and higher-density building forms, leading to net development densities of at least 25 units/ha or gross building areas of 2.5 times site area. High densities are needed to reach economic thresholds for less energyintensive forms of transport such as buses, streetcars and mass transit systems, and it ensures the economic viability of district heating systems. Mixed use development is desirable from a variety of perspectives: it facilitates walking 1. The 1995 World Energy Outlook of the International Energy Agency, states that: Transport energy demand in the US and Canada (1992) was…35 per cent of final energy consumption. Road transport is by far the most important component, accounting for 80 per cent of the sector’s energy consumption…transportation oil accounted for all the growth in annual oil demand in US and Canada between 1971 and 1992, and is expected to continue to do so over the outlook period.


Fig. 1. Greatly simplified representation of typical North American urban development (left): high-density and high-rise core surrounded by large areas of low-rise and lowdensity uses, with most zoning being single use. The similar diagram at the right shows a more desirable state from an eivnronmental perspective: the inclusion of mid-rise, mixed use and medium-to high-density uses.

access to services and supports the viability of local retail shops; efficiencies in the use of mechanical systems and support facilities such as parking can be attained because of the different times of peak loading for residential and commercial uses; and a functional, safe and socially satisfying streetscape can be created by ensuring continuous use of sidewalks and public access points. 1.3 Definition of green development Given the factors above, it is clear that there is a need for large-scale production of a type of new or retrofit project that provides mixed use occupancy at relatively high densities. Such developments will need to be adaptable to changes in use over time, so they can have a longer useful service life than is currently the norm. Green developments will have to reach very high levels of energy and environmental performance, and to maintain it over time. In this 2. In a draft of a study for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Externalities of Residential Development, Sebastian Moffatt of Sheltair Scientific Ltd. has calculated the external costs of services required for a typical modern detached suburban house in the Vancouver region, and finds that the external life-cycle costs for roads, water, sewage, and electrical supply infrastructure reach a total present value of approximately $33,000. To this must be added costs of impacts on the environment, human health and other community systems. The total of eight external costs analyzed represented approximately 16% of the internal costs of the house. It would be interesting to compare these totals with those of a high-density development located close to services.


paper, we have chosen to give this mixture of building type, density and performance the title of green developments. If we consider the year 2025 as a convenient (and admittedly speculative) target date for a drastic reduction in the use of fossil fuels for direct or indirect use in buildings and in related automotive use, it will be seen that a significant problem exists due to the persistence of the building stock. Whether decrepid or immaculate, buildings tend to have a long life span, and today’s structures will still represent a substantial majority of buildings in service in 2025. Given that most current buildings are very energy-inefficient, most buildings existing today will therefore still be consuming energy at a high rate by 2025, and occupants will still be using their cars to get to them. If a significant proportion of our building stock is to be green by that date, immediate action is therefore needed to cause large numbers of such projects to be built. Despite a widespread recognition by governments and the industry of these facts, pragmatic and widespread measures to encourage green development are absent. 2 FACTORS IN ADOPTION OF GREEN DEVELOPMENT Why are green developments not being built in North America? There are a multiplicity of causes, ranging from financial to technical. The lack of market demand for such types of development is a main factor. Part of the responsibility lies with municipalities, which tend to pay lip service to the idea but maintain zoning policies that work against multiple uses. A more important factor, however, is the lack of an economic and organizational framework to provide incentives for this form of development. 2.1 Market demand Market demand is undoubtedly the most powerful force for change in the development industry, and it is clear that if there was a strong demand for green buildings, developers would change the face of our cities in short order. One reason why this is not occurring is the current low level of market demand for any new construction; a total lack of demand for office projects and a low demand for housing. This situation relates mainly to economic and demographic conditions, and this paper assumes that this situation will gradually improve over the next few years. Another aspect of demand, and more relevant to this paper, is the lack of demand for green buildings. This has several causes. In the office building market, it is leasing organizations and commercial brokers who are relevant, and currently the only well-defined demands that relate to high performance are the desire for good indoor air quality and building intelligence. The demand for good


air quality carries across to the multi-unit residential market, at least in the condominium sector, and is accompanied by a clear demand for construction quality. In neither the office or residential markets is there a clear demand for other important facets of building performance as we have defined them in this paper: impact on urban development, energy performance, ecological performance, other aspects of indoor environment performance, such as lighting or acoustic quality, adaptability to change, or the ability to maintain performance over the long term. This is not surprising, since neither office (except for very large organizations) or residential tenants can be expected to make themselves expert in the nuances of building performance. Thus, commercial tenants are unlikely to create a demand for green developments unless aided by outside intervention which will result in them having easily understood and utilizable tools for selecting buildings with green characteristics. The Building Performance Assessment System, or BEPAC, developed by Ray Cole and others at the University of British Columbia, is an example of a system that has the potential of providing commercial tenants with the tools needed to differentiate between buildings of different performance levels; and if such a system becomes widely adopted the influence on the market could be very significant. Non-profit groups such as the Green Building Information Council (GBIC) which has a mission to disseminate information about energy and environmental issues in the building sector, also has the potential to educate the market. 2.2 Performance standards and demonstrations Governments have attempted to stimulate demand by sponsoring demonstrations of new ways of buildings, but it must be recognized that these may have limited impact on the general market. Demonstrations of high-performance houses are a well-proven method of stimulating consumer demand for new housing features, and exhibition display houses, or more serious efforts such as CANMET’s Advanced Houses program, undoubtedly have some impact on the housing market. Contemporary demonstration programs in the large-buildings sector, such as CANMET’s C-2000 Program3 or the CMHC/CANMET Ideas Challenge program, show that high-quality and desirable buildings can be designed and built with advanced environmental features and with energy consumption levels 3. The C-2000 Program is a Canadian demonstration program for commercial buildings. Five buildings are currently in various stages of design and all conform to the performance criteria, which include requirements for high performance in energy consumption, ecological impact,


of about 50% of current good practice, all for very modest levels of incremental costs. Demonstrations of commercial buildings, however, are more effective in influencing developers and design professionals than the real end-users. An attempt to influence the large-building sector is therefore likely to require a combination of demonstrations and efforts to provide commercial tenants with the right tools for selecting green buildings. 2.3 Zoning Municipal zoning is an important factor mitigating against the adoption of green building. Zoning varies by municipality, but certain principles appear to be common, at least in North America. A clear separation of industry from other uses is still prevalent, although much of today’s industrial activity is small-scale and clean and could well be integrated with residential and commercial functions. The separation of office, retail and housing uses is not as complete, but is sufficient to ensure that office areas are dead zones on weekends, while military exercises could take place weekdays on most residential streets without endangering the population. Zoning also forces excessive setbacks from lot lines, destroying streetscapes and forcing developers to build high-rises even where floor-area to site-area ratios are modest. Associated regulations can also cause anomolies in the development process.4 2.4 The taxation system An influence on the development process that is seldom addressed is the taxation system, including depreciation, definitions of eligible expenses and property taxes. Even a cursory analysis of typical tax regimes reveal that the current form of the system does not support high performance. Low capital cost allowances combined with 100% writeoffs for operating and maintenance costs induce developers to design buildings that minimize capital cost, and to ignore future operating costs. The motivation for the developer to follow such a course is especially strong where leases are double- or triple-net, e.g., the tenant pays most or all the operating costs and taxes. Thus, a more expensive wall design that provides better thermal performance is typically rejected in favour of a low-cost indoor environment, functionality, adaptability, longevity and quality management. The Ideas Challenge Program is a residential version of C-2000. 4. In Ottawa, Ontario, for example, a stringent requirement for the provision of parking spaces has been known to lead developers to re-develop sites in the central area at far lower densities than zoning would permit, because of the excessive costs of providing the parking required for the higher density.


wall with higher annual energy costs which will be borne by the tenants and, in turn, partially passed on to taxpayers. The poorly performing buildings that are a result of this process remain in place for many years, and continue to use energy and to pollute the environment long after the original developer has moved to greener pastures. It is thus apparent that our current economic and regulatory framework actually creates disincentives for sustainable and environmentally-benign forms of development. 2.5 Scale, economies of scale and operational efficiencies There are other and less-evident barriers to the adoption of green building. One is the factor of scale (size of design and development firms, size of buildings) and another is professional management. These two factors are linked. Although it is possible for a small developer or design firm to produce buildings with very high performance, small organizations tend to have less resources to devote to research and the small fees for a small building do not leave much room for studies of alternative design solutions or computerized performance simulations. Leaving issues of creativity and job satisfaction to the side, it must therefore be said that, other things being equal, it is more feasible to produce high-performance buildings when the producing organizations and buildings involved are relatively large. The second factor relates to professional management. Experience shows that skilled management and maintenance is a key factor in the long-term performance of buildings. Specifically, even a well-designed building that is fully commissioned can perform poorly unless operations and maintenance staff are skilled. The type of organization that can attract, train and retain skilled O&M people needs a client base (e.g. buildings) of considerable size to maintain economic viability. An environmentally-sustainable solution for development that results in large, homogeneous buildings without character, or that limits the possibility for individual expression and lifestyles, would not be acceptable in most western societies. Such a result is not a necessary consequence, as will be shown in the following sections of this paper. 3 POSSIBLE APPROACHES Substantive retrofit measures can and should be applied on a wide scale, but even the successful and widespread adoption of retrofit programs will not solve the dependence on the automobile caused by our current low-density development pattern. In any case retrofitting is not likely to suffice, since a significant proportion of the existing building stock is economically or technically suited to being upgraded to only modest levels of performance. A significant amount of


new construction may therefore be needed to meet the needs of 2025, much of it replacement for existing low-density construction that cannot be upgraded to required levels. In either case, whether new or retrofit, buildings will have to reach very high levels of energy and environmental performance, while siting and density decisions will have to be aimed at reducing the dependence on the automobile. Given the nature of the problem, what practical and widespread measures are available to achieve this? 3.1 Principles Our starting point is to adopt certain principles: • A solution must necessarily be provided through private-sector efforts. • The private sector will require financial incentives to guarantee its involvement. • Solutions may involve governments, but will have to be at least revenueneutral. In the past, governments have developed incentive measures targetted at specific consumer groups. Legislation allowing the establishment of condominiums, and tax advantages given to investors in certain types of multi-unit residential buildings are major examples of this type of past intervention. Excluding direct subsidy measures, such enabling and incentive measures have been historically aimed at stimulating construction activity, by providing assistance to special investor groups and building owners or developers. However, while the resulting building activity has undoubtedly been of value to these groups, none of the incentives to date (except for small-scale demonstration programs) have been designed to encourage a high level of environmental or energy performance. New incentives are needed that will break down barriers to high performance and, given the current economic climate, such measures will have to be revenueneutral to governments. Is such a thing possible? Our position within the current economic and political cycle provides a rare opportunity to capture the attention of the industry to address these issues. It is therefore a good time to look at the possibilities of a system that could encourage private investors to build, own and operate green buildings, driven mainly by market forces. 3.2 Strengthening demand The importance of creating a strong demand for green building within the commercial tenant market cannot be over-emphasized since, with a strong demand, the rest can be accomplished with voluntary action by the private


sector. The importance of BEPAC as a tool to inform tenants is clear, but the implementation of BEPAC will require considerable start-up assistance by governments. The federal government, through Natural Resources Canada, is already providing a modest level of support for BEPAC implementation, and the government of Ontario is sponsoring implementation within the Ontario government sector. This support is not of a sufficient dimension to ensure a strong start, however, and it is therefore suggested that additional resources should be made available. The details of such an effort are beyond the scope of this paper and will be detailed in subsequent documents. 3.3 Legislation The encouragement of green development will require many concurrent initiatives taking place at several levels of government and within the private sector. This will require the creation of a robust definition of green building and the type of organization that carries it out, and this is best accomplished by the development of enabling legislation, much as was done for condominiums in the early 1970’s. It is not yet clear whether legislation would have to be passed at provincial or federal levels, or both. The best specific approach must await detailed studies; but it is clear that a legislative framework will be necessary if the objectives are to be achieved. 3.4 Municipal zoning and regulations Single-use zoning, excessive setbacks and (in some cases) onerous parking requirements have been identified as impediments to the adoption of green building. While negotiations with individual municipalities could result in the designation of an initial set of zones for green building activity, it may be desirable to investigate the Planned Unit Development Ordinances (PUD) approach that was attempted in the U.S.A. in the 1970’s. The PUD approach was defined5 at the time for large developments as “a land development project comprehensively planned as an entity via a unitary site plan which permits flexibility in building siting, mixtures of housing types and (other) land uses, usable open spaces, and the preservation of significant natural features…. The PUD process allows a much freer placement of buildings on the land than conventional lot-by-lot systems…and controls apply to entire developments.” 3.5 Financial and regulatory levers In a market economy, building codes can define the minimum performance, but financial mechanisms must be used to provide the incentives required for higher


performance levels. This short discussion paper can only outline the least- and most-promising of these, while excluding broader and more complex ideas such as carbon taxes. Longer-term mortgages would reduce the annual carrying cost, but the availability of other and competitive forms of short-term investments reduce the attraction of this approach. Reduced insurance premiums are only applicable to risk factors such as earthquake resistance and thus have limited application. This still leaves a broad range of potential incentives, however: property tax differentials, accelerated capital depreciation, differential operating cost deductions, and investor tax credits. Property tax differentials could be established by municipalities for properties that fall below or above a performance threshold. Since most municipalities are not wealthy, such a rate structure would have to be revenue-neutral in its total effect. Municipalities would also have to overcome their use of a linkage of tax rates to market values, since higher performing buildings would (eventually) have a higher market value. The rationale for municipal taxpayer support would be partially altruism, e.g. environmental stewardship, and partially that highperformance buildings impose lower cost burdens on the municipality in the long run. For example, a low level of water consumption will reduce or delay a municipality’s need to expand water distribution, storm and sanitary sewers and sewage treatment systems. Property tax differentials would be effective incentives for developers who plan to occupy their buildings but in the speculative market, where tenants often pay the taxes, the developer would only have an incentive to comply with performance requirements if a program of building performance labelling were in place, that would clearly identify compliant buildings to prospective tenants and thus exert positive feedback onto the developer’s design process. The depreciation of capital assets is, in Canada, part of the Federal tax regulations which also govern the proportion of operating expenses that can be considered valid business expenses, e.g. fully deductible. Studies indicate that the treatment of buildings, under Class 1 of the Capital Cost Allowance provisions of the Federal corporate income tax system, is not as favourable as for other energy investments. A possible scenario here is to permit owners of green developments to depreciate their assets more rapidly than lower-performance projects, say 5% instead of 4% per annum. Similarity, a differential rate could be established for the proportion of operating costs (including energy expenditures) that is eligible to be written off as a business expense, by reducing the current writeoff for operating costs of conventional buildings from 100% to, say 90%, while maintaining the 100% rate for high-performance buildings. Such a step would actually produce substantial revenue increases for governments for some 5. See Frank So, David Mosena and Frank Bangs, Jr; Planned Unit Development Ordinances; American Society of Planning Officials, Chicago, Ill; 1973.


time, in view of the small proportion of high-performance buildings in existence at the outset of such a program. Accelerated depreciation cannot be expected to play a major role as an incentive until property-owning firms have used up tax losses they accumulated during the recent depressed real estate market, but performancebased differentials in the ability to write off operating costs could be immediately effective. As with property taxes, a condition for effectiveness in net-lease situations would be the implementation of a widespread building performance labelling scheme. Finally, investor tax credits are another area worth exploring; specifically, tax benefits for investors in development corporations that own and operate highperformance buildings. Investor tax credits are primarily applicable to development corporations and not to individual buildings, but many development firms now set up separate companies for each building, in order to protect the parent company if one investment goes sour. Thus the approach may prove of value in achieving the objectives. The investor tax credit mechanism would require the legal definition for the type of corporation that would be eligible and, as with the other proposals, the net effect would probably have to be revenue-neutral in overall terms. The taxation area belongs to both federal and provincial jurisdictions in Canada and agreement on action would therefore be a complex undertaking. Nevertheless, the potential benefits are such that an attempt would be worthwhile. 3.6 Building performance standards The financial and regulatory approaches described above all make reference to various levels of building performance. The successful implementation of these concepts will require a comprehensive and tested reference standard of building performance, including a definition of parameters to be included and levels of performance to be attained in each area. Although the main concern in this paper is energy and environmental performance, it must be recognized that privatesector developers and designers have broader concerns, including air quality, ease of maintenance, cost-effectiveness, etc. The probability of market acceptance is therefore increased if the performance standard covers a wide range of issues. The CANMET C-2000 program has successfully demonstrated this approach. The C-2000 criteria may serve the required purpose of defining required performance levels, and the six demonstration projects being carried out under this program can serve as performance benchmarks. The specific performance areas applicable to building design (and excluding, for the moment, locational issues) that would be covered in such a marketoriented framework include the following:


• energy performance, specifically maximum annual energy consumption and demand, • ecological performance, including impact on local ecosystems, building emissions, resource conservation, and waste minimization, • indoor health and comfort, including air, lighting and acoustic quality, • appropriateness of design, spaces and systems to functional requirements, • longevity of the building and systems, • adaptability of the design, spaces and systems to changing requirements, • durability of components and materials • ease of maintenance and operations, • quality management during design, construction and operation, and • economic viability. Most of the performance parameters listed above are obvious, but the inclusion of longevity, adaptability and durability deserves an explanation. All other factors being equal, long-life of a building clearly reduces the environmental impact due to the production of new materials and the disposal of old ones, in addition to the energy cost of the construction process itself. Components and materials must be durable to support long life, but this will only be successful if the building and its major elements are adaptable to change over time. Adaptability is thus a critical requirement for good environmental performance, and extends to changing uses in the building as well as alterations required over time in equipment or materials. Performance-linked incentives can only be effective if they are implemented within a framework that will ensure that requirements are actually reached. Application on a broad scale would require the adjudication of initial and ongoing performance with reference to the performance standard by an independent third party, such as a governmental or non-profit organization with no direct economic interest in the results. In such a scenario, projects that did not reach the required performance level would not gain the certification needed to benefit from the tax benefits proposed. Again, the C-2000 program has shown that an approach that establishes a challenge for design teams can yield very successful results, without destroying the efficacy of the normal development process. 3.7 Open Building Systems The discussion above suggests that policies to support long-term high performance in buildings should give encouragement to large buildings and large organizations; but we need not limit ourselves to traditional interpretations of scale. One way of reconciling the need for large structures with the desire for smaller, more adaptable and more humane buildings is to follow the lead developed for residential buildings by N.Habraken and the Open Building


Foundation in the Netherlands.6 The concept is known as Open Building Systems and the idea can be extended to other building types. In such an approach a separation can be made between large-scale and long-lived base-building structures and the more varied and shorter-lived systems and facilities contained within it. The large and permanent structure is custom-designed for the site, while shorter-lived internal systems are manufactured off-site to modular dimensions and installed as a quite separate operation. This approach offers another distinct advantage, in that it offers the possibility of greatly extending the life-span of buildings, by facilitating functional changes within the base building without requiring major renovations. This has a clearly beneficial effect in the reduction of future need for new construction materials, and in the disposal of construction and demolition wastes. Such an approach also enhances the long-term value of the asset for the owner. 4 A POSSIBLE SCENARIO To address the issues discussed above, a logical approach would be to develop a legal and tax framework that would encourage the private sector to design, construct and operate very high-performance buildings. Such a framework will have to be designed around the points already raised, namely: • the preparation of enabling federal and provincial legislation to create a class of development corporations that can benefit from investor tax incentives and accelerated asset depreciation measures, • the development of a two-tiered and performance-based property taxation structure and the adoption of more mixed-use, medium-density zoning techniques by municipalities, • the application of comprehensive and well-tested building performance criteria, • the designation of an independent third party to adjudicate the attainment of performance, • limitation of eligibility to development and building management organizations with proven professional skills in building design and operation, • limitation to buildings that are designed for mixed uses and medium densities, 6. The approach was described by Habraken to a wide audience in his 1972 book Supports: An Alternative to Mass Housing, and has gained support in the Netherlands. The concept is now attracting attention in the USA. Open Building has the added benefit of supporting an environmentally-sensitive approach to design by allowing the clean separation of elements that have different lifespans and replacement cycles; and it also encourages the industrialization of internal components because of the modularity of the approach.


• limitation to buildings that are large enough to ensure that alternative design analysis and performance simulations can be economically carried out, and • the simultaneous implementation of a widespread system of building performance labelling, so that tenants will be induced to select highperformance projects. The new class of organization that would emerge from this framework, referred to here as a Green Development Corporation (GDC), would have a wellcharacterized structure and predictable mode of operation, with an emphasis on long-term profitability and the development of energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable development projects. Our goal is that such corporations would become widely established by private-sector developers. 4.1 Incentive features A GDC would be limited by charter to develop a specific type of project, referred to as a Green Development; defined here as a mid-rise project developed at urban densities, with mixed uses, and that reaches certain performance standards established by a third party. The GDC itself would be defined as having certain corporate financial characteristics, to ensure competence and stability. The GDC will develop the primary components of a Green Development (site development, structure, basic services and basic building envelope), will be able to buy, sell or lease strata title (as in a condominium) and will exert control over the nature and performance of the design, construction and operation of secondary or end-use facilities and services within the overall project. In return for meeting such conditions, investors in a GDC would enjoy tax benefits, and it would be able to claim accelerated capital cost depreciation for its eligible buildings. Unlike normal projects, GDCs would retain the ability to write off 100% of operating expenses. The establishment of differentials in property taxes between Green Developments and normal projects would provide an additional financial benefit. Green Developments would be required to maintain high performance in energy efficiency, environmental sensitivity and indoor climate. The long life and adaptability of Green Development buildings would ensure that secondary uses and systems can change over time without causing obsolescence or loss in economic value of the main investment. 4.2 Characteristics of Green Development Corporations Legislation will require that Green Development Corporations would function primarily as a developer of highly energy-efficient and environmentally responsible buildings that are also economically attractive to private-sector investors. It is anticipated that GDCs will have the following characteristics.


Fig. 2. Proposed organizational framework.

1. GDCs will be private-sector corporations established to engage in the development and long-term management of certain specific types of real property, known as Green Developments. 2. A GDC will have to guarantee the availability of a level of competence in areas of design, energy management and building operations. 3. GDCs may buy or sell land, and may buy, sell or lease strata titles within their property except for the basic systems. GDCs may own other assets, including other GDCs, but real property conforming to GDC performance standards must form a minimum of 75% of total assets. 4. GDCs may issue shares and bonds. Investors in GDC shares and bonds will be partially tax sheltered to encourage private investment in this type of development. 5. GDC development costs would be eligible for an accelerated rate of capital cost depreciation to induce the GDC to pay the higher capital costs


necessary for high performance. GDCs would also, unlike other projects, be able to deduct all operating costs as valid expenses. 6. Municipalities would be encouraged to develop differential property tax structures, resulting in relatively reduced tax burdens for Green Developments, reflecting the reduced long-term impact such buildings would have on the local environment. 7. Green Developments would, by definition, conform to performance criteria as determined by an independent third party, known as the Green Development Authority (GDA). A clear definition of mandates and roles of the GDA is critical to the success of the concept. 8. A GDC would be obliged to issue, in addition to normal financial statements, an annual statement of environmental performance, including an Environmental Balance Sheet, an Environmental Income and Expense Statement, and a Sources and Uses Statement related to energy and environmental impacts of buildings within its portfolio. 4.3 Characteristics of Green Developments The main features of Green Developments (the type of project built or owned by a GDC) would include high performance levels defined by a third party, mixed uses within the development and medium- to high-densities of development. Specific features include the following: 1. The base building or primary elements of the project developed by the GDC (site development, structure, basic mechanical systems, building envelope) will have a designed lifespan of 200 years, must be sufficiently adaptable to allow a range of secondary uses that may be developed and replaced over time, and must reach performance levels required by the Green Development Authority, specifically in the areas of energy efficiency, environmental impact, indoor environment, functionality, longevity and adaptability. 2. The base building will be designed to permit the insertion of a range of standardized secondary systems and components, so that long-term adaptability to new uses can be assured. Implications of changeable mix of uses include a need for increased floor-to-floor height, security systems, clean power lines etc., while the floor plate design of office buildings would have to be re-considered. 3. A Green Development could be either new construction or retrofit. Specific performance measures will have to be developed for both types. 4. Green Developments would be developed as mid-rise structures at medium to high densities, to provide sufficient densities to make public transport economically viable. GDC developments will also be mixed use projects,


Fig. 3 A Green Building might look like a conventional one, but would be far more adaptable over time.

e.g. a mixture of residential, commercial, institutional and/or other uses, to ensure conformance to sound urban planning principles. 5. Current technologies provide an opportunity to develop projects that are totally or partially independent of power grids and municipal services. The large scale of Green Developments would increase the viability of such applications. The extent to which GDC projects should be autonomous from services is an area that should be further explored. 4.4 Implications The following outlines only a few of the implications of adopting the proposal: 1. Financing of projects should be facilitated, since major investment capital will only have to be found for the base building, while tenants and/or other financial intermediaries will finance secondary or fit-up elements. This will represent a new departure for GDC buildings that are primarily residential. In the existing residential market, tenants and even condominium purchasers take possession of units that are already fully fitted-out. Fit-up by occupants is already the case in office buildings, but to a lesser extent than proposed (e.g. the base building defined in this concept is more stripped down than the base building as currently defined by the market). The need of occupants to finance their own secondary elements should stimulate the consumer operations of lending institutions. 2. A reference body for administrative interpretations and technical requirements will have to be created. It would have to include representation by both government and private sectors, and it would probably have to be


financed by a levy on Green Developments. Such an organization could become a powerful force for fostering performance improvements in the whole building industry. 3. Development of specific secondary uses within a Green Development, e.g. office space, residential, retail etc., would be carried out much more quickly than in traditional developments, since most issues related to macro-zoning, heights, set-backs and code conformance will all be dealt with once, when the Green Development is first built. 4. Changes in use can be very expensive in existing buildings that were designed for a different use, because of the need to comply with code requirements for different occupant loads, fire safety etc. A Green Development could be designed and constructed for the most demanding use, in terms of fire safety and the space can therefore be converted to most other uses with a minimum of time and expense. 5. The need to meet high performance requirements will create a powerful incentive for the development of new energy and environmental technologies, with a consequent export and domestic economic benefit. 6. Pilot projects should be carried out to fine-tune the concept, most logically as an extension of the existing C-2000 Program and the Ideas Challenge program. 7. The active cooperation of municipalities will be required so that GDCs will have a wide variety of potential mixed use and medium/high density sites to choose from. 8. Finally, workable procedures for energy and environmental accounting will have to be developed. 5 MOVING TOWARDS IMPLEMENTATION The proposal outlined above is, to say the least, somewhat ambitious. If support for the concept can be generated, it will first have to be tested in a pilot form. Such a project would be more difficult than most demonstration projects because of the need for legislative and regulatory action at several levels of government. It would also be an expensive proposition, because of the technical and size requirements. A practical approach might be to obtain the cooperation of a national and municipal government to suspend normal regulations within a demonstration site. A demonstration project would then be developed by a selected organization possessing the necessary levels of skills, and would be designed to reach performance levels as defined by an improved version of the C-2000 criteria. In one sense, such a demonstration project would be a test of an Open Building project, but including a mix of uses and with very ambitious performance targets. Technical issues of interest would include the development of longevity targets for various building systems, a design that allows future changes in use,


and the development of HVAC concepts that provide a clean split between macro- and micro-zoning. A study within such a site could not draw any conclusions about the macro impact of widespread adoption, but could monitor the cost, administrative and technical effort needed to produce a building that would reach the required performance levels. The analysis of the demonstration project would have to have a longitudinal component, to assess the feasibility of maintaining high levels of performance over the long term. Ideally, a control building of the same size would also be built, but this is impractical. Parallel desk studies should also be launched to assess the environmental and economic implications of widespread adoption at both the local and national levels. Only after this step can the potential of the concept be evaluated. 6 CONCLUSIONS Although the current lack of construction activity may lead to the conclusion immediate action is not needed, the length of time required to achieve meaningful change in our urban fabric means that there is only a short respite. We can no longer afford the luxury of designing better single-detached forms of suburban housing, or communes designed for rural settings. Such approaches may be inspirational, but do not address the issues of conservation of agricultural land or the inefficiencies of low-density development. If the challenges of the twentyfirst century are to be met, it will have to be through urban solutions designed to make our major cities better and more efficient places sites for work, commerce, housing and play. BIBLIOGRAPHY An Alternative to Mass Housing; Habraken, N.J.; Architectural Press; London; 1972. An Exploratory Discussion on Open Building, Background Papers; Fannie Mae, Office of Housing Research; Washington; May, 1994. Building Environmental Performance Assessment Criteria; Cole, R. et al; BEPAC Foundation; Vancouver, B.C., 1993. C-2000 Program Requirements; Larsson, N., editor; CANMET, Natural Resources Canada; Ottawa; October 1993. Externalities of Residential Development; Full Cost Accounting of Housing Services (Draft); Moffat, S., Sheltair Scientific Ltd. for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation; Ottawa, March 1995. Global economy, energy and the environment (feature insert); The Economist; London; October 2, 1994. Planned Unit Development Ordinances; So, Frank S., Mosena, David R, and Bangs Jr., Frank; American Society of Planning Officials, Chicago, 1973.


Residential Districts; Kirschenmann, J.C. and Muschalek, C.; Watson-Guptill Publications; New York; 1980. World Energy Outlook, 1995 Edition; International Energy Agency; OECD/IEA; Paris, 1995.

Note: The views expressed in this paper are not necessarily those of CANMET or Natural Resources Canada. November 05, 1995

Land management in the context of sustainability: the new regional land planning law of Tuscany Marco Gamberini Regione Toscana, Florence, Italy

Keywords: land management, regulatory framework, sustainability, regional law 1 INTRODUCTION According to the new Tuscan regional law1 regulating land management, the concept of sustainable development represents the reference point for any action on land management. According to the Tuscan legislator the development of human communities is sustainable if, with regard to land resources, there are the following conditions: • non-negative balance between consumption and production of resources (both of the land and on the land) and no unwanted or unexpected negative consequences for future generations; • land resources must be transferred to future generations intact or improved; • the use of the resources must lie on a scientific, confirmed and certified knowledge of the land and of its physical and human resources. Fundamental resources, the use of which has to be protected for development of future generations, are: • • • •


air and water suitable for the reproduction of ecosystems; non-polluted ground free of hydrogeological risks; towns and urban sites not upgraded by congestion and irrational organisation; endogenous cultural wealth which also includes local economic and productive systems able to interact at national and global level.

Regional law #5—January 16th 1995.


The operative rules for planning are defined by the law. Every planning act and every planning action (both public and private) must be performed after the recognition and definition of these fundamental resources. Planning is based on three, general rules: • First rule: land transformations can transfer resources from one group to another, but cannot reduce, at regional level, the whole value of resources. Moreover, this value should be, as far as possoble, increased. Significant and irreversible reductions in each single category of resources has to be firmly avoided. • Second rule: no new urban site can be developed without the infrastructure system with regard to fundamental resources. This infrastructure system must guarantee: • water protection, which includes adequate water supply and protection; • ground protection, in order to reduce, or at least to leave unchanged, the risk of flooding or landsliding; • solid waste disposal having no relevant negative influences on the land; • accessibility, which must have no negative environmental impact. • Third rule: land is a limited and exhaustible resource. Increasing land use for new urban settlement is allowed only if any alternative in renewal or reorganisation of existing urban sites is impossible. These rules require: • an administrative behaviour centred on quality; • transferring an environmental culture into land management; • co-operation between public and private agents. 2 THE REORGANISATION OF THE RELATIONSHIP AMONG AUTONOMIES The recent national law2 reorganises the planning system among the different levels of local government. It has repudiated the hierarchical principle, followed in the past, according to which land planning was organised as a “cascade of different plans”, each regulating the same piece of land from the many different levels of government. The past structure of the planning system was based on the approval of a plan by the upper level of government. This was a rigid procedure which was able 2

Regional law #142–1990.


neither to show responsibilities nor to solve the contradictions between local and large scale plans. The new law substitutes collaboration among levels of government instead of hierarchical relations. In this new organisation some questions are related to the regional territory as a whole: six or seven major problems that, even if they fall into the area of Provinces or Communes, do not pertain to their authority because, although the actions to be fulfilled are localised in their territories, they have regional or interregional importance. The law specifies these questions in order to avoid conflicts between Provinces and Communes. The issue is not to manage border line problems, but to take decisions about peculiar objects such as ports, airports, railways and whatever the law will state. In conclusion the new regional law aims to overcome a confused decision system of land management by regulating the levels of decision and the contents of the plans. 3 THE LEVELS OF DECISION Region, Province and Commune are the three levels of decision in the Italian decentralised structure of land planning management. Three main objectives have been pursued by the new Tuscan law for organising their tasks and responsibilities. The first objective to achieve is co-ordination among sectors because sector policies are pursued separately. Land is the arena where all sector policies must be confronted.3 However, land-planning cannot be considered as a dominant discipline. Land-planning is a sector which deals with specific problems: the land, on the contrary, is a global resource pertaining to all sectors. The meaning of land as a global resource can be explained with the following example. A hill can be seen as an ore deposit by a mining company, as a resource by a farmer, as an obstacle by somebody who has to cross it for making infrastructures, as an eco-system to protect by an environmentalist. All of them consider the same hill under sectorial, often conflicting viewpoints. The hill is a crossing issue with respect to disciplines and sector policies. Therefore an efficient and conscious use of the hill cannot be limited to land planning disciplines and rules which are only concerned with urban settlement policies. Land can be handled by land-management which uses methods, derived from different disciplinary approaches, able to describe, investigate and forecast 3

Regional law #26–1992.


the effects of choices. Land use and control is a matter of land management, this means that every sectorial decision must be evaluated with respect to land resources. The new land management law requires the description and comparison of the effects of all sector policies with respect to land resources, i.e. all choices must be evaluated. The assumption of sustainable development as a main goal suggests that future generations should have the same development possibilities as the present one. This is achieved by avoiding one dominant single point of view on the exploitation of land resources. This implies knowledge and the required knowledge can change on the basis of the chosen viewpoint. If we observe the aforementioned hill from the viewpoint of a miner, one can focus on the physical resource and on its quantities, not on other aspects which are important according to different interests. Therefore every sector has its own knowledge approach. Institutions have to build up a system by which each sector policy can offer its contribution, locating the resources, their vulnerability, their possibility of being reproduced, the relation between actual and other possible uses and the (present and future) capability of controlling the effects of a certain policy. The co-ordination among sectors is the main innovative issue that has been introduced, for that reason the new law is called “a land-management law” and not “a land-planning one”. This is, in fact, the fundamental radical change that has been operated. The second objective to achieve is the co-ordination among public players and between them and private players. This means to overcome the basic misunderstanding characterising the Italian land-planning culture for some time, i.e. the State is the only player who is able to take decisions about land management. Until now land plans have been nothing but the synthesis of many fragmented decisions. The effective land planning policy pursued by the local government in charge was hidden and difficult to understand by citizens, who need clear government programmes and statements to be able to judge both what has to be done and what has been done at the end of the administrative mandate. Citizens are mostly interested in life quality enhancements, in living better in towns located in more efficient surroundings, where they can enrich and develop their own interests. Collectives are looking for clear and comprehensible decision systems. In this situation the relationship between public and private players does not have to be feared or ignored, but it is a substantial aspect which should become transparent and submitted to the judgement of Collectives. The third objective of the law is to achieve the co-ordination of technical and economic resources, and the knowledge required to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in managing them by means of information systems. Although there is the need to sustain the autonomy of each level of government and their collaborative relations, the new law stresses the importance of unitary and systematic planning tools and on their technical and administrative management. This means paying attention to the information system.


The main role of an information system in the field of planning is more than just acquiring information. It is intended to make information circulate among all the players, at every level of the land management scale. Moreover, this framework should be organised in such a way that every player can easily and rapidly change and implement it. Its construction and management is under the responsibility of the regional authority, because the territorial information system —covering the whole extension of the Region—requires unitary competencies. Moreover there is a need to integrate the communal, provincial and regional technical structures during the formation of the planning instruments and the setting up of proposals to be later evaluated by the organisms responsible for taking decisions. Doing so will make it possible to: • reduce diseconomies produced by repetitions and fragmentation of technical procedures. This is obtained by integrating structures and available knowledge and by reducing the need for external technical advice (especially required by small Communes); • reduce administrative wasted time, after the decision is taken. 4 THE RULES AND THE ACTIONS FOR PROPER LAND MANAGEMENT: THE REGIONAL AND PROVINCIAL LEVELS There are two major tools for land management at regional level. • The first one is the law, with the rules that have to be applied; • The second one is the economic programming, indicating the actions that have to be realised. The Regional Development Plan (P.R.S.) and the Land Policy Plan (P.I.T.) state the actions to be carried out in the time period by the Region—the actions which have strategic and structural character, i.e. the law isolates the main regional problems that the Region’s Government intends to pursue directly. At provincial level the planning functions are established by the law. On the basis of these functions the Province can plan and realise its land policy. The rules are the core of the management activity at provincial level. The Territorial Co-ordination Plan (P.T.C.) fixes the provincial land management framework of the land resources that can be used within a certain time period. The provincial authority has therefore to define their ranges of use as well as the degree of their vulnerability, with respect to their compatible uses. The recognition of compatible uses will be carried out by means of a systematic evaluation.


In order to protect the full autonomy of Municipalities to govern their territories and to guarantee the control of global effects, on the natural, social and economic environment it is necessary to define clearly those aspects of land planning which do not pertain to the Municipality’s responsibility. At the same time it is necessary to co-ordinate land development at regional and provincial level by an efficient framework. In the past this organisation and institutional framework was confused and contradictory. Now the land planning framework of the Municipality has only two references: the new law for the land-management and the P.T.C., drawn up by the Province. The P.T.C. represents the link between the global choices at the regional level, and the local choices of Municipalities. The P.T.C. fixes the requirements for the communal planning in order to guarantee a sustainable development and the compatibility with higher level planning instruments. Moreover the P.T.C. is thought to be the reference instrument to test the environmental compatibility for plans and projects built up by various players at different institutional levels. It contains, in fact, a detailed information of essential land resources, related to their degree of vulnerability. It is essentially a sort of balance sheet of resources on the basis of which every territorial choice has to be confronted. 5 THE LOCAL AUTHORITY PLAN The Municipality plan has to be able to interact with the wide-area planning taken by the upper local government levels. Therefore the Municipality has to take part in the general land-management process. The Master Plan (P.R.G.) specifies the statements held by the provincial P.T.C., but at the same time it must be able to modify it as required by local conditions. In fact, the local collective has to be allowed to propose modifications to the planning tools which are set up by authorities of upper levels. Therefore the master plan holds those elements which are needed for interacting with these upper levels. The Master Plan is an operative tool related to day by day management. Together with the traditional elements connected with land ownership, it holds the necessary conditions to achieve goals such as efficient mobility, protected and qualified environment, sustainable development. All of them must be in accordance with the objectives of the main law. The Master Plan is structured into two parts having different validity: the socalled structural part and the operative part. The structural part holds the long term strategic choices of the collective which become effective only through the operative part. This part establishes land uses, locations and building possibilities. This requires that the need and the feasibility of land transformations have to be proved i.e. evaluated. These parts of operative land management represent the


project for land transformations drawn up by every newly elected local government. Until now the P.R.G. was structured as a single instrument. According to the new system it is structured in three different tools which integrate with each other, on the basis of these three factors: • first, planning restrictions and regulations on land usage became obsolete in five years. According to the previous land-planning laws, they were for an undetermined period. • secondly, in long term operative management at local level, the feasibility of planning actions can only be sustained on economic and financial bases. • thirdly, the land-management tools which are valid for an indeterminate time period are contradictory and inadequate because of the long time consuming procedures for their approval. 6 THE STRUCTURE OF THE NEW MASTER PLAN At this point it is worth examining the master plan (P.R.G.), according to the rules of the regional law #5–1995. The P.R.G. is the planning tool by which the Municipality controls the use and transformation of its own land resources, i.e. those resources which are related to the sustainable development framework as stated by the first article of the law. The P.R.G. is structured in three parts: the Structural Plan, the Town-planning Code and the Program for Integrated Interventions, the latter one being optional. 7 THE STRUCTURAL PLAN (P.S.) The P.S. holds the strategic choices for managing the communal territory. It contains detailed information needed to determine possible land uses and goals to be pursued. It is necessary to underline both the systematic nature of this plan, and its structure of knowledge of the environmental, urban, infrastructural and functional aspects. The objective of this plan is to recognise the goals for future actions. It substantially represents the result of the strategic decision process yielded by the local community by means of its institutions. This part of the P.S. is the main planning act, which contains the courses of action to be performed, the information parameters and the elements needed for evaluating environmental effects, i.e. the necessary conditions to achieve a compatible development. Therefore the P.S. is both a target-oriented representation and an oriented description of the territory of the Commune. Some constant or unchangeable elements can be recognised in the whole planning activity of a territory, i.e. areas characterised by the same physical nature, history, culture, even when the


planning action is held by different political majorities. These constant aspects have never been radically changed during several cycles of planning activity. This element of continuity and constant rationality characterises the P.S. The local authority has to identify these unchangeable elements which become the general rules for the land development. Their characteristics together with the rules for their use must then be defined. The P.S. has therefore to fix the maximum allowable dimensions for urban settlements, their functions, infrastructures and necessary services, i.e. the quantities of buildings to be located in every area of the territory and the standard level to be achieved in land rehabilitation. The P.S. does not only contain static, abstract timeless rules, but it states also the course of actions to be accomplished, according to a predetermined time table like infrastructures to be realised or the territorial sites to be rehabilitated before starting any new town expansion. The courses of action are intended to guarantee the observance of the fundamental land-planning rules held by the law. Moreover, in order to guarantee the observance of the fundamental rule of sustainable development, the P.S. establishes rules for evaluating environmental effects. If the validity of the plan cannot be justified by the control and approval of an upper institutional level, the plan has to establish the necessary rules to carry out clear and reliable evaluations because it is no longer self-sustained. According to this the plan evaluation is no more an abstract exercise carried out on the basis of the disciplinary planning rules, but it becomes a precise procedure based on explicit criteria, so that every observer can perceive its coherence and worth. The information for evaluating environmental effects has to be a priori defined. This is also meant to prevent expensive and difficult environmental evaluation procedures for each single project. At the various phases of the operative planning, the evaluation process will be easier if the evaluation rules and procedures are detailed and precise. 8 THE TOWN-PLANNING CODE (R.U.) At communal level the second tool for managing land is represented by the town planning code. The new law splits the strategic elements, which have to stay rather stable, from the everyday contents, with an operative character, which has to be accurately defined and, at the same time, remain flexible. This will allow the local authority to efficiently manage the planning activity. Procedures needed to realise airports, highways, large infrastructures, or big urban settlements, do not require the same time required by small transformations which represent hundreds of ‘daily’ changes to the master plan. The issue is how to structure these changes without losing the global coherence of the plan. It is clear the need to provide for a grid (which the P.S.


introduced by the new law), in order to guarantee the coherence with the basic rules and with those elements that are recognised by the collective as invariable. The R.U. locates the areas where building completion and increases in building dimensions are allowable because physiological land transformations do not require detailed economic programming or co-ordination among players and resources. Therefore the R.U. locates the areas for primary and secondary urban infrastructures (determined by standardised procedure) and the small areas to be transformed. Transformations controlled by the R.U. do not considerably change the structure of the town. They need only a very low co-ordination and do not need close control, because they represent moderate growth connected to the reorganisation of existing urban sites. 9 THE INTEGRATED INTERVENTION PROGRAMME (P.I.I.) The third fundamental tool proposed by the law is the Programme for Integrated Intervention which is, probably, one of its main innovations. The P.I.I. is defined as the mayor’s plan, being strongly related to the new authority power that mayors have received by the new electoral law. The P.I.I. is an optional instrument by means of which the local administration locates the land transformations intended to be accomplished during its mandate according to the P.S. statements. In particular it concerns the transformations which need a programmed intervention for their relevance or complexity. This situation reflects the aim of an administration to carry out relevant and complex transformations which involve the co-operation of both private players and public authority. The P.I.I. is peculiar for large cities, where every planned transformation requires a programmed execution. The period of validity of the P.I.I. is the same as the administrative mandate. Substantially it represents the system of linked transformations that a new elected administration aims to perform within the limit of its mandate. The P.I.I. only pertains to certain parts of the territory and it ends together with the administrative mandate. Clearly the choices established in the P.I.I. can be confirmed by a successive mandate, but there is the need to approve a new P.I.I. again. Concreteness and feasibility become absolutely relevant for this programme. It makes explicit the management ability of an administration with respect to the usage of land resources: a P.I.I. can be measured on the basis of the ratio between initial goals and final achievements. For this reason it contains the location of land resources to be used, the evaluation of expected effects (on environment, dwellings, social system and economy) and the financial and economic evaluation for land planning interventions, with particular regard to local public finance.


It is worth stressing that the P.I.I. is the operative plan of all the choices to be performed during the administrative mandate so that every member of the collective can check their validity. In short, it is a plan by which the management ability of an administration can be verified.

Policies for the management of a polluted urban environment: a study of the city of Wuhan, China John G.Taylor South Bank University, London SE1 0AA, UK

ABSTRACT This paper outlines the main environmental issues facing China in its current phase of development, and analyses the environmental laws, regulations, control and monitoring systems that have been developed to deal with these issues. It examines the ways in which comprehensive legal and monitoring systems co-exist with increasing degradation of the urban environment, and asks how means can be found to improve policies in an ongoing context of financial and resource constraint. These problems are addressed through an investigation of environmental policies in one of China’s largest industrial cities—Wuhan. It is argued that changes can be made in the city’s environmental monitoring and control, and that these can provide reasonably simple, cost-effective ways of improving air quality in the city. Whilst substantial and widespread environmental improvements await industrial restructuring and a secure access to alternative sources of energy, the changes suggested could lead to more immediate alleviation, whilst also providing a framework within which longer-term changes can be implemented. Keywords: environmental pollution, policies, laws, management, control, monitoring, urban expansion 1 INTRODUCTION: THE ENVIRONMENTAL CONTEXT In recent years, much has been written on the relatively rapid process of industrialisation in the Chinese economy, and on the impact of this process on the country’s social structure. Within this writing, there has been a growing focus on environmental issues, whose seriousness is readily apparent to anyone visiting either the Chinese city or countryside. Although China has a long historical record of dealing successfully with ecological problems in its rural economy, it is currently facing forms of environmental degradation for which it is neither adequately equipped or prepared, thrust upon it by the very rapidity of


its industrial growth. Industrialisation in developing countries with low per capita incomes, growing populations, and large rural sectors has been accompanied by widespread environmental pollution, and China is no exception. The air in most Chinese cities is heavily polluted by particulates and sulphur dioxide; most waste water from industries and cities is dumped untreated into rivers and lakes; solid industrial and domestic waste is piled on city boundaries; drinking water in most cities is polluted, with shortages exacerbated by industrial overuse of ground water. In the rural sector, the spread of market reforms has been accompanied by an excessive use of fertilisers and pesticides, a deterioration in irrigation and drainage systems, overgrazing, and soil erosion, leading to a substantial degradation and loss of natural ecosystems. Whilst writers and commentators have highlighted China’s growing environmental degradation, few have given adequate credit to the attempts that have been made to alleviate them in recent years (1). China has an impressive array of environmental laws covering in detail most areas of pollution, and it has established an institutional framework through which these laws and regulations can be implemented, and environmental conditions monitored. Whilst China provides us with an example of the adverse environmental effects of rapid industrialisation, it also provides an excellent example of the types of laws and institutions that need to be created to deal with these effects. The key problem for Chinese society in its current phase of development, however, is that these laws do not seem to be being implemented adequately, in either the industrial or agricultural sectors. Unless solutions are found to this problem of implementation, attempts to alleviate degradation will continue to be hampered. The tentative analysis offered in this paper addresses this particular problem of implementation, and, through a recent study (2) of environmental controls in one of China’s main industrial cities—Wuhan, tries to suggest ways in which implementation could be improved in one area of environmental degradation, namely atmospheric pollution. 2 ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES China faces serious urban environmental problems in the quality of both its air and water. Additionally, it faces emerging problems from acidification, the emission of greenhouse gases, and solid and hazardous waste disposal. Of the approximately 40,000 million tons of wastewater poured annually into lakes and rivers, about 30% is treated (3). 70% of this waste water comes from industrial sources. Around 25% of all fresh water is polluted (4). In urban areas, according to surveys undertaken in 1990 (5), 80% of surface water is polluted, mostly with nitrogen and ammonia. Of China’s 27 main rivers, 15 are seriously polluted, and most lakes in and around the major cities act as dumping grounds for untreated urban sewage and industrial waste, to the extent that many of them have become eutrophic. Whilst river and lake pollution are the most important


areas for concern, increasing amounts of industrial waste are being dumped into the sea. Whilst there were only 12 red tides in 1989, by 1992 they had increased to 50 per year (6). Approximately 40% of urban Chinese have access to safe drinking water (7). Reliable data for solid waste disposal are less contemporary than for water pollution, but a 1988 survey (8) concluded that 6.6 billion tons of untreated solid waste had built up on the fringes of China’s cities, occupying 55,400 hectares of land. 80% of this waste came from industrial and energy sources, and contained toxic wastes, capable of contaminating the ground water supply. Rubbish is usually tipped into unlined dumps, many of which are close to sources of water (9). Recently, a 1992 survey concluded that total accumulations of waste in urban areas had declined, but this probably conceals recent trends to remove waste from cities to rural areas (10). In Guangdong and neighbouring provinces, one can see rubbish tipped by the roadside or covering fields. In Liaoning province, in the northeast of China, agricultural fields occupied by industrial waste totalled 20% of the province’s cultivated area in 1991; the figure for Guangdong was 8–10% (11). Currently, there is virtually no equipment available in China to treat urban waste, of which approximately 29% is recycled (12). In assessing the current extent of atmospheric pollution, we need to focus on three areas—emissions of particulates, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide— together with a brief account of acidification levels. Examining these separately enables us to understand the particular reasons for the poor quality of the air in Chinese cities. Particulate pollution is the main air pollutant in most Chinese cities, where levels are high in comparison both with cities of comparable size in other countries (13), and in relation to World Health Organisation standards (for example: annual average TSP is 526 micrograms/m3 in the north of China and 318 micrograms/m3 in the south, compared with WHO guidelines of 60–90 micrograms/m3). This is largely due to the country’s high dependence on coal; in 1990, for example, three quarters of China’s energy was produced by burning coal (as compared with 53% for India, 18–19% for Europe and Japan, and 24% for the United States (14)), which was responsible for 69% of particulate emissions (15). Most coal has a high sulphur content, is unwashed, and consumed directly—most of it being burned in small and medium-size furnaces. Additionally, the mixing height for emissions is low, producing inversions in urban areas. As industrialisation proceeds, additional elements have been found in particulate pollution, such as benzene-soluble matter, lead, zinc, copper, magnesium arsenic, and cadmium. Although recent data suggest that particulate levels have fallen since the mid eighties (16), they do not include unmeasured releases from rural areas. Since the growth rate of industries at and below township level increased from 10.5% to 31.8% of total manufacturing output between 1980 and 1990, (17) total particulate emission is probably greater than suggested in the figures.


As one would expect from the heavy dependence on coal, sulphur dioxide emissions are high; China is ranked third in the world on sulphur dioxide emissions, behind the Commonwealth of Independent States and the United States. In urban areas, the combination of domestic coal-burning with coal use in power plants and industrial boilers has contributed to SO2 levels of 97 micrograms/m3 in the north of the country, and 90 micrograms/m3 in the south; WHO guidelines suggest 40–60 micrograms/m3 as the tolerance level. According to a recent study by the World Bank (18), China’s cities have some of the highest SO2 readings in the world. This is evidenced in plans currently underway to bring sulphur dioxide levels in all northern cities down to below 130–150 micrograms/m3 by the year 2000 (19), and in higher rates of respiratory diseases and lung cancer in urban areas (20). Nitrogen oxide emissions—65% of which come from the burning of coal—are not yet at serious levels within China. Indeed, limited evidence suggests that they have not increased between 1980 and the early 1990s (21). However, with the rapid introduction of automobiles into China (currently estimated at 15 million vehicles by the year 2000), nitrogen oxide levels will increase rapidly, particularly in urban areas. China is also the largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the Asian region, producing almost half of the world’s emissions total. With the shift to passenger cars, these levels can only increase. Using a “business as usual” scenario, the World Bank estimates that, by the year 2100, China’s CO2 emissions will have increased ninefold, and that it will be emitting more CO2 than from all countries combined in 1990 (22). Given existing emissions of sulphur dioxide, combined with nitrogen oxide, it is hardly surprising that levels of acidification have increased in recent years. The effects of acid rain are most serious in southern provinces such as Guangxi, Sichuan and Guangdong, where approximately half of the rainfall is now acidic. Many of China’s southern cities have rain with pH values of 4.0–4.5 (23). 3 ENVIRONMENTAL LEGISLATION Faced with these formidable environmental problems, the Chinese government has developed an impressive array of laws. Following the introduction of a comprehensive environmental protection law in 1979 (24), further laws have been introduced, covering most areas, from atmospheric, water and coastal pollution to work place noise. These laws have been accompanied by detailed sets of regulations for each of these areas, with national, provincial and city requirements. To deal with atmospheric pollution, for example, urban areas are divided into zones, each of which must meet specific air quality standards, in relation to levels of TSP, dust, SO2, NOx and CO. Standards are set at national, provincial and city levels for daily, monthly and annual average emissions. Accompanying such laws is a comprehensive institutional framework for their


implementation. The National Environmental Protection Agency oversees a network of provincial, county and municipal bureaux, monitoring pollution standards and overseeing a fairly rigorous system of permits, fees, fines, compensation payments, and environmental impact assessments specified in the regulatory system. The total number of staff employed in these bureaux is large by any standard (25). 3.1 Implementation Despite this comprehensive legal and institutional framework, with its accompanying set of environmental requirements, incentives and penalties, it remains the case—as we have seen—that China’s urban pollution problems are worsening. Energy continues to be produced with technically outmoded equipment, using sources that are seriously degrading both air and water. How are we to explain this? The first, and perhaps the easiest answer, is that pollution levels are increasing because more and more industries are able to evade controls. The primary beneficiaries of the industrial market reforms have been enterprises at the township level and below. Their output in 1990, for example, was nearly ten times that of 1980, compared with 2.5 times for enterprises above the township level. From 1980 to 1990, the contribution of these town and village industrial enterprises (TVIEs) to total industrial output rose from 10.5% to 31.8% (26). Due primarily to the speed with which they emerged in the early 1980s as a result of the introduction of market reforms, they are the least regulated in China, and are more or less able to set their own conditions of production. TVIEs use outdated technology, and their level of engineering design and construction is very low. Although they seem to be responsible for much of the atmospheric pollution outside the main towns and cities, and have little in the way of control equipment, their emissions remain unmeasured—largely because they are so dispersed. Clearly, this is a case of environmental control and monitoring being unable to keep up with the effects of an extremely rapid process of market-led industrialisation. This, however, is probably not the main source of evasion in the industrial sector. Despite the rapid growth of TVIEs, the state sector still produces approximately 48% of China’s industrial output, and despite the controls imposed on it, evasion is still widespread. This may be due to inconsistencies within the pollution levy system, but—more generally—it may also result from long-established alliances set up between local officials and enterprise managers, enabling enterprises to negotiate or bargain their way around regulations, and—more specifically—sanctions. Secondly, it appears that environmental standards are more lax in some provinces and municipalities than others. Despite the setting of national standards for air and water quality, it seems that regional interpretation of these standards can vary considerably. Little has been written on this, but, in a country

Fig. 1 Map of China.



of China’s size, it is clearly important, and there is a need to investigate the reasons for this variation. Thirdly, there remains the conventional response from urban industrial enterprises, that the cost of introducing pollution-abating equipment is too high, given current constraints imposed by cuts in state subsidies, market competition, and rapid replacement of outmoded technological equipment. Clearly, this has some validity, but behind it lies a reluctance to introduce least-cost strategies which are increasingly becoming available, and one has to ask why this is the case. Addressing these problems—of evasion, uneven implementation, and a reluctance to devise least-cost strategies—will be crucial for the management of China’s urban environmental problems in the coming years. Additionally, they are also faced by environmental management in other developing countries, particularly in East and Southeast Asia. Our analysis of atmospheric pollution and its control in one of China’s largest industrial cities—Wuhan, in a project begun just over a year ago, has enabled us to begin to investigate these problems in some detail. In the remainder of this paper, I will outline the city’s particular environmental problems, assess current policies for their management and control, and analyse general issues emerging from suggestions to improve them, in relation to the problem areas outlined above. 4 THE CASE STUDY Wuhan is an inland port city, situated in the centre of Hubei province and of Central China, on the middle reaches of the Yangtze River. It is 700 miles downriver to the west of Shanghai, with Beijing 800 miles north, and Guangzhou 650 miles southward. Strategically located at the main crossing point on the Yangtze river, it is a critical communications and transport hub, and a commercial entrepot. With a population of 6.92 million (1993), it is the sixth largest city in China, and one of the country’s most important industrial centres. Its main industries are textiles, machine building and metallurgy, chemicals, electronics and automobiles, located in some of the largest industrial enterprises in the country. In the 1980s light industries were added to its heavy industrial base; currently, light and heavy industry comprise 29.5% and 70.5% of its total industrial output of 57,720 billion RMB (US$ 6,711 billion) (27). In 1993, Wuhan absorbed foreign investments totalling US$379 million—an increase of 80% from the previous year, placing it first amongst China’s inland cities in terms of foreign investment, and seventh amongst China’s open cities. Economically, its position will strengthen in the coming years, with the development of the Yangtze river valley, in tandem with the construction of the Sanxia (Three Gorges) Dam (Fig. 1). Politically, Wuhan has a tradition of strong support for the communist party, and a reputation for being overly-bureaucratic in its decision-making. It hosts


one of the country’s most important centres for research on environmental law, at Wuhan University. In co-operation with researchers in Wuhan, our project aims both to investigate the types and degree of water and atmospheric pollution in the city, and to assess the efficacy of current controls and their management, with recommendations for improvements in institutional and enterprise implementation. Our findings on pollution levels—which seem to vary somewhat from official data available—can be presented briefly, in relation to the general picture presented above. 4.1 Water and air quality The city has high levels of emissions of particulates, sulphur dioxide, and nitrogen oxide. Its dustfall levels are high, and much of its wastewater is untreated. A few brief examples can illustrate these points. Despite the city’s claim to remove 89.9% of its suspended particulate matter (through technologies using filters and—to a much lesser extent—electronic precipitators), daily average levels of 323 micrograms/m3 (hereafter m/m3) and 383 m/m3 are found, respectively, in the industrial and commercial areas (28). These compare with average levels of 403 m/m3 in China’s northern cities and 243 m/m3 in southern cities (29). In comparison, the official “acceptable” Chinese standard is 300 m/ m3 (30), and the World Health Organisation (WHO) standard, 90 m/m3. Given the high sulphur content of the coal used in the city’s enterprises, one would expect high levels of sulphur dioxide; additionally—depending upon which data one takes—little of the sulphur content is removed, with figures varying from 9– 28%. Hence, daily average levels are 37 m/m3 in industrial, and 117 m/m3 in commercial areas. Average levels in northern cities are 97 m/m3, and in southern cities, 90 m/m3, with the acceptable Chinese standard at 60, the same as that adopted by the WHO. Nitrogen oxide levels are also high, with levels of 55 m/ m3 for industrial, and 147 m/m3 for commercial areas. The acceptable Chinese standard is 100 m/m3. About 36% of the city’s wastewater is treated (compared with a national average of 30%); most of this treatment appears to be by industrial users, who treat 74% of their industrial wastewater whilst most domestic wastewater remains untreated. Actual treatment, however, seems to be lower, in that 26% of the waste does not meet existing standards (compared with 40% nationally). Additionally, when the Wuhan Environmental Protection Bureau undertook a survey of 29 wastewater treatment facilities in 22 of the city’s enterprises, in September, 1994, it found that only 55% were operating satisfactorily. All these examples are based on data from the city’s main industrial enterprises, and do not include the small, rural enterprises which have mushroomed on the city’s periphery in the last decade. Little is known on the polluting impact of these industries, but what is available indicates that


they present additional problems. In limited data from 1990 and 1991 (31), it seems that only 28.2% of their wastewater was treated, with only 19% meeting the city’s emission standards; similarly, purification of industrial waste gas was a mere 6.83%. 4.2 Municipal monitoring To deal with these levels of water and atmospheric pollution, in addition to the national provisions outlined above, Wuhan has at is disposal an array of provincial and city-level laws and regulations, implemented by institutions with wide powers to monitor and sanction. For example: at the provincial level, there are detailed laws on environmental management, together with specific regulations on urban noise control, emission levels, environmental impact assessment, pollution levies, fines, waste disposal and the management of town and village enterprises. At the municipal level, there are additional regulations dealing with environmental impact assessments in city areas, water management of river zones, smoke-dust control, industrial relocation, transportation of solid waste, the issuing of permits, the raising of levies and fines, and—as one would expect, given the city’s heavy industrial base—detailed provisions on emissions of sulphur and the operation of industrial boilers (32). These laws and regulations are implemented by a Municipal Environmental Commission and Bureau, which oversee bureaux in each of the city’s counties and districts. In addition, since the mid 1980s, many industrial enterprises have set up their own environmental protection departments. Chinese cities are ranked nationally for the quality of their environmental management and monitoring systems; in recent years, Wuhan has always been ranked within the top ten places. Despite this, one might be tempted to conclude that environmental management has not been that effective, given present levels of pollution. How, then, has the system of monitoring and control operated? What lessons can be learned from it for other Chinese cities, and, more generally, for Asia’s megacities? 4.3 Pollution control Clearly, a city like Wuhan has a difficult legacy. It bears all the hallmarks of its role as a leading city in China’s heavy industrialisation in the 1950s. Up to the mid 1970s, investment in the city amounted to 5.3% of total national investment, and most of this went into heavy industry. Around 40% of the machinery used in its large state enterprises dates from the 1950s and early 1960s, and much of its more recent equipment is relatively crudely made, with low precision and backward performance (33). Some of its large, backbone enterprises have undergone no serious renovation since the early 1950s. Many machinery parts


cannot be used interchangeably, making repair and maintenance problematic. Buildings are large and crowded, and raw material supply is often disrupted. In the machine building and metallurgy sector, Wuhan turns out 4–5, 000 products, but only 3.5% of these met international standards in the 1980s. Despite an expansion of light industries in the early 1980s (34), and a recent rapid growth in the electronics sector, Wuhan remains dominated by heavy industry. Buildings are large and crowded, boilers and blast furnaces are inefficient and still depend on low-quality coal, and only a small percentage of very fine particulates (less than 10 microns) are removed—leading to health problems, and contributing to the city’s poor visibility. This legacy, combined with a rapid expansion of unregulated industries on the city’s periphery, requires an introduction of new technologies, both to control existing levels of pollution and to meet new pressures on air quality from the growth of automobile use in the city. However, despite the city’s claims, and the apparent strength of the management and monitoring systems, it is clearly the case that a lack of funds for investment will slow further progress on pollution control for at least the next decade. The issue for the city, therefore, is how to make available funds productive; how to use the environmental protection system to allocate money cost-effectively to priority areas; and how to improve environmental policy to maximise efforts at pollution control and prevention. Since the restructuring of its industrial base into less polluting manufacturing and service industries can only be undertaken over a very long-term period, environmental policy formulation and implementation are absolutely crucial in the city’s attempts to control pollution. 4.4 Policy issues What, then, can we learn from our analysis that will assist in improving the operation of policies for managing and controlling atmospheric pollution? In examining this issue, we should recall our earlier, general conclusions on policy implementation, highlighting the issues of evasion, uneven implementation, and an unwillingness to introduce least-cost strategies. Since our project is in its midterm, our conclusions are necessarily somewhat tentative. Within Wuhan, environmental controls operate mainly through the imposition of emission standards, together with a levy system. Enterprises are charged a fee for violating emissions standards. The fee is calculated on the basis of the polluting constituent that exceeds the standard by the greatest amount. The difference between the measured concentrations and the standard for that constituent is multiplied by a fee to arrive at the amount of the fine to be levied. If a polluter misrepresents emission levels, the fine is doubled, and repeated polluters can be closed down. Most of the fines collected in this system are retained by the city to improve pollution control. This system appears reasonably satisfactory, but when one examines its operation, problems begin to emerge.


The fee is usually much less than the marginal cost of the treatment required to meet the emissions standard. Consequently, most firms pay the fee rather than investing in new treatment equipment. Additionally, since enterprises are charged fees equal to the maximum owed on the most polluting constituent, there is an in-built tendency to continue emitting until the level of the most polluting pollutant is reached. Furthermore, enterprises are allowed to incorporate the cost of the fee in the final price charged for the commodity produced, and—in some cases—abatement costs can be met by the municipality. Paying a fee qualifies the enterprise for low-cost loans to improve controls, but these loans tend to be short-term, and used generally for temporary, “end-of-pipe” controls. Finally, by using contacts that have been built up with municipal departments over many years, enterprise managers can “negotiate” a postponement of exemptions through a verbal commitment to future abatement. In addition to levies, environmental controls also operate through the implementation of a “responsibility system”, in which all state enterprises are involved. In this system, the enterprise signs a contract with the municipality to meet specific goals, some of which are environmental. Attainment of these goals enables the enterprise to achieve status levels that will grant it greater autonomy —notably in profit retention and control of foreign exchange. However the system is voluntary, and for many enterprises in the city the size of the financial incentive is too small to persuade them to invest in pollution reduction. Here again, the system appears reasonable, but tends to be less effective in its operation. As with the levy system, it can be implemented unevenly, the scope for evasion is wide, and there are few real incentives to improve controls. Incentives to reduce pollution are also weakened by a pricing system that encourages resource-wasteful technology. Raw materials such as coal and water are purchased at very low prices, enabling the continued use of inefficient energy-consuming technologies. This can be seen in the city’s ratio of energy consumption to its gross domestic product, higher than a national average which is itself twice as high as that for OECD states. Finally, hardly any controls appear to be applied to the town and village industrial enterprises on the city’s periphery and surrounding area. Despite their very low treatment levels—outlined above—there seems to be little monitoring, no available data, and no serious attempt to apply the levy system. Although their dispersal, regular relocation and rapid growth go some way to explaining monitoring difficulties, there has also been local pressure to treat TVIEs less strictly, since they contribute substantially to local tax revenues. 4.5 Policy directions: proposals and constraints Given these limitations, what suggestions can be made for improvements in control and monitoring, recalling our earlier discussion of the constraints


imposed by limited funds for investment and lack of alternative sources of energy? At this stage of our research, it seems that improvements can be suggested in a number of areas. Clearly, there is considerable scope for improving the levy system, leading to increases in revenue for funding more efficient technologies. Fees could be increased gradually until they reached the marginal cost of control for each pollutant, thereby encouraging improvements in maintenance and operation. Fees could also be paid from profits, rather than being passed on in price increases. To achieve this enterprises would have to be allowed to retain a greater proportion of their profits than is presently the case. Fees paid into the fund could generate loans—rather than grants—for longer-term solutions, such as greater energy efficiency, plant renovation, and low-waste generating technology, instead of shorter-term, end-of-pipe solutions. However, this is easier said than done. If given greater autonomy, many of Wuhan’s state enterprises would not survive the ensuing increase in competition—both with each other and with enterprises from other Chinese cities—for investment, markets and access to raw materials. The city would also have difficulties coping with the social impact of the accompanying increases in unemployment and the dismantling of the welfare services currently provided by enterprises to their workforce. Consequently, what seems to be the most obvious, immediate solution, could only have a chance of success if it was accompanied by a comprehensive plan for the generation of new, less-polluting industries, and for the development of a welfare system to replace current enterprise provision. Given the massive increases in foreign investment in the city in recent years, together with an expansion of industries such as electronics, this may become achievable; at the moment, it could only be achieved at considerable social cost. Gradual implementation within a comprehensively planned and financed restructuring, is, however, a viable solution. Industries’ reliance on polluting, energy-wasteful coal cannot be remedied by using alternative energy sources, such as natural gas, oil, or hydroelectric power, since—as we have noted—they are currently either insufficient or have inadequate infrastructural provision. In twenty years time, Wuhan’s energy needs will be assisted by the construction of the Sanxia (Three Gorges) dam, but—even then—there will still be a heavy reliance on coal. Various commentators (35) have suggested that energy use could be made more efficient through an increase in the price of coal, in an attempt both to get industries to use less, and of a higher quality. Perhaps more relevant and less dramatic in their economic and social impact might be stricter standards applied to the quality of coal, a rigorous monitoring of its washing, and a gradual introduction of a tax on the sulphur content of coal used in industry. Coal prices can be raised gradually, in the longer term, provided that these are accompanied by measures to offset the effects of these increases. Treating coal will also assist in reducing emissions of


fine and ultrafine particulates; despite the city’s relative success in controlling TSP emissions, this remains a problem area. Additional less costly, precombustion policies, could involve a more systematic and thorough scaling of boilers and plants, and a detailed identification of lower-level sources of fine particulate concentration. In addition to improvements in air quality through greater efficiency in energy production and a more rational levying system, there are also possibilities for improving the city’s monitoring system. Despite the regulatory requirement for environmental impact assessment, and the high rates of compliance reported by the Wuhan Environmental Supervision Department (36), it seems that EIAs contain very general statements and are rather weak on detailed commitments. Indeed, thus far, we have only seen two assessments that meet existing requirements in full. This could be because the technical analysis required to prepare the report is lengthy and complicated, but perhaps more relevant is the lack of incentive measures; since the only incentive is to pass through the assessment process, enterprise managers might well conclude that their energies might best be put into negotiating with the municipality to provide general guarantees in their assessments, rather than detailed analyses. This may result in a rather uneven compliance with assessment standards. It is hard to see how assessments can be made standard for new projects in the city unless they are simplified, and managers given incentives for their implementation. Similarly, the planning and inspection undertaken by the city’s protection bureau could be improved at relatively little cost. Although the bureau devises comprehensive plans for enhancing air and water quality, these do not appear to analyse alternative strategies to ensure that environmental targets can be met at least cost, nor do they seem to estimate the costs of investments needed to ensure that controls are affordable. If cost-effective solutions are to be found, planning needs to be developed rather more comprehensively, devising and assessing sets of least-cost management strategies, together with levels of ambient environmental quality associated with these strategies, and the cost of environmental improvements. With regard to inspection, ways have to be found to monitor the bureau’s work, to ensure that regulations are applied uniformly. Recent suggestions that municipal bureaux could be monitored by inspectors appointed at the provincial level (37), probably would not do much to alleviate the evasion and uneven implementation that appears to be found in current practice. Monitoring atmospheric pollution produced by the municipality’s town and village industrial enterprises has proved extremely difficult, for the reasons already outlined. From our limited survey of this area, suggestions for improvement could involve selecting sectors for priority treatment; these could comprise the most serious polluters: casting, smelting, brick-making, chemical and electroplating. Emission levels and pollution levies possibly could be enforced more rigorously if such industries could be located in zoned areas. Incentives to relocate could be provided by the construction of basic


infrastructural facilities, providing access to water and collective waste disposal, offered at subsidised rates in such zones. From our research thus far, it seems that a number of changes can be made in Wuhan’s environmental monitoring and control, and that these could provide reasonably simple, cost-effective ways of improving air quality in the city. Whilst, in the longer-run, substantial and widespread improvements will only be achieved by a considerable increase in investments to restructure the city’s industrial framework and secure access to alternative sources of energy, our tentative suggestions for changes in policy could lead to more immediate alleviation, whilst also providing a framework within which longer-term changes can be more successfully implemented. Such suggestions, however, require examination and discussion with those who would be involved in, and effected by their implementation. Consequently we will only be able to address these suggestions fully at the conclusion of the second phase of our project, involving a detailed investigation of sample enterprises in the city. NOTES AND REFERENCES 1.


3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

For a general introduction to China’s contemporary environmental problems, see Vaclav Smil, China’s Environmental Crisis: An Inquiry into the Limits of National Development, New York, M.E.Sharpe, 1993. For an analysis of current environmental problems and policies, see Richard Louis Edmonds, Patterns of China’s Lost Harmony: a survey of the country’s environmental degradation and protection, London and New York, Routledge, 1994. On Environmental Policies, see Lester Ross, Environmental Policy in China, Bloomington, Indiana Press, 1990. “Policies for the Control of a Polluted Urban Environment: a Case Study of Wuhan, China”. The project is funded with a grant from the Global Environmental Change Programme of the U.K. Economic and Social Research Council. Richard Louis Edmonds, op.cit, 1 above, p. 135. Baruch Boxer, “China’s Environmental Prospects”, Asian Survey, 29, 7:671. Zhu Li (1990), “Protecting water resources”, China Today, August:10–12. Richard Louis Edmonds, op.cit, 1 above, p. 141. Huang Yuanjun and Zhao Zhongxing (1987), “Environmental Pollution and Control Measures in China”, Ambio, 16(5):257–261. World Bank (1992), China Environmental Strategy Paper (Volume 1), Washington, p.xi. For example: The city of Shanghai’s largest dump is located within 200 metres of its major water source, the upper course of the Huangpu. Richard Louis Edmonds, op.cit, 1 above, p. 152. Guojia Tongjyu (ed) (1992), Zhongguo tongji nianjan, pp.326, 823, Beijing, Zhongguo Tongji Chubanshe. World Bank (1992), op.cit., 8 above, p.26. Useful comparisons can be found in World Health Organisation/United Nations Environment Program (1992), Urban Air Pollution in Megacities of the World,


14. 15. 16. 17.

18. 19. 20.


22. 23.

24. 25.

26. 27. 28. 29. 30.

31. 32. 33.

Oxford, Blackwell; also in United Nations Environmental Programme (1993), Environmental Data Report, 1993–4, Part 1, pp. 6–24, Oxford, Blackwell. See World Bank (1992), op.cit., 8, above, p.14. Cao Hongfa (1989) “Air pollution and its effects on plants in China”, Journal of Applied Ecology, 26:7633–73. From 14.6 million tonnes in 1982 to 24.6 in 1985 and 19.90 million tonnes in 1992. See R.L.Edmonds, op.cit., 1 above, p.161. Data taken from Robert Michael Field (1992), “China’s Industrial Performance Since 1978”, The China Quarterly, 131, p.591, London, School of Oriental and African Studies. See World Bank (1991), China: Efficiency and Environmental Impact of Coal Use (Two Volumes), Report No. 8915-CHA, Washington. Eduard B.Vermeer (1990), “Management of environmental pollution in China: problems and abatement policies, China Information, 5, 1:p.43. See Guo Xiaomin, Zhang Huiqin and Li Ping (1990), “The calculation of economic losses from environmental pollution in China”, Zhongguo Huanjing Kexue, 6, 1:51– 9 (in Chinese with English abstract). See Zhao Dianwu and Sun Bozen (1986) “Air Pollution and Acid Rain in China”, Ambio, 15, 1:2–5. Also, R.L.Edmonds, op.cit. 1, above, p. 162. Data from our investigation of atmospheric pollution in Wuhan, however, suggest that nitrogen oxide levels are increasing. World Bank (1992), op.cit. 8, above, pp 25–6. Rainfall with an acidity below 5.6 pH is considered acidic by the World Health Organisation and the United Nations Environmental Programme. For details on acid rain levels in China, see Cao Hongfa (1989), “Air pollution and its effects on plants in China”, Journal of Applied Ecology, 26:763–73. China’s Environmental Protection Law was introduced for a ten-year trial period in 1979, and was fully implemented in 1989. According to the World Bank, China had approximately 54,000 people employed in the Environmental Protection Network in 1991. See World Bank (1990), op.cit., 8 above, Vol. 2, Annex 1, p.6. Robert Michael Field (1992), “China’s Industrial Performance Since 1978”, China Quarterly, 131, School of Oriental and African Studies, London, pp.590–1. This figure is based on an average exchange rate for 1994, of 8.6 Chinese renminbi to the U.S. dollar. Wuhan Nian Jian (Wuhan Yearbook), p. 162. See R.L.Edmonds, op.cit. 1, above, p. 161. Here I am using the standard figure for Class II areas, in which most of Wuhan seems to be classified, with the exception of some of its highly polluted industrial areas. Currently, there are three standards for air quality in China: Class I for pristine areas, such as nature reserves; Class II for most of the country, including urban residential areas; Class III for industrial areas that are already highly polluted. Wuhan Tong Ji Nian Jian (Wuhan Statistical Yearbook), 1991, p. 122, and 1992, p. 127. These laws and regulations are outlined briefly in Wuhan Environmental Protection Bureau (1994), The 20th Anniversary of Wuhan Environmental Protection. To make relative sense of these figures, we can compare them with data from Shanghai during the same twenty year period. Each 100 yuan of fixed assets in


34. 35. 36.


Shanghai produced an output value almost three times higher than that in Wuhan, and supplied profits approximately five times higher than did the same amount of investment in Wuhan. (Data based upon D.J.Sollinger (1991), From Lathes to Looms: China’s Industrial Policy in Comparative Perspective, 1979–1982, California, Stanford University Press, p.63.) This light industrial expansion occurred mostly in commodities such as white goods, bicycles, fans and watches. Most notably the World Bank (1991), China: Efficiency and Environmental Impact of Coal Use (Two Volumes). An analysis in the municipality’s 1993 Yearbook claims a 100% implementation rate for environmental impact assessments for middle and large projects in 1992. However, an investigation carried out by the Wuhan Environmental Supervision Department of 459 industrial enterprises between June 1990 and October 1991 showed an implementation rate of 20.48%. See Wuhan Yearbook (1993), p. 160, and Wuhan Environmental Supervision Department, (1991) “Investigative Report on Pollution Sources of Rural Industries”. See, for example, World Bank (1993), op. cit., 8 above, p.38.

The prajna approach to sustainable construction M.G.Sexton Research Centre for the Built and Human Environment, University of Salford, Salford M5 4WT, UK.

ABSTRACT The construction industry is moving towards the principle of harmonising its activities with environmental considerations to ensure sustainable construction activities. However, it is argued that to date, the translation and operationalisation of this vision has been predominantly based on the underpinning precepts of the existing organisational systems which have supported and encouraged unsustainable construction activities in the first place. This dysfunctional paradox is described as representing change within the system instead of addressing what is really needed, that is, changing the system itself. This incongruity is articulated as being indicative of the prevailing neo-classical tendency to conceptualise and configure the environmental debate as being devoid of organisational context. Environmental management systems, energised with the prajna ruling myth, is presented as a useful platform from which to embed environmental issues within wider, mutually crafting, environmental and organisational contexts. Finally, building upon this theoretical position, a rigorous soft systems methodology is proposed as a practical mechanism to create the permeable organisational boundaries advocated by the prajna ruling myth. The methodology is aimed at enabling organisations (and researchers) to reduce the overall environmental impact, in this particular case, of building and cities, through the creation of a core contingency model of environmental management good practice. Keywords: Construction, organisational behaviour, prajna ruling myth, soft systems, sustainability.


1 INTRODUCTION The mismanagement of the relationship between construction activities and the natural environment has substantially contributed to many of the environmental problems facing this planet (e.g. [1], [2], [3]). It is increasingly argued by a diverse range of commentators that unless there is a fundamental reconceptualisation of the relationship between economic activities in general and the natural environment towards environmentally-sensitive economic, organisational, sociological and technological paradigms, a sustainable society in the 21st century is unlikely (e.g. [4], [5], [6], [7], [8]). The construction industry has always had the ability to produce a built environment which its contemporary society has required, and has played an important part in the development of the human race [9]. This ability has never been so important as now. If the human race is to develop and prosper in the third millennium, organisations both on the supply and demand sides of the construction industry must play their part and develop new organisational perspectives and practices that harmonise their activities with environmental interests to ensure sustainability. The concept of sustainability has many aspects and dimensions. This complexity is reflected in the number and range of definitions for sustainability that exist. However, perhaps the definition which elevated the concept of sustainability to public prominence (and arguably still the most commonly used) was given in the Brundtland report which defined sustainability as, “… development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” [10]. The purpose of this chapter is firstly to present an argument in support of the notion that the prevailing translation and internalisation of this concept of sustainability within construction organisations is predominantly based on the underpinning precepts of the organisational systems which have supported and encouraged unsustainability in the first place. Secondly, environmental management systems (energised with the prajna ruling myth guiding and supporting organisational self-perception and organisational learning and operationalised by a soft systems methodology) is presented as a useful means to assist in undertaking the required organisational change towards embedding environmental issues within wider, mutually crafting, environmental and organisational contexts. 2 A TROUBLED PASSAGE ALONG THE ‘GREEN’ BRICK ROAD TO SUSTAINABILITY Organisations have widely accepted that environmentally-driven changes in both the external business environment and the internal organisational environment


have not only increased the incentive on them to act responsibly and improve their environmental performance, but have also generated considerable opportunities for sustainable competitive advantage through the more effective and efficient use of organisational resources and the creation and support of new markets (e.g. [11], [12]). Furthermore, a plethora of construction industry-orientated guidance has been generated to assist organisations towards environmentally-friendly construction. For example, the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methods have been developed as a means of environmentally labelling a range of buildings (e.g. [13], [14]); the Building Services Research and Information Association has developed an Environmental Code of Practice aimed at reducing the environmental impact of buildings at all stages of their life cycle [15] and the Construction Industry Research and Information Association has published a range of publications offering practical guidance on environmental issues (i.e. [16]). However, in spite of both the apparently convincing pressures and arguments for construction organisations to pursue sustainable activities and the large amount of guidance to help them achieve this, it is suggested that many organisations are not responding positively to the challenge. The House Builders Federation within the UK, for example, is rallying support from other institutions (including the British Roads Federation, the British Property Federation and British Aggregates Construction Materials Industries) to lobby the UK government with the objective of not only highlighting the adverse ‘economic impact’ of sustainability upon their members, but also to question the intrinsic desirability and validity of sustainability itself [17]. The construction industry is not unique in this, on face value, paradoxical response to sustainability, with numerous commentators noting that even though many organisations across a wide range of industrial sectors may generally accept the importance and desirability of sustainability, few organisations are doing anything tangible about it (e.g [18]). 3 COMING EVENTS CAST THEIR SHADOW BEFORE The researcher suggests that the reason for this incongruous phenomenon is that many organisations are predominantly basing their translation and operationalisation of sustainability on the underpinning precepts of the existing organisational systems. In effect, many construction organisations are, at best, formulating, adapting or adopting fragmented environmental management tools and techniques, and bolting them on to existing (and often conflicting) organisational systems and cultures to form ‘end-of-pipe’ solutions. Adapting the concept of first-order change [19] this situation is described as representing superficial change layered on top of an unchanged core organisation instead of addressing what is really needed, that is, changing the core organisation itself.


Fig. 1. The interplay between myth, strategies and reality.

It is suggested that an investigation of why the required change is being blocked will provide not only a better understanding of the complex situation, but also provide useful directional insights into how to overcome these blockages. Hedberg & Jönsson developed a model of organisational change and learning built around the cyclical interplay between myths, strategies and realities [20]. The model, show in Fig. 1 below, suggests that organisations have ruling myths which are theories that generate strategies and actions. Strategies are hypotheses and actions test these hypotheses, verifying or falsifying the ruling myths. Strategies are reformulated when actions do not produce desired outcomes. Similarly, a ruling myth is reformulated if it is challenged by the arrival of a conquering myth. Adapting this model to examine the inconsistent response of many organisations to sustainability, it is argued that the ruling myth in many organisations is the neo-classical model of organisational behaviour. In the neoclassical model, the organisation’s behaviour with respect to the environment follows from the model’s behavioural assumptions. It is assumed that the environmental problem is entirely a market failure and that the organisation’s responsibility is only to structure its activities in such a way as to maximise its current period of profit for the benefit of its owner(s). Indeed, it has been suggested that if organisations accept the neo-classical model, “…then it is positively immoral to sacrifice profits in favour of the environment; rather, it is the government’s role to intervene where environmental risks appear to take precedence over profit making” [21].


Fig. 2. The effect of the neo-classical ruling myth.

This deeply ingrained neo-classical ruling myth spawns organisational strategies that perceive sustainability pressures as a profit lowering factor which should be dealt with by or through defensive actions that incur a minimum of cost. Such actions are perceived to be consistent with the ruling myth, thereby leaving the ruling myth not only unchallenged, but indeed strengthened. This reinforcing cycle, shown in Figure 2, is inducing environmental myopia within many organisations to the degree that they either resist environmental pressures altogether, or introduce fragmented and disjointed environmental ideas and tools as a perceived necessary measure to pursue profit maximisation within the neo-classical ruling myth. Drawing from and adapting the literature on ideologies and beliefs in organisations, this organisational behaviour is consistent with observations that prevailing organisational cultures often inhibit the accommodation of the necessary new beliefs to indicate that (often critical) change is in fact necessary (e.g. [22]), creating and perpetuating the difficulty of organisations not having the relevant ideologies to sense and resolve conflicts between the objectives of the organisation and those of its environment (e.g. [23]).


It is suggested that this prognosis as to why many organisations are not pursuing sustainable trajectories leads to a simple, but nonetheless powerful, potential solution: a culture change driven and supported by a new sustainabilityorientated ruling myth which is geared towards integrating environmental considerations into all organisational decision making processes and activities. This proposal, it is suggested, is in line with much of the literature on strategic management. It has been argued, for example, that successful strategic management is done through the “…construction and maintenance of systems of shared meanings, shared paradigms, and shared languages and culture” [24]. Similarly, the proposal is considered consistent with the organisational change literature. It has been noted, for instance, that organisational cultures are maintained by self-validating processes, and that if organisations are to experience meaningful and lasting change, the existing culture must be invalidated by the creation of new self-validating processes [25]. The need to explicitly link the greening of organisations with a guiding and supportive organisational change, it is argued, is not appreciated within construction organisations themselves nor within much of the environmental management guidance proffered to them by external institutions and organisations. Shrivastava succinctly argues that if organisations are to become truly sustainable in their functioning, there has to be a “…redefinition of our most fundamental ideas of organizations, their objectives, strategies, technologies, structures and culture” [26]. Greater consideration and sensitivity to the change dimension is, however, implicit in much of the prescriptive general environmental management literature. For example, various institutions and commentators have developed well publicised principles and steps for organisations to embody and follow respectively, to allow them to move towards environmental excellence [e.g. [27], [28]); while BS 7750, the British Standards Institution’s standard on environmental management systems, sets out to support industry by providing a generic model that assists organisations to establish, develop and maintain their own purpose-built environmental management system [29]. The researcher respectfully suggests that these (and other similar) prescriptions, although a positive move in the right direction, tend to prescribe desired change outcomes, and do not take due account of the change processes to achieve them. It is argued that if these prescriptions can be directed and supported by a new ruling myth and be dynamically linked to effective and integrated environmental management systems that embody learning paradigms and mechanisms, their full potential can be released and harnessed. 4 THE PRAJNA MYTH: LOOKING IN AT THE OUTSIDE Drawing upon Buddhist and Hindu philosophy (e.g. [30]), the researcher proposes the prajna ruling myth as a means of conquering the prevailing


Fig. 3. The prajna ruling myth.

environment insensitive neo-classical theory of action (see Figure 1). The culture-oriented myth embodies the belief that organisations should continuously strive to learn about and understand their essential unity with the world at large, to be able to develop ‘non-duality’—to simultaneously overview the whole enacted world and be a part of that enacted world. In essence, the prajna myth appreciates the Buddha’s observation that “you are not what you think you are, but what you think, you are”, by promoting organisational self-perception and organisational learning as a means of reducing organisational myopia through the directional and dynamic shaping, translation and internalisation of the concept of sustainability (see Figure 3). It has been suggested that organisational decision making and activities should be supported and driven by a prajna ruling myth which has the benefit of careful and appropriate change management, and that it should be based on the following value-based and stakeholder-based considerations [31]: 1. Value-based: The prajna ruling myth advocates continuous organisational learning centred around the self-perception and integration of sustainability-based values and ethical behaviour within organisational strategies and actions.


2. Organisation/stakeholder partnership-based: The prajna ruling myth advocates a vigorous, holistic and realistic sense of organisational selfperception, stimulated through permeable, learning-orientated organisational boundaries through which both organisational and stakeholder considerations mutually craft one another to form strategies and actions that create an organisational state of dynamic equilibrium. 5 SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED SUPPLE ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS To recapitulate, the prajna ruling myth aims to create an organisational intent to operate in a sustainable fashion; and that this intention can be translated into action by dynamically channelling it through effective and integrated environmental management systems that embody learning paradigms and mechanisms. It is suggested that environmental management systems should be fluid, organic systems which are symbiotically and synergistically embedded in a prajna myth driven culture. Furthermore, it is argued that environmental management systems should be socially constructed through the stimulation and support of continuously learning and evolving social actor networks which “… allows a cumulative buildup of expertise and advice…” [32] through a process of negotiation between different organisational and stakeholder actors which constantly redefines, reframes and resolves aspects of the ‘dominant problem’ (e.g. [33]), in this case the need for sustainable organisational activities. Adopting general contingency theory, it is stressed that there are no universal prescriptions for successful environmental management systems, rather that the system to be applied is contingent upon the prevailing set of circumstances or situations facing the particular organisation. It is suggested that a useful starting point for the development of such systems can be found within the notion of ‘supple systems’ which synthesises and builds upon the often disparate concepts of adaptive, operating, maintenance and information systems [34]. The supple systems approach has been developed within the quality management domain, but can be fruitfully enlarged and refocused towards the continuous improvement of an organisation’s environmental performance. The researcher proposes that a rigorous soft systems methodology can promote and facilitate supple systems through both individual and collective organisational learning. The methodology is particularly adept at creating a fruitful framework within which the dominant stakeholders can enter into meaningful dialogue focused at promoting sustainable construction. For example, Figure 4 identifies the main stakeholders at a construction project level as being clients, users, designers and contractors. Suffice to say, the methodology is sufficiently flexible to represent the main stakeholders in other situations. The iterative learning cycle embodied within the methodology can facilitate efficacious, effective and efficient environmental management systems which


can support the development of a coalition of stakeholders which is committed to environmentally-friendly construction. From this approach, rich strands and fragments of environmental management good practice can be filtered out, processed and recombined through a process of systems condensation [35], to form a core contingency model of environmental management good practice. The core model ensures that the individual streams of environmental management good practice from all of the stakeholders are integrated to form an holistic package that stimulates and facilitates sustainable construction. 6 CONCLUSION In conclusion, it is suggested that the momentum for a sustainability-driven paradigm shift within the theory and practice of management is gathering pace as the conceptual impasse between the prevailing neo-classical model of organisational behaviour and sustainability becomes more apparent. In the parlance of action-learning [36], practitioners and researchers alike need to embrace triple-loop learning, where all stakeholders question and change not only the governing assumptions which underpin construction activities, but also change the embedded socio-economic system within which these governing assumptions of action are nested. The argument presented in this chapter is tentative contribution towards this aim. REFERENCES 1

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Sustainable architecture in the industrialized economies: environmental and energy-related aspects in teaching architectural technology Marco Sala Dipartimento Processi e Metodi delta Produzione Edilizia, University of Florence, Florence, Italy

Keywords: teaching, architectural technology, elements, sustainable design, energy-conservation, environment Sustainable building design is the key strategy of the future to decrease the use of fossil fuels for heating, ventilation, cooling and lighting in the building sector and to reduce other environmental impacts of buildings during their production, lifetime, and deposition/recycling. This strategy includes the application of new technologies of rational and renewable energy use as well as the consideration of ecology and energy balances of materials. Architecture is an activity which is strictly related to environmental science, since it deals with the transformation of the natural or artificial environment with the aim of expanding and improving man’s living conditions. The ecological vocation of architecture has represented a constant in the evolution of the way building is carried on, a harmonious interpretation of nature giving concrete form to the rational application of available resources for interpreting man’s primary needs. In particular to aid his ability to work in climates and conditions which were often hostile and from which man must defend himself, or with which he had to co-exist. This almost instinctive attention to how we interact with the environment underwent a brusque inversion with the advent of the Industrial Revolution. This led to the widespread availability of energy and the evolution of techniques and materials. It was supported by the Positivist illusion that technology could dominate nature and open the way to a series of transformations that would somehow be independent of environmental conditions and the rational use of resources. Today, in the industrialised economies, this link with the environment almost always works in one direction only: nature as object, the field of application for the building industries, and only rarely as a planning parameter of itself providing a term of comparison for an ethical as well as architectural judgement of the results of this activity. In recent years there has nevertheless emerged a growing interest in the possibilities for more closely involving environmental and energy-related


questions in the choice of the technologies and in the planning of the projects themselves. Following a series of experimental building projects conducted immediately on the heels of the first energy crisis, which were limited by the technical, and to an even greater degree by the architectural scale, by our lack of experience and skills, we have entered a phase in which the world’s foremost planners are tackling works the compositive matrix of which is the resolution of the energy problem. This is a problem which is “environmental” in the broad sense, and which involves research into a different type of comfort more closely correlated with the concept of “environment” as it has developed in our ecologyminded culture and in our environmental awareness. As all decisions from the initial design of a building influence the building’s environmental impact, a more integral approach towards the overall design concept of a building has to be followed. “Sustainability” is the central problem of our age. How do we create conditions that will make possible future development on a planet seemingly threatened by the existing imbalances? Environmental protection is inseparably linked to the production processes and the technologies that permit such development. In the panorama of the transformations currently underway and the technologies that inform them, building activity stands out as one of the actions which has most impact and irreversibly modifies the environment. It is a tool to which generally attaches negative connotation, linked to the evidence provided by many situations and to experience. This view is now commonplace. The concept of technology has been often interpreted as a neutral tool for transformation and was thus called into play in opposing and unsuitable justifications of antithetical development policies. The most traditional conception of ecology saw technological progress as responsible for the degradation of the environment and the landscape in the built environment, often linked to speculative intentions and policies reflecting the needs of industry rather than those of the territory and of society. The “technology” camp instead considered advances in building processes as elements which were automatically capable of producing development and of guaranteeing, through the control of methods and procedures, a higher-quality final product. History and contemporary culture have by now transcended this primitive dualistic definition of the relationship between tradition and innovation, but criticisms and prejudices linked to the one or other position are still often expressed by public opinion and mass media. The environmental issue seen from the city is an urban issue. It is exactly that, comprising the ecological organisation of space, the efficient management of the flow of resources, the control of environmental quality, all issues that we must address if we are to talk about a sustainable city. Although many environmental problems are common to many cities, the individual solutions will all be different because the contexts and the ways in which the problems are revealed and are perceived are different, leading to different priorities. An integral approach towards the overall design concept is therefore desirable.


There exists a pressing need to improve the performance and the quality of buildings; and in this sense, great progress has been made in the field of energy limitation from both the theoretical viewpoint and as regards testing and the reliable performance of components. Buildings are increasingly more complex, especially from the standpoint of infrastructures and the services that relate to them, and as a result professional figures who traditionally intervened in the building process only at later stages are now involved even during the design phase. Today’s building customer requires consultants who are experts not only in architectural questions but also as regards infrastructure, energy, environment and the management of the building process itself. We might say that following the energy crisis and the information revolution, the relationship between the formal aspect of architecture and those related to energy has been turned around. In many cases the latter aspects are those that lead project development as well as those which form its visible matrix. Many leading architects in Germany and in England are seriously taking up the challenge represented by designing buildings with limited energy budgets without compromising, but rather improving, architectural quality. Although in Italy these are not sufficiently commonplace, there do exist efficacious informatics-based simulation tools for quantifying the energy-related responses of a building in each of the different stages of its design. Architectural quality may be efficiently achieved if our approach to design is multi-disciplinary. This will permit us to control, from the very start, each of the various components of the project. This can be better achieved through the integration of the contributions of the different techniques that go to make up the overall concept, each with regard to its specific field of application. The result of such integrated cooperative work approaches the holistic concept of the phenomenon of transformation and can generate a product that is something more than the simple sum of its components. If we go beyond the logic of adding new components (the ‘advanced technologies’) to the old architectural model, we will be able to invert the terms of the current definition of intelligent architecture and refer instead to the intelligence of architecture. The energy-related aspect is surely the most striking, and the characteristic which best distinguishes the concept of sustainability in the breadth of its field of application. It will be many years yet before the need for a holistic systemic approach is recognised in architecture as in other disciplines. The concept of integration demonstrates the complexity of the links among the functions of the building components, of the spaces in which they interact and of the technological infrastructures which, through utilisation of informatics tools for their control and implementation, make it possible to provide a differentiated system response to external variations and to the internal stresses created by use. In more concrete terms, the concept of integration is based on our ability to consider the elements and the components making up the building not only in relation to the specific functions for which they are designed but also in relation


to other functional systems, to provide a global building response in relation to different performance needs. Integration will inevitably be reflected in the structure of the project as well, as it will contribute to functional distribution of the spaces in part according to their organisational value and to their compatibility with the other systems and the other infrastructural networks. Environmental and developmental problems are examples of composite problems. The multi-dimensional nature of the issues are clearly shown by examining the syllabus of a well-founded course in sustainable architecture, which today would properly have to address many topics. Integration and environmental control may be said to be the principles that guide this new architecture. The bioclimatic building can behave as a biological complex, leapfrogging the well-known canons of passive solar architecture which exert a regulatory action only on the physical structures in order to develop their homeostatic properties. Like a living organism, which succeeds in absorbing a portion of the variations that take place outside itself in order to guarantee conditions of physiological equilibrium, thus the intelligent building attempts to maintain optimal internal conditions with the least expenditure of energy under variable external environmental conditions by means of the interaction of different functions, guaranteed by the information technologies and the flexibility of the components and the infrastructures themselves. The concept of technology has been accompanied by adjectives defining the philosophical orientation of the particular technology in terms of intent and of its relationships with the surrounding environment. From “alternative” technology, which by its very name recalls protest and opposition to that which is implicitly defined as a commercial or speculative operation, to “appropriate” technology, understood above all in relationship to the local cultures of countries with limited resources. The concept of “sustainable” technology may become an element of cultural reunification in the field of architecture as it has been in other fields. This concept corresponds to a new ethical conception that extends to man’s actions as transformations worked in a system of precarious equilibrium such as that of the built environment and our ecosystem as a whole. From the theoretical point of view the best definition of “sustainability” is that contained in the report of the Bruntland Commission: i.e. “anticipating the needs of the future without compromising the possibility that the generations to come may resolve them personally.” In the Western world, awareness of this new responsibility began with the ecology movements and with the first alarm over the damage caused by pollution and destruction of the natural environment. Despite the fact that history and anthropology were not lacking in philosophical and religious ideas, often of Oriental derivation, that provided the vision of a strictly interconnected world of nature into which man must enter in a harmonious and non-destructive manner, respectful of all other forms of life. The logic behind this concept is the quest for


biological equilibrium and for the tools, difficult to obtain and delicate to manage, for maintaining it. Earth science studies have by now drawn a clear picture of how the life of each single organism is a part of a large-scale process involving the metabolism of the entire planet. It is clear how this stance developed as a counterpoint to the concept of conquest and development so typical of our technological civilisation and of the exasperated specialisation and fragmentation of knowledge that it has engendered. The approach to be avoided today is that of a simplification which is implicitly linked to industrialisation and the increase of entropy; we should follow, instead, the direction of research into a complexity that takes as its model the biological organisation of natural systems. Among the attributes of the new culture, which will surely be interdisciplinary, it will be necessary to find a “new epistemological alliance” between man and nature, a common ground for the various applied sciences and the transformation activities. Today, the term “sustainable technology” is used to signify a way of doing things based at least in part on awareness of the relationships among the parts that we intend to transform and of the general system to which they belong. For “system” we mean not only a set of integrated parts, each interacting with the whole and incorporating self-regulatory mechanisms, but also a set of relationships that satisfy a series of general aims such as: • to extend the concept of individual welfare beyond the limited conception of welfare defined by Rationalist thought, to take into consideration the psychological components of the artificial environment, reduction of systems for artificial climate control and the influences on the environment of the materials used; • to affirm the need to provide for the collective well-being of a community with roots in one place while balancing exploitation of resources against their limited availability, and in so doing take into account environmental and territorial parameters; • to reduce the levels of pollution and in general the management risks engendered by technology in relation to the use of sources of energy, both on the local scale and in a general climatic prospective; • to safeguard the physical environment and the value of its natural integrity as well as of its integrity in relation to the anthropized environment, through ecological thought and consideration of pre-existing structures and their valorisation as a cultural heritage. Even as we attempt to reduce the impact of buildings on the environment, we are witnessing the development of projects which are conceptually obsolete and “unsustainable”. Designer training has not, in the great majority of cases, caught up with awareness of the complex relationship that exists between buildings and the environment, between the design and the energy required for realising it and


for managing the result. Although we are attempting to learn more about these skills and to teach them, we are nevertheless forced to realise that the tools currently available for providing quantification and better definition are still “borrowed” and are still not codified. They represent one of the most pressing issues begging critical reflection in the field of architecture and in environmental culture. If we are to obtain better results, we will certainly have need of advanced technological systems for controlling and for exploiting to the utmost the potentialities of the passive systems, but this is only apparently in contradiction to the bioclimatic philosophy. In fact, a rational exploitation of available resources cannot stop with consideration of only the most elementary stages of processes and ignore that with a little more expenditure of energy, and through implementation of adequate control instruments, it is possible to obtain better results. We are by now seeing a high degree of penetration of technological design in the city and in the built-up areas. The intelligent building, the computerintegrated building, are realities to which we must accustom ourselves, since they raise the issue of different, and new, interfaces between the structure of the infrastructures and the building shells. The way in which infrastructures and communications are conceived becomes a central element in the configuration of the space itself and therefore a point of departure for architectural composition. Today many of Europe’s leading architects are seriously taking up the challenge represented by designing buildings with limited energy budgets and requirements; without compromising, but rather improving, their architectural quality. This line of research has also supplied the guidelines for carrying on teaching activities involving second-year students and to a greater degree more advanced students in project applications around the themes of differing complexity (from simple structures such as pavilions and service buildings for outdoor areas to single- and two-family housing and small office buildings) and attempting to integrate environmental values through the application of the bioclimatic technologies and systems determined from analysis of contemporary works. In this way, a collective agreed assessment method can be devised by a group of students and used later to test and score their designs. At the end of their design project, in addition to the normal drawings and models, they will produce a chart and rating to demonstrate the environmental assessment of their design. For this reason one of the objectives of the research group (Lucia Ceccherini Nelli, Paola Gallo, Lorenzo Polvani, Pantaleone Cosentino) was that of supplying specific knowledge tools and tools for technological analysis in the field of contemporary architecture in a collection of specific publications, texts of lectures and exhibits of projects. The design studio can provide a unique way of learning by doing. Its protagonists suggest that scientific/analytical thinking inhibits creativity. The rapid evolution of building technologies and systems makes it increasingly


difficult to gather information sufficient to assemble a body of basic knowledge that can permit making motivated choices with regard to identification of the most rational energy-related solutions. This scarcity of critical and systematic knowledge tools is particularly heartfelt in the sphere of the applications of the principles of bioclimatic architecture and of exploitation of the renewable energies, where the required knowledge and technologies are of quite recent development. No attempt has yet been made to organise the results achieved in a systematic manner. Even the teaching carried on within the Department of Architecture targeting acquisition of bioclimatic-sector skills by architecture students is conditioned by the lack of up-to-date publications concerning developments in the relative technology. For many years now, work on the main themes of bioclimatic architecture have been carried forward by individual groups of scientific co-ordinators and researchers, but teaching at the university level has not yet benefited from efficient co-ordination among the various teachers—and the problem at times exists even among the members of a single university. Thus teaching, which ought to represent a point of encounter and integration among the different components of scientific and design-related training, and in the case in point among those specific to the field of bioclimatic architecture, has suffered from insufficient exchange of information. It is conducted on an individual basis in the different university-level courses, according to different methods, without ever achieving correct placement with regard to the students’ programs of study and the possible effects on the professional sphere and on territorial management. The goal of the teaching-concept is to create among students a strong awareness towards environment related impact of architectural design and to enable them to estimate the consequence of design decisions in relation to the surrounding natural environment. The research activity of the study group working within the Department of Construction Processes and Methods of the University of Florence has mainly targeted the study of the evolution of architecture. This has been done through analysis of the most interesting creations among those offered at the international level, selected on the basis of technological innovation with regard to optimisation of energy resources, architectural quality and component integration. In our opinion it is not the teaching of architectural science which is problematic, but the design studio. BIBLIOGRAPHY 1 Sala, M., Ceccherini Nelli, L. (1993) Tecnologie Solari, Alinea, Firenze. 2 Sala, M. (ed.), (1994) Tecnologie Bioclimatiche in Europa, Alinea, Firenze.


3 Sala, M., Ceccherini Nelli, L. (1992) Bioclimatic buildings in South Italy operating with central control of passive solar systems in: 2nd World Renewable Energy Congress, Reading 13–18 Settembre 1992. 4 Sala, M., Polvani, L., Cosentino, P., Ceccherini Nelli, L. (1993) Bioclimatic buildings in urban areas in: 3rd European Conference in Architecture, Firenze 17–21 Maggio 1993. 5 Sala, M., Milanesi, F., Puccetti P., Ceccherini Nelli, L. (1993) Facade Multifunctional Intelligent Component in: 3rd European Conference in Architecture, Firenze 17–21 Maggio 1993. 6 Sala, M., Ceccherini Nelli, L. (1993) Integration of solar technologies and energy conservation into architecture : a new handbook in: Ises Solar World Congress, Budapest 23–27 Agosto 1993. 7 Sala, M., Ceccherini Nelli, L. (1994) Bioclimatic Architecture in Europe, a Survey in Advanced Technology in: 3rd World Renewable Energy Congress, Reading 5–6 Settembre 1994. 8 Los, S. (ed.) (1990) Regionalismo dell architettura, Franco Muzzio Editore, Padova. 9 Benedetti C. (1994) Manuale di tecnologie bioclimatiche, Maggioli Editore, Rimini. 10 Goulding, J., Lewis, J.O., Steemers, T.C. (1992) Energy Conscious Design—A Primer for European Architects; and Energy in Architecture—The European Passive Solar Handbook, Batsford for CEC. 11 Florence International Conference for Teachers of Architecture, (1995), Proceedings, Alinea, Firenze. 12 World Commission on Environment and Development, (1987) Our Common Future, Oxford. 13 Pearce, D. (ed), (1993) Blueprint Measuring Sustainable Development. CSERGE, Earthscan.

Designing and revitalising communities R.W.Grey and S.P.Halliday Centre for Construction Ecology, Building Services Research & Information Association, Berkshire RG12 7AH, UK

ABSTRACT This paper describes research and development work which builds upon ecological and fundamental design principles, and provides a framework within which to set construction activity. The paper traces the development of an interdisciplinary design approach from a life cycle strategy for single buildings, through the pursuit of formal information feedback mechanisms, to current research to develop guidelines for designing and revitalising developments to create sustainable, productive communities for the future. Keywords: Sustainable construction, peripheral estates, social housing, communities. 1 INTRODUCTION If the construction industry is to pursue a serious commitment to achieving sustainable development then it is vital that the profession recognises the extent of its global responsibilities and the necessity for action at a local level. The global challenge which the construction industry faces is to contribute to maintaining or improving quality of life in high consuming countries while reducing resource consumption by an order of magnitude as a matter of urgency. Simultaneously and expediently there is need to facilitate improvement in the quality of life of those in low consuming countries without a substantial increase in resource consumption. It is vital that the construction industry prioritises measures to attain these objectives. There is a global need for affordable social housing and associated infrastructure and this will be an area of major international expansion as expectations rise across the globe. Strategies for new developments and for revitalising existing estates are urgently required. Consideration of how buildings can beneficially interact to optimise efficient use of energy, water and waste resources is the subject of a three year study being undertaken by BSRIA into Autonomous Technologies which will result in the provision of design guidelines for minimising the non-renewable resource


dependency of UK domestic developments of different scales. The research takes account of site factors, planning issues, lifecycle implications, maintenance, durability and user needs and requirements. In the early stages, alongside a review of the potential for application of autonomous technologies, techniques and systems, the research has included an audit of a peripheral estate, characterised by high levels of dependency, and generates a model for its potential staged revitalisation as a sustainable community. 2 SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT 2.1 Sustainable construction A widely quoted definition of sustainable development is “development which meets the needs of the present without comprising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. [1] Adequate shelter and provision of utility services such as clean water, fuel supplies, access to amenity, removal of sewage and other wastes, safety and adequate comfort with respect to thermal, acoustic, visual and nasal senses and sensitivities are important determinants of quality of life. Buildings should create net social benefit by providing shelter with minimum adverse, and maximum positive, impact on the users, local and global environment. There is presently no consensus of opinion regarding a definition of sustainable construction but the following resulted from discussion at the First International Conference on Sustainable Construction and provides a useful starting point: “The creation and responsible maintenance of a healthy built environment based on resource efficient and ecological principles”. [2] There is a need for human resource, information and technology transfer on passive and low-impact design between low and high consumption countries to mutual benefit. This should aim to encourage consolidation and corroboration regarding the appropriate use of traditional techniques and contemporary knowledge, which may differ from conventional wisdom. 2.2 Problem or opportunity “If eventually, why not now?”—Victor Papanek [3]


It has been suspected for some time that pollution is a very real threat to communities, economies and the biosphere if present modes of industrial activity continue and precipitate global development along western lines. The scientific evidence which brought an indication of the threats to widespread attention was concerned with global warming. Our collective response is instructive regarding the need for a coordinated response to perceived threats. Atmospheric CO2 levels measured at Mauna Loa, Hawaii between 1960 and 1985 indicated an overall rise in concentration of around 8% [4]. It provided sufficient evidence to justify examination of the limits that the natural world places on human activities. Pessimists demand strict and immediate action. Optimists propose that action in the face of uncertainty is wasteful, potentially unnecessary, expensive and obstructive to beneficial innovation. No-one in a position of responsibility is prepared to commit themselves to a definitive time and scale of global warming but the IPCC estimate of 1990 predicted a rise of 1.5–4.5°C by 2010 [4]. This figure compares well with an estimate of 2.8°C by 2020 in a children’s book published in 1972 [5]. The time lag between initial concern and coordinated action and the enthusiasm with which not only global warming but desertification, acid rain, asbestos related illness, ozone depletion and other indicators of environmental limits have been talked down should deeply concern us all. It is worth considering what the built environment might be now if, rather than taking a do nothing, wait-and-see approach, resources had been committed to the kind of innovation which would have enabled us to respond to global warming and other threats, should they turn out to be well-founded. If we suspect a problem then we have a responsibility to seek solutions based on best available knowledge not talk it down. If techno-optimists are right and we pursue a policy of relative indifference, then the potential gains are high. If we follow an optimistic approach and the pessimists are right then we have a disaster scenario. Prudent pessimism results in moderate and tolerable gains. Opportunities still exist to provide a globally relevant, strategic approach to, in the first instance, damage limitation and regeneration. In the longer term there is a need for the strategy to provide a coordinated framework within which responses to environmental constraints, real or perceived, can be made. 3 BSRIA’S APPROACH 3.1 Inter-disciplinary design BSRIA’s research to provide appropriate guidance to the building services and construction industries on all environmental matters began from the point of


view of the services engineer who is frequently presented with an architect’s dream and asked to provide the services. Given a fee structure which encourages mechanical rather than natural solutions, and late involvement in the design process, there is intrinsic lack of consideration of the downstream implications for commissioning, handover and building management and use. It is therefore hardly surprising that the end products often fail to live up to the clients’ expectations, nor that their environmental impact is greater than it need be. However, it became evident at an early stage that neither building services engineers, nor any of the other professions involved in the building and construction industries, can be considered solely responsible for this. They cannot be considered in isolation. Poor communication between the disciplines, each with their differing priorities, results in less than ideal buildings. Buildings generally last a long time and, if badly designed, maintain unnecessarily high demands on the environment. Premature demolition represents a waste of capital resources and embodied energy. However, the turnover of building stock is small and existing as well as new buildings must be addressed if we are to meet commitments to reduce CO2 emissions and to make the much needed transition to a sustainable built environment. 3.2 Code of Practice BSRIA’s approach therefore began with the development of an Environmental Code of Practice for Buildings and Their Services[7], in collaboration with government and industry, to assist all those involved to reduce the adverse impact of the built environment. This document, published in May 1994, provides a strategic means of navigation through the environmental aspects of a building project from inception to demolition. The Code was developed through a number of stages, the most important of which involved the implementation of a draft version on real building projects. Consistent with the structure of the Code, which is based on the life-cycle of buildings, these projects spanned the entire range of project types including design, construction, occupation, refurbishment and demolition. The inclusion of post-construction stages is vital for feedback that can be used to improve future building projects. The Code encourages the establishment of an environmental policy for any building project and promotes an interdisciplinary approach with integration of all members of the design team at the earliest possible stage of building design to ensure that the environmental aspects of the project are established from the beginning and adhered to throughout the project, and that mutually desirable design solutions are reached. The Code provides the basis for a common language for all those involved in a building project and may be tabled by any individual, at any stage. It also encourages continual improvement, consistent with the increasing adoption of environmental management systems, and provides


questions as a basis for discussion not answers that professionals can back into as lowest common denominators. 4 ECOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES In the past buildings often made good use of sunshine, natural light and air. There has been an increasing tendency to replace these natural systems with energy consuming building services which are frequently more prolific, less functional and less efficient than they need be. Reliance on artificial environments driven by highly resource dependent mechanical systems is leading to pressures on the users and the external environment. This has created a vicious circle of defensive responses characterised by increasing sealing of buildings against sunlight, noise and pollution. Simpler and environmentally more benign solutions are often possible with mechanical services operating as efficient supplements to natural systems. Increasing use of passive systems and autonomy, local resource supply and waste treatment, are being investigated as methods of demand side management and reduction of dependence on energy intensive infrastructure. The main requirements are not for increased complexity but for more care and forethought, more attention to detail and the genuine needs of organisations and users. Innovation is required which applies ecological principles to the development of products, services, techniques and system design. There are simple principles which can be followed at a strategic level that will slow down the rate at which we approach the planet’s carrying capacity: • • • • • • • • • •

Minimise non-renewable resource consumption; Re-use, recycle, restore; Enhance the natural environment; Recognise and pursue quality; Eliminate or minimise the use of toxins; Network to create constructive and beneficial interdependencies; Learn from experience; Warn others of danger; Minimise waste and prevent pollution; Use outputs from one process as input to others. 5 CONTROL SYSTEMS 5.1 Carrying capacities “Whilst there are limits to growth there are no limits to development”. [8]


Fig. 1. Possible modes of approach of a population to its carrying capacity, (a) Continuous growth, (b) Sigmoid approach to equilibrium, (c) Overshoot and oscillation, (d) Overshoot and collapse.

In global terms there are a number of forces of rapid change including population growth and pollution and these are addressed and scrupulously modelled in Beyond the Limits[8]. The following summary highlights the importance of feedback to the evolution of the design process and the necessity of a precautionary approach. Systems rely upon a constant input of resources and they constantly emit waste products to the environment. One constraint on systems is therefore the


ability of our finite environment to continue to supply adequate resources and to continue to absorb waste products. Many resources utilised by human and economic systems are declining or receding and inevitably materials will require more and more money and energy to produce ever decreasing quality goods; reducing net gains. Sinks are overflowing as treatment and storage of waste is becoming ever more difficult. There is urgent need and opportunity to use resources more efficiently. Whilst it is has been clear for some time that infinite growth on a finite planet is an impossibility, the Meadows-Meadows[8] model succinctly describes the possible modes by which a system approaches its carrying capacity. Figure 1(a) identifies a situation when population can grow without interruption as long as the limits are far away or growing faster than the population itself. It is identified by a sealed, non-entropic, closed system in which no controls are required. Examples are limited to only parts of a life cycle, such as the rapid rise in food production to match population growth. This was made possible by the green (food production) revolution but production has since levelled off whilst population has continued to rise. Figure 1(b) illustrates growth levelling off to balance carrying capacity. This is a stable situation. An increasing population taking more and more resources from, and emitting more and more pollution to a finite environment, puts pressure on that environment. Negative feedback signals from that environment, such as food scarcity, pollution, and ill health, attempt to reduce growth. Sigmoid growth results when signals are instant, accurate and produce immediate response. It is the result of precautionary, self-regulation and is analogous to the effect of sophisticated control systems such as optimum start-stop. Figures 1(c) and (d) illustrate overshoot caused by rapid motion, action or change going beyond a limit due to momentum, failure or lack of control, inattention, inaccurate or inadequate data, non-existent or delayed feedback, or simply slow response. Examples include the effects of PCB’s and CFC’s in the atmosphere, the effects on health of AIDS or smoking. Figure 1(c), overshoot and oscillation, results when signals and responses are delayed but the environment can support and recover from short periods of overload (operation beyond the limit). Fishing stock replenishment and woodland regeneration are good examples. Primitive control systems work like this. Figure 1(d) illustrates what happens when recovery after overload is not possible. Irreversible damage and degradation is caused by overshoot resulting in a permanently impoverished environment. Feedback which is ignored, such as air pollution causing deforestation and reduction of CO2 sinks, is short-term, short-sighted exploitation at the expense of long-term needs. Failed or unheeded control systems result in desertification, extinction and blown fuses.


5.2 Evaluation and feedback It is reported that at one time architects and engineers were obliged to stand underneath the arches, which they had designed and built, when the supports were removed. Few construction industry professionals today take a similar level of responsibility for their activities. Yet, it is self-evident that learning from our environment can lead to continual improvement consistent with both professional integrity and sustainable construction. Particularly during times of change, industry needs constructive feedback and a common framework within which to discuss public concerns, implications, professional experiences, uncertainty, anecdotage, rules of thumb, pitfalls and future requirements. Evaluation and feedback is an essential, but often overlooked, stage of the design process. The recent realisation of the harmful effects of buildings has led to the emergence of a new generation of “green” buildings. The financial and environmental benefits of the design features which contribute to the selfdeclared environmental sensitivity of these buildings are generally unquantified. Neither is there yet much information available concerning which of the many techniques are preferable in a given situation. The Centre for Construction Ecology at BSRIA is therefore currently evaluating “green” buildings, or features of buildings, in order to address this problem. The objective is to determine the real environmental, financial and quality costs and benefits of a variety of environmental measures. “Trump cards” are being identified, the techniques that can most cost-effectively improve the environmental performance of a building project. These are hugely influenced by the design. Design teams are therefore being shadowed to assess the process and appraise and re-evaluate the recommendations in the Code of Practice. Feedback of this nature is essential. It will provide information on how good ideas in theory actually work in practice and Environmental Rules of Thumb, easy-to-use design factors to show how to achieve best practice or to check that it has been achieved. To date, feedback on the Code itself suggests that it is of value in assisting the establishment of an environmental policy for projects, selecting design teams, improving briefing procedures, preparing tender documentation, ensuring and coordinating feedback, managing changes to ensure they are environmentally neutral or beneficial, establishing probity of suppliers, improving site practice, preventing decision paralysis and disentangling conflicts of interest. 6 AUTONOMOUS TECHNOLOGIES Autonomous technologies, techniques and systems are those which enable total or partial independence from centralised utility services. Independent, decentralised provision minimises waste and prevents pollution. A review of autonomous technologies already available is under way and a practitioners’


guide detailing the potential, problems and opportunities associated with their use, including financial and environmental costs and benefits, will be published in 1996. The review encompasses energy, water and waste issues and a wide range of technologies and scales e.g. small scale wind and micro-hydro power to municipal waste burning combined heat and power plants. Small and large scale landscape architecture is also included. Planning, legislative and commercial factors that constrain or encourage the uptake of autonomous technologies are being explored. This extends the scope of research from the single building approach of the Code of Practice to the entire built environment and the complex network of relationships and interactions therein. A global survey being undertaken as part of this work has already identified a large number of users of autonomous technologies and has created a network of individuals and communities from which further information can be accessed. A number of feasibility studies are being carried out on existing and planned developments ranging in size from a single house to a small town. These aim to identify optimum scales of application and beneficial interactions between individual buildings and their occupants. This will include the design and modelling of various autonomous strategies that, in addition to technology options, will take account of social and economic aspects, users’ wishes and responses, employment, health, safety, and educational issues. It is intended to produce design guidelines for autonomous dwellings in 1997. The first feasibility study concerns a peripheral estate which will be targeted for benchmarked improvement in resource efficiency, waste minimisation and quality of life. 7 PERIPHERAL ESTATES 7.1 Dependency cultures There is an urgent need to turn the vicious cycle of decline in the built environment of peripheral estates into a positive cycle of continual improvement. In some areas poor quality housing, lack of amenity, poor transport infrastructure and high unemployment combined with lack of investment and vision have conspired to create low achievement, state dependence and poor environmental performance. There are significant and cost effective opportunities for improvements in energy, water and land usage and for waste minimisation. Principal needs are for technical and social appraisal, empowerment, stimulation, direction and design. Our level of dependency on external organisations and services is now so great that it hardly ever enters our conscience. Only when reliability falters and


the lights go out are we reminded of how much we take for granted. The inconvenience caused by a burst water main resulting in temporary loss of pressure or supply, the irritation of a petrol station not having the grade or type of fuel required when we want it, or the frustration experienced when the supermarket shelf doesn’t have our favourite brand on it, all illustrate just how dependent we have become. When do we ever question our expectations? Handy says “…we are slumped in comfort”[9]. He adds “Like dogs, if we are well fed we are content”[9]. But what is the downside of scientific, technological and economic progress that leads more and more societies into the contentment and dependency stage? Are societies themselves under threat? De Tocqueville in Handy suggests that at least in America they might be: “The first thing that strikes the observer is an innumerable multitude of men, all equal and alike, incessantly endeavouring to procure the petty and paltry pleasures with which they glut their lives. Each of them, living apart, is a stranger to the fate of all the rest; his children and his private friends constitute for him the whole of mankind. As for the rest of his fellow-citizens, he is close to them, but he does not see them; he touches them but he does not feel them; he exists only in himself and for himself alone…”[9] 7.2 Feasibility study Post-war population expansion led to the development of housing estates on the outskirts of large towns and cities, the majority of which have now entered advanced stages of decline. In these estates there exists untapped potential for resource conservation, employment, community participation in community benefiting projects, self-build housing, landscaping, and the potential for application of cost effective, environmentally beneficial, autonomous energy, water and waste systems. At present, such estates are heavily dependent on centralised utilities and regional business centres for power, water, employment, recreation and trade. Environmental effects include profligate use of energy for transport and for poorly built housing as well as excessive production of waste and wastewater. It is believed that these estates could provide the basis for a new generation of ecological developments in which resources are conserved and recycled wherever possible and a high level of community interaction is stimulated and maintained through common interests such as amenity, food, energy and water provision and waste recycling. Following an audit to quantify throughputs and human resources, options for improvement will be explored and modelled to establish optimum scales of implementation and effectiveness of autonomous technologies. Opportunities for self-reliance, consistent with sustainable development and subsidiarity, will be


identified and quantified. In addition to technical options, social and economic implications will be studied to determine how best these communities can be redesigned and revitalised to become models for future development. Griffin summarises some of the work that has already taken place in the UK to revitalise peripheral estates[10]. He stresses the importance of tenant participation at every stage. Holmes found that a strong sense of community already existed on the estates she studied[11]. What they lacked was empowerment, a situation partly resolved by collective action. 7.3 Aims The specific aims of the study are to: • provide a means of continual improvement in the quality and sustainability of the built environment of one specific peripheral estate and generic guidelines for wider use; • reduce the waste streams through post-war peripheral housing estates and improve resource utilisation, energy, water, waste, land and human resources; • address scientific, technical, economic and social implications of implementing such a strategy; • stimulate debate, discussion and participation; • provide strategic goals based on wide consultation and a framework for action. 7.4 Subsidiarity “It is an injustice, a grave evil and a disturbance of right order for a large and higher organisation to arrogate to itself functions which can be performed efficiently by smaller and lower bodies…”[9] Handy defines subsidiarity as “reverse delegation—the delegation by the parts to the centre”[9]. He also summarises the papal encyclical quoted above as “stealing people’s responsibilities is wrong”[9]. Subsidiarity should aim to increase efficiency and reduce environmental impact for the benefit of all. The principle of subsidiarity only works in practice, however, when the dispersed and decentralised are sufficiently organised, identifiable, informed, empowered and communicative to make and receive requests. BSRIA’s research aims to identify how the dispersed and decentralised occupants of the built environment can obtain the attributes necessary for environmental subsidiarity to become possible and widespread.


8 CONCLUSIONS The purpose of this paper and the research it describes is not to tell people how they should live. It is to inform those who want to know what the environmental consequences of their particular built environment and lifestyle are and to suggest a number of ways in which these can be beneficially changed by their own actions and actions taken in conjunction with others. The global challenge which the construction industry faces is to contribute to maintaining or improving quality of life in high consuming countries while reducing resource consumption by an order of magnitude as a matter of urgency. Simultaneously and expediently there is need to facilitate improvement in the quality of life of those in low consuming countries without a substantial increase in resource consumption. It is vital that the construction industry prioritises measures to attain these objectives. There is a global need for affordable social housing and associated infrastructure. Design strategies for new developments and revitalising existing estates are required. BSRIA’s research aims to complement previous work by investigating the contribution of autonomous resourcing strategies and facilitating their development where appropriate. REFERENCES 1.

2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.

Our Common Future, The Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development (The “Bruntland Commission”), Oxford University Press, 1987, ISBN 0-19-282080-X. Kibert et al, closing discussion at the First International Conference on Sustainable Construction, Florida, USA, November 1994. Papanek V.J., Design for the Real World, Granada, 1974. Pearce D et al., Blueprint 2: Greening the World Economy, Earthscan, 1991. ISBN 1-85383-076-3. Ecology Cycle and Recycle, Basic Biology in Colour—Volume 5, Kolbas, 1972. Pearce D et al., Blueprint for a Green Economy, Earthscan, 1989. ISBN 1-85383-0666. Halliday S.P., Environmental Code of Practice for Buildings and Their Services, BSRIA, May 1994. ISBN 0-86022-361-1. Meadows D.H., Meadows D.L. and Randers J., Beyond the Limits: Global Collapse or a Sustainable Future, Earthscan, 1992. ISBN 1-85383-131-X. Handy C., The Empty Raincoat: Making Sense of the Future, Hutchinson, 1994. ISBN 0-09-178022-5. Griffin C. (Ed), Estates fit for the future, National Housing and Town Planning Council (NHTPC), October 1992. Holmes A., Limbering Up: Community Empowerment on Peripheral Estates, Radical Improvements for Peripheral Estates (RIPE), June 1992. ISBN 0-9519785-0-0.


Prioritizing environmental criteria in building design and assessment R.J.Cole School of Architecture, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Z2

ABSTRACT This paper examines the extent to which the prioritization of criteria is currently addressed by environmental assessment methods. It concludes that the next generation of environmental criteria must be set within a framework which offers an overall picture of buildings and the natural world as an interconnected system, explicitly acknowledges and defines a coherent link between the individual criteria and provides a means of identifying significance. Keywords: Buildings, environmental, assessment, design, integration. 1 INTRODUCTION It is the contention of this paper that sustainable building design requires that equal, if not more, attention be directed at the interrelationship, interaction and prioritization of various environmental systems and strategies as is currently being directed at individual aspects of the problem. While it is generally recognized that the subject area of buildings and the environment covers a wide range of issues, relatively little attention has been paid to the detailed linkages and relationships between specific issue areas nor their relative significance and priorities, e.g., where are there meaningful connections between systems and where are there not? How do we prioritize the various systems that are connected or unconnected? Can qualitative and quantitative environmental issues be related and prioritized in a valid way? Building design must address a broad range of issues and implicitly or explicitly prioritize and resolve linkages between them. Limited time, budget, and skills together with a host of other regulatory and code restrictions have historically limited the ability of building designers to assimilate all the pressing or relevant issues into a specific design project. Moreover, many important issues are in conflict with others and prioritization and/or compromise is

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inevitable. Despite the significance of the environmental agenda, the design community will not be able to respond to all the current and environmental issues and concerns within a single project. It will progress incrementally by successively reassessing and reordering environmental issues as they relate to each other and how they relate to other design concerns. This paper examines the issue of prioritizing environmental criteria for building design and assessment. It presents a comparison of the frameworks used in several current environmental assessment programs for organizing individual environmental criteria and identifies the extent to which prioritization is currently addressed. The paper concludes by exploring the ways in which a greater emphasis on this as well as the integration of criteria can offer direction for a more effective evolution of assessment methods. 2 ENVIRONMENTAL CRITERIA FOR DESIGN The range of environmental criteria that are relevant to buildings is potentially enormous, and any attempt to identify priorities or establish linkages between them must be preceded by a declaration and characterization of this range. Whereas it is relatively straightforward to simply list criteria, organizing them into useful, related categories and prioritizing them is far more problematic. Wedley [1] identifies that complexity derives from our relative inability to conceptualize and structure the numerous components of the problem into a framework which facilitates understanding and analysis. Moreover, the problem is compounded by the nature of the components—some are quantitative whereas others are subjective or qualitative. Environmental criteria are essential to guide design decisions and choices. Numerous guidelines and checklists have emerged over the past five years. Although the comprehensiveness of these has matured rapidly—it is seldom realized that the structure of these information sources is not neutral and can profoundly influence the outcome, e.g., the ability to comprehend linkages and conflicts. It is anticipated that computer-based tools will become an increasing part of practice to assist designers in making environmental choices and evaluating the consequences of design choices. Indeed, complex problems such as evaluating the environmental performance of buildings comprehensively will only be manageable due to the responsible, sensitive application of advanced information technologies. [2] Typically, design criteria can be characterized as a series of recommendations across a broad spectrum of environmental issues often organised and presented according to building type. Important distinctions in organizing such criteria are: • Health-related versus ecological criteria: Criteria on the choice of strategies which have either human health implications or ecological impacts.


• Direct impacts versus indirect impacts: Criteria which relate to strategies which have a direct health or ecological impact (e.g., the choice of finishing materials has a direct impact on indoor air quality whereas insufficient space or access to HVAC systems can deter effective maintenance but ultimately generate indoor air quality problems). • Immediate versus long-term implications: Criteria which have an immediate health or ecological benefit (e.g., reducing the amount of material) as distinct from those in which the benefits will be accrued in the future (e.g., designing for ease of recovering building materials). Environmental criteria for building design must also, of course, be accommodated within a broad spectrum of other design issues and constraints. No environmental approach to building design can be successful that addresses any issue or principle exclusively and in isolation of other considerations. While improved building performance can occur more easily and readily in some areas than in others, it is the integration of all issues into comprehensive design strategies that will constitute the basis of successful environmental principles. A building and its impact on, and integration with, the external environment must be viewed as a total system and design must focus on the successful integration of criteria and strategies rather than instituting the assemblage of a series of discrete techniques for conserving or optimising resource use. 3 ASSESSMENT CRITERIA Assessment typically implies a retrospective analysis, i.e., an examination of the performance of a completed building or sub-system against a declared set of criteria. The reasons for the environmental assessment of building are manifold, e.g., providing a common and verifiable set of criteria and targets so that building owners striving for higher environmental standards will have a means of demonstrating that effort and communicating to prospective tenants the inherent environmental qualities of the building they are intending to lease. 3.1 Assessing single environmental criteria Even significant and seemingly well understood environmental criteria present many difficulties in both defining appropriate targets, assessing relative performance and, if necessary, establishing whether compliance has been achieved. Conservation efforts in the building industry over the past twenty years have focused almost exclusively on reducing building operating energy and building designers now have a reasonable, but still general, understanding of what constitutes an ‘excellent’ or ‘poor’ operating energy performance, as well as a number of valuable techniques for both assessing and improving it.

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A building’s operating energy is typically defined in terms of a Building Energy Performance Index (BEPI), expressed in GJ/m2/year. The BEPI for typical office buildings varies considerably—ranging from 0.48 to 4.00 GJ/m2/ year in Vancouver, with an average being 1.75 GJ/m2/year. The most advanced energy efficient office buildings in Europe are achieving BEPIs between 0.1–0.3 GJ/m2/year. Protocols for undertaking building energy audits have evolved tremendously but remain thwart with methodological difficulties. Operating energy varies considerably with building use patterns, climate and season and the efficiency of the building and its systems, thus confounding a seemingly simple task of comparing BEPI figures. Attempts at normalizing for climatic variation, or even occupancy, often create as many methodological problems as they solve. 3.2 Assessing multiple environmental criteria Although it is possible to identify the detailed strengths and deficiencies of buildings against a declared set of criteria, an important question emerges as to which has the “best” overall performance. This is a complex task, particularly given the range of health and ecological performance issues covered. Several attempts have been made to develop a common basis for contrasting and comparing environmental issues and impacts. This typically involves reducing the range of environmental impacts to a single index, e.g.: • Cost: The idea of reducing all environmental impacts to a monetary cost value has obvious appeal and has been used in a variety of projects to compare and contrast alternative strategies or the significance of widely differing environmental impacts. [3] • Equivalence method: This method has been used to summarize the air emissions and liquid effluents from both energy use and the processes associated with the production of building materials into a single weighted index [4, 5]. “Equivalence” in this sense means the reduction of a set of atmospheric emissions or liquid effluent quantities to single indices using relative environmental impact factors. The method makes it possible to combine the quantities of gaseous or liquid contaminants released from a process using their relative environmental or human toxicity as weighting factors. The resulting air pollution index or water pollution index can be thought of as; “the volume of ambient air or water which would be contaminated to the maximum acceptable concentration by the contaminants being emitted”. The maximum acceptable concentration is typically the legislated or recommended limit which will prevent observable adverse effects on ecosystems and human health. • Ecological footprint: An ecological footprint refers to the area of land required to biologically produce all the resources consumed by a community and to assimilate its wastes, indefinitely [6]. The procedure currently


accounts directly for the land area required for the continued production of wood products, embodied and operating energy and attendant CO2 emissions. No account is made for the land area associated with the production of nonrenewable resources, except for the energy and CO2. Methodological difficulties still exist in assessing the life-cycle impacts which requires that the ecological footprint of the initial construction to be placed in comparable terms with the footprint associated with recurring impacts over the building life. • Ecocost: This approach attempts to evaluate the impacts of producing building materials in absolute environmental terms, and in doing so attempts to bridge and synthesize environmental issues that are more readily quantifiable with those which continue to be elusive [7]. The evaluation system considers the environmental impacts of producing building materials under the categories of land degradation, toxic impact, energy use impact, transportation impacts, longevity, itinerant impacts and the recycled/reused nature of the product or process. Ecocost reduces the unimaginable complexity of ecological degradation to a few simple, linear equations producing a measure on a single, common Gaia scale defined between 0 and 1. A zero score implies a healthy, functioning planet and the maximum impact of 1 is equivalent to the ecological devastation of the planet. Normal levels of material production impacts are subsequently measured in PicoGaia’s etc. Although the above approaches typically relate to specific categories of criteria, e.g., materials selection, ecological impacts etc., they rely on a broad range of information and data sources. The resulting overall performance indices are inevitably achieved at the cost of over-simplification. 3.3 Building environmental assessment methods Over the past five years it has been increasingly important to understand the environmental performance of buildings across a broader range of considerations than simply energy. This has stimulated the development of a number of ‘environmental assessment tools’, e.g., the Building Research Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) [8] in the UK, the Building Environmental Performance Assessment Criteria (BEPAC) program [9] in Canada, the Green Builder Program [10] in the US. All three programs are voluntary and have the primary objective of stimulating market demand for buildings with improved environmental performance. It is interesting to note that, whereas BEPIs originated from engineering and remain meaningful only to that profession, these more comprehensive assessment protocols emerged from the architectural profession. The number, organisation of criteria and rigour applied to the formulation in these assessment methods are influenced by:

Table 1: Classification of Environmental Criteria

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• Practicality and cost of making an assessment: Assessments are made, in the field, by trained assessors who must collect, organise and evaluate a considerable amount of building information. To minimise the cost to the building owner, the number of criteria are invariably limited and simplified. • Consistency of assessments: The definition of criteria must be sufficiently unambiguous so they can be assessed repeatedly and reliably by trained assessors or through self-assessment.


• Accepted criteria: The credited criteria must be those for which there is general agreement, and therefore confidence, as to their significance. • Dynamic: Since environmental issues change over time, the categories must be sufficiently broad to accommodate any potential future significant criteria. All three programs are relatively new and it is too early to be able to objectively fully evaluate their strengths. The experience and subsequent evolution of environmental assessment methods will, unfortunately, be hindered by limited access to the results of the individual assessments since they remain confidential unless the owners choose otherwise. Table 1 shows the primary categories used to organize environmental issues used by three well publicized assessment methods. • BREEAM: UK program, initiated in 1990 and currently offers assessments of several building types. Criteria are organized to three scales—Global, Local and Indoor, covering 18 categories of criteria in the version related to new office buildings. The 30 or so criteria are independent and given equal weighting in the overall assessment. • BEPAC: Canadian program initiated in 1993 for new and existing office buildings. Criteria are structured in five major ‘environmental topics’—Ozone Layer Protection, Environmental Impact of Energy Use, Indoor Environmental Quality, Resource Conservation and Site and Transportation. Each topic area contains a series of criteria and, where appropriate, these are further divided into more detailed sub-criteria. The number of assessed building criteria and sub-criteria total 75. Each criteria is evaluated on a 0–10 points scale and weightings are applied to the criteria within the major topic areas. • Green Builder Program: Initiated in 1992 for residential buildings in Austin, Texas, US. Criteria are structured in four major ‘resource issues’—Water, Energy, Building Materials and Solid Waste. Each topic area contains a series of assessed building features totaling 135. Building features are evaluated against seven categories of criteria including difficulty, integration and the number of uses. 3.4 Scales of performance Assessments require ‘measuring’ the performance of buildings and their constituent systems against a declared ‘yardstick.’ All three of the above methods assign points to various aspects of building performance—the better the performance the greater the number of points awarded. When establishing the basis for allocating points, three things must be made explicit: the base-line from which performance is to be assessed; an upper limit and how the points will be allocated over this range.

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3.4.1 Base-line All performance criteria are judged relative to some base condition, implicitly or explicitly. • A common, but again often unstated, base-line for assessment is a ‘typical’ or ‘average’ performance and, as such recognition is given for better than normal performance. If scrutinized, this choice is an extremely difficult one to both define and quantify. • In BEPAC, the basis for evaluations is the performance expected by “best practice approaches,” given the current and emerging knowledge base in these fields and the available standards which guide design and operation. Both quantifiable criteria and “feature specific” criteria are used. Where quantifiable values are used they are in reference either to current standards such as those developed by professional organizations, or to emerging design guidelines such as low-toxicity materials selection. Again, for many criteria, establishing this base-line remains a judgement call. • Over time, the base-line for environmental performance can be expected to improve as environmentally responsible building design matures. 3.4.2 Upper limits All performance criteria in an assessment procedure have an “ideal” or “best possible” performance, whether implicitly or explicitly stated. The ability to define these ideals differs from one criteria to another. Whereas some criteria targets relate to a clearly defined and measurable condition, other are based on a host of compromises which include the anticipated difficulty and cost of incorporating strategies to meet the criteria. Again, over time, one can expect that the achievable levels of performance will improve or be redefined. • In 1971, Wells argued that human value scales are so unstable that nothing can be objectively compared with anything. He advocated that only the wilderness that existed in a particular place prior to human development (and specifically referenced the forest) can provide an absolute measure of the success of a work of architecture and presented fifteen attributes of a forest as criteria for assessing building performance each given a 0–100 point scale, both positively and negatively [11]. Evaluations of his own projects failed to score positively against many of these criteria [12]. This framework of criteria has been adopted and extended by McDonough [13] into a Matrix of Sustainability (see Table 2). • In BEPAC, a maximum of 10 points may be awarded for each criterion. For those criteria containing groups of sub-criteria, the 10 points are divided among them. Points awards are one of three types:


Table 2: Matrix of Sustainability (After McDonough, 1992; Wells 1974)

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Table 3: Protocol to Establish Relative ‘Sustainability Value’ Austin Green Builder Program

Assessed Criteria: A: A harvested rainwater system is used for indoor water uses B: Passive solar design is the primary strategy for maintaning comfort, proving at least 50% heating/cooling needs


– In some “feature specific” criteria, full points are awarded for the presence of a feature or for compliance with a threshold value. The rationale for this is that some features are simply present or not present. Some, like the separation of air intakes from hazardous pollution sources, have a threshold distance which must be met. These are safety oriented and little flexibility is provided. The distance is either met or it is not. – In others a scale of points awards has been determined based on a continuum such as ventilation rate or ozone layer protection. – In many cases establishing the upper limit is straightforward, e.g., 10 points are awarded when no ozone depleting substances are used on the site. Zero points are awarded for project Ozone Depletion Potential Index equal to that of a CFC−11 chiller (ODPI=0.0408 kg CFC−11 eqvlt./m2), which represents current standard practice in large office buildings. – Given the importance of market, all three programs only assign positive points; i.e., points are given for what is included and are not deducted if not. • The Green Builder program applies points by referencing six categories: Source, Process, Use, Recycle/Disposal, Integration, Difficulty. Each of these contains a series of performance, each of which are typically assigned one point. The resulting sub-total is then multiplied by a seventh “use-factor.” The program has a differing number of possible points for each building feature, primarily because it acknowledges and incorporates the notion of linkages between criteria and draws a subtle, but important distinction between ‘integration’ and the ‘number of uses:’ – Points are given under an integration category for the ability of the system or resource option to achieve several functions, e.g., a greywater/irrigation system removes water from the wastewater system and irrigates the landscape. – By contrast, the use factor acknowledges that a building option may be applicable to more than one use category, e.g., if harvested rainwater is used for all indoor water uses (potable needs, washing, toilet flushing) a use factor of three is applied. Table 3 provides an overview of the sub-categories and the derivation of the total number of points achievable within the program for two strategies. 3.4.3 Distribution of points The third issue in awarding points relates to the way in which they are distributed over the declared range.

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• Most programs assume a simple linear points allocation, e.g., In BREEAM, 1 credit is given for CO2 production less than 120 kg/m2/year; 2 for 110 kg/m2/ year, 3 for 100 kg/m2/year, 4 for 90 kg/m2/year, 5 for 80 kg/m2/year etc. • Some performance criteria in BEPAC have points awards increasing as the effort to achieve them increases according to a prescribed algorithm, e.g., 5 points for achieving 100–120% of the ASHRAE 62–1989 ventilation standard, 7 points for 120–150% and 10 points for exceeding by 150% This is in recognition of the fact that effort typically increases dramatically as industry norms are exceeded. 4 PRIORITIZING CRITERIA In design, there is typically no rational basis for choosing one strategy over another, other than the clients willingness and budget [14]. The rapid increase in our awareness and understanding of environmental issues and attendant proliferation of environmental criteria for building design will require prioritization, whether consciously or otherwise. Environmental criteria can be prioritized from a variety of different standpoints, e.g., the difficulty and capital cost of incorporating design and operating strategies to meet them; their significance in local, regional or global terms; whether they are individual criteria or have linkages and possible synergistic effects with others, etc. Prioritizing criteria means placing them either relative to one another or relative to a declared base-line, and again there is a difference in its role for design and assessment. In building design the value of prioritization is that it offers direction to an evolving solution by providing a basis of comparison between alternative strategies. Environmental assessments of buildings are, by contrast, only a means to an end. They provide the dual role of identifying success at meeting a level of performance on the one hand and guidance for remedial work and feed-back to design on the other. The nature and potential benefits of prioritization are therefore less direct than in design. The notion of prioritizing assessment criteria is captured within the process of placing weightings on the various criteria within an environmental assessment en route to establishing a single overall measure of performance. 4.1 Weighting criteria BEPAC has attempted to recognise the relative significance of different building environmental criteria by placing a “weighting” on the point assessed to reflect its significance, its priority relative to other criteria within the same topic area or the effort required for meeting the criteria. The relative weightings for the criteria were derived by filtering them through a set of relevant considerations


which indicate their relative importance, scale and urgency in global and health terms. For example, for the energy and resource criteria: • Is the effect upon the environment global, lasting or irreversible? • Is there an adverse health and well-being impact on the majority of people? • Does the practice in question have momentum that will require an extraordinary effort to counter? • Have current codes and legislation failed to adequately address this issue? • Do the building owners, tenants or designers have direct influence in this area? • Is reduction or elimination of the problem possible at source? Similarly, the selection and weighting of the Indoor Environmental Quality criteria were made by using the following set of considerations: • Can the issue be addressed by design and/or management practice? If it cannot then it is not included. • Does it pose an identifiable health risk, through either chronic or acute exposure, to the majority of people? • Is it a problem which is widely prevalent and may require aggressive action to remedy? • Is it a condition which is not currently dealt with by regulations and common standards of practice? • Does it lead to substantial physiological discomfort, physical stress or added fatigue for building users, including those who may be more susceptible than the norm? • Does it represent a substantial loss of psychological comfort and satisfaction which may add to stress for the majority of building users? • Does it represent a significant matter of preference for the majority of building users? In addition, other considerations used to determine the relative importance of the criteria groups and thus the credit weighting included: • Does “best practice” in this area now appear to be significantly advanced over what “common practice” has been recently? • Is a much greater effort required to achieve higher performance in this area? • Are design strategies and technologies for dealing with this issue not widely understood? The total weighting of a specific section (e.g., Indoor Air Quality) is always 1. 00. The program ultimately assigns credits calculated by multiplying the points awards of the criterion by its relative weighting. Credit scores for one criterion can therefore be more legitimately compared with others within each of the five

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topic areas. Given the fundamental differences between the topic areas, it was deemed neither meaningful nor possible to apply weightings between them. Due to the lack of an objective methodology for arriving at the relative impacts, current versions of BREEAM do not weight the various criteria in deriving the overall summary of building performance—Fair, Good, Very Good and Excellent. The Building Research Establishment is currently reviewing monetary approaches as the possible basis to assign a common unit to each criterion and thereby facilitate their more direct summation of the various assessment criteria[15]. Procedures from other disciplines may offer a more rational basis for deriving weighting factors within specific categories and between them. The Analytic Hierarchy Process [16] for example, is able to both structure problems and combine qualitative and quantitative attributes by disaggregating the problem into a hierarchy of components, determining the priorities for the elements of the hierarchy and finally, composing those numbers into overall weights which measure the decision outcomes. Within the process, the onus remains on the part of the user to declare specific priorities between constituent elements. The value of the method lies in structured logic in working through the possible comparisons and outcomes. 5 LINKS BETWEEN DESIGN AND ASSESSMENT CRITERIA Defining environmental criteria is dependent on the way in which they will be used. There is a qualitative difference in the type of information required to design a building than that required to assess it, although there are obvious potential links between them. The number and type of criteria for design will be typically more extensive than those used in assessment and, unless required by regulation, are optional in their application. A designer can clearly review assessment criteria and use them as a basis for formulating a strategy for a specific building. Design ‘ideas’ come from a stored repertoire of building forms visited or seen; then altered, amended and adapted to suit the task at hand and there is rarely any genuine attention paid to develop feasible alternatives or to evaluating them comparatively [17]. The assessment criteria within the above programs can be used and interpreted by design teams into effective strategies and offer a means of evaluating alternative approaches, e.g., BREEAM permits an intermediate review which can provide the design team with direction on achieving a higher score. This raises an important distinction between the way in which design criteria are formulated and the way in which they are used within the context of the design process. Papamichael and Protzen [18] argue that the design process is the “equivalent of exploring what is possible under the specific design context and adjusting performance criteria accordingly, since what is desirable may not be possible.” Moreover, they


identify that design criteria are “formulated throughout the design process” and depending on a host of issues including the skill of the designer and greater or less time to explore issues “the desired performance is either upgraded, improved, or degraded” This suggests that the way in which individual design (or assessment criteria) are structured can affect the success with which they are accommodated in the design process, e.g., differences in specifying ranges of performance rather than rigid targets. Methods are emerging which potentially offer designers both guidance as well a basis for evaluating the outcome. In Sydney, Australia, for example, the Ecologically Sustainable Development Assessment Model (ESDAM) [19, 20] has been developed requiring designers to consider their decisions in relation to environmental checklists at the beginning of a project and then evaluate their performance at the end of a particular phase. What is less clear at this stage is the way in which market driven assessment protocols may inadvertently dictate and limit the exploration of creative environmental strategies, i.e., presumably building owners will wish to attain a high assessment ‘score’ and their architects will comply by incorporating the strategies within the protocol at the expense of exploring other possibly more relevant strategies. 6 CONCLUSIONS This paper has identified some of the key issues related to the prioritizing and linking of environmental criteria and the extent to which they are currently accounted for in several assessment methods. The process of design and the interpretation of an environmental assessment both require comparison and judgment, i.e., assigning relative importance to environmental criteria and between environmental and other aspects of buildings. The basis for prioritizing environmental criteria is currently poorly defined and clearly requires much more extensive exploration. Although the paper has concentrated on the prioritization of environmental criteria in assessment, many of the ideas are equally applicable to establishing design criteria. We can anticipate an increase in approaches, like ESDAM, which link design and assessment more closely and that such approaches will become increasingly comprehensive. In the US, for example, the Environmental Protection Agency is currently developing methods to characterize and quantify the overall environmental impacts of buildings on the environment in order to inform actions related to planning, design, construction, use, and disposal of buildings in order to assess their relative magnitudes [21]. The project will produce an analytical framework, tools, and data that will “translate” various general properties of a building and its constituent materials and equipment into an environmental impact score which will enable designers to assess the implications of design alternatives on-line and in real time.

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Environmentally responsible building design covers a broad range of considerations—some are incompatible with one another, while others reinforce overall building performance and cost effectiveness. Two sets of relationships are of importance here, firstly linkages between different environmental issues and secondly, the linkages between environmental issues and other design concerns. It must be remembered that during the course of any project, designers continually face the inter-relationship between issues, whether consciously or otherwise often as a means of creatively offsetting possible cost increases associated with individual strategies. Although many propositions and frameworks have been suggested to expose linkages and conflicts, this realm of inquiry remains poorly defined, understood and applied in environmental design and assessment. Sustainable building design, although difficult to define with any precision at this point in time, will require major reductions in energy, material and water use, the elimination of the notion of ‘wastes,’ the exclusive use of renewable energy sources and, more significantly, a comprehensive integration of all systems. Moreover, it will require a broad-based, interdisciplinary approach and holistic thinking that is not currently not seen in conventional research into the environmental impact of buildings. Whereas we have mounting knowledge on specific environmental issues many of which have been incorporated in design and assessment criteria, we are in danger of losing sight of their interrelationship. With the exception of the Green Builder program, assessment methods do not currently acknowledge or reward the creative integration of environmental strategies. The next generation of environmental criteria for both design and assessment must be set within a framework which offers an overall picture of a buildings and natural world as an interconnected system, explicitly acknowledges and defines a coherent link between the individual criteria and provides a means of identifying significance. REFERENCES 1.

2. 3. 4. 5.

Wedley, W.C. (1990) Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Factors—An Analytic Hierarchy Approach, Socio-Economic Planning Science, Vol 24. No. 1, pp57–64. Sinclair, B. (1995) ‘Toolsets, Mindsets and Impetus for Transformation’, Update, Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, 18 (3) Dec/Jan 1995, p12. Ottinger, R.L., et al., (1990) Environmental Costs of Electricity, Pace Centre for Environmental Studies, Oceana Publications, Inc., New York. Kohler, N. (1991) Life Cycle Costs of Buildings, European Forum on Buildings and the Environment. UBC School of Architecture, March 15th 1991 Cole, R.J. and Rousseau, D.L. (1992) Environmental Auditing for Building Construction: Energy and Air Pollution Indices for Building Materials, Buildings and Environment (Pergamon Press, Oxford UK) 27, No.1, pp.23–30.



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Wackernagel, M., et al, (1993) How Big is Our Ecological Footprint—A Handbook for Estimating a Communities Appropriated Carrying Capacity, for Task Force on Planning Healthy and Sustainable Communities, UBC. Sainsbury, S. (1995) Ecocost, M Arch Thesis, Department of Architecture, University of Tasmania, Australia, (Unpublished). Prior, J. (Ed) (1993) Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method, (BREEAM) Version 1/93 New Offices, Building Research Establishment Report, Second Edition. Cole, R.J., Rousseau, D., and Theaker, I.T. (1993) Building Environmental Performance Assessment Criteria: Version 1—Office Buildings, The BEPAC Foundation, Vancouver, December 1993. Doxsey, W.L. (1994) The City of Austin Green Builder Program, US Green Building Conference—1994, NIST Special Publication #863, Ed. A.H. Fanney et al, US Dept. of Commerce, Technology Administration, June 1994, pp21–31. Wells, M.B., (1971) The Absolutely Constant Incontestably Stable Architectural Value Scale, Progressive Architecture, March 1971, pp 92–97 Wells, M.B. (1974) Environmental Impact, Progressive Architecture, June 1974 McDonough, W. (1992) The Hanover Principles—Design for Sustainability, William McDonough Architects, New York, N.Y. Levin, H. (1995) Building Ecology is My Destiny, Architecture California, May 1995, p38–40 Baldwin, R. and Yates, A., (1995) Weighting of Environmental Impacts in the Assessment of Buildings, Proceedings of CIB-TG8 International Workshop— Linking and Prioritizing Environmental Criteria, Toronto, Canada, [in press] Wedley, W.C. (1990) op.cit. Lera, S. (1993) ‘Architects’ Design Strategies: Some Justifications for Current Practice’, in: Designing for Building Utilisation. Eds: Powell, Cooper & Lera, pp 206–210, E & F.N. Spon. Papamichael, K., and Protzen, J.P., (1993) The Limits of Intelligence in Design, Energy and Environment Division, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories, University of California, Berkeley, CA, Report # LBL-31742/UC-350 Ecologically Sustainable Development Assessment Method (ESDAM), R.Simpson, Sydney, Australia, Private Communication, 7th June 1995 Partridge, H., and Cole, G., (1995) Ecologicaly Sustainanable Development Assessment Model (ESDAM), ESD Consultants, Sydney, Australia Levin, H. (1995) op cit.

Environmental cost internalization for sustainable construction Charles J.Kibert University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA

ABSTRACT The rapidly emerging movement seeking to move the construction of the built environment into a sustainability framework must create adequate decision making systems that allow the selection of the optimum solution from among a wide range of alternatives. Chief among the difficulties with developing these systems is that the issues involved have no common denominator that allows the determination of the relative worth of resources such as energy, water, materials, and land alongside environmental protection and the preservation of biodiversity and environmental amenity, to name a few. In the case of materials selection the trend has been to determine the relative ranking of alternatives based on environmental effects such as embodied energy and greenhouse gas generation. However the ultimate procurement of materials will ultimately rely on cost and performance as the main criteria for selection. Decision systems that use other than these criteria will probably be of little use. Although fraught with difficulties, the solution presented here is ultimately the sole useful approach to developing adequate decision systems for sustainable construction. The solution is the internalization of environmental costs or externalities, sometimes referred to as ‘social costs’. Keywords: Sustainable construction, materials selection, environmental impacts. 1 INTRODUCTION One of the important objectives in greening construction and other economic sectors must be to develop suitable accounting methods for including the cost of using the ‘commons,’ the earth’s air and water resources, as waste, thermal, and toxics sinks. These sinks amount to subsidies for industries utilizing them for the manufacture of materials, construction, generation of power, and other


human activities. The use of land resources for waste disposal and the damage done by toxics must also be included in these accounting systems. The implementation of schemes to internalize these so-called externalities must occur in a manner that realistically accounts for environmental impacts while at the same time motivating industry to replace linear processes with recycling strategies, eliminate end-of-pipeline waste management, minimize materials use, rely on renewable resources, and incorporate other environmentally responsible approaches. In spite of all efforts to internalize environmental costs, there will still be impacts that cannot be readily included in internalization schemes and these must be acknowledged and understood in the overall costing framework. A number of outstanding proposals have been floated as schemes for placing a price on mass units of air and water pollutants and some have even been implemented with varying degrees of success. Although it is feasible to determine the quantities of pollutants being generated by industry, the use of revenue generated from these taxes must also be addressed. Beyond a certain point the assimilative capacity of the earth can be exceeded and permanently damaged, a result that no amount of tax money can repair. The implications of internalization of environmental costs in creating a sustainable built environment are extremely important. The basis for allocating costs, performing the accounting, and distributing the proceeds from pollution surcharges requires detailed examination and thoughtful implementation to achieve the desired effects of minimizing resource depletion and environmental degradation, the twin goals of sustainable development. The ultimate use of the revised or true costs that would emerge from this effort would be their employment in decision making frameworks that would allow the construction community to realistically weigh their options without actual regard for sustainability itself. The result would be a transparent system that has sustainability actually built directly into the pricing of the materials and systems. 2 DECISION MAKING FOR SUSTAINABILITY In attempting to alter the course of creating the built environment from a path of waste, inefficiency, and environmental neglect to a direction of resource efficiency and sustainable practices, those promoting the changes are attempting to quantify the inputs, outputs, impacts, and other factors needed to allow decision making among alternative choices. Absent robust decision systems and methodologies, and the sole remaining guidelines are and must be intuitive. Prior to the 1980s the use of the reference sustainable development was virtually unknown. The term sustainability was first used in the U.S. in its present context in the National Energy Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969. However the notion of sustainability did not take hold for another 20 years. In the 1970s the idea of intertemporal choice, a precursor to the notion sustain ability, was being debated as strictly an economic argument [9], [11]. The concept of intertemporal


choice was a huge step forward from simply using consumption as an indicator of quality of life or welfare. The introduction of intertemporal choice was one of the first attempts to deal with the emerging realization that growth and the environmental quality were in tremendous conflict. Prior to the 1970s it was thought that growth and environmental quality were unrelated concepts. Although it had been recognized that impacts from growth activities caused environmental damage, the negative effects of the feedback loop whereby a diminished environment could adversely effect growth, were not recognized. Air and water pollution were not widely recognized to negatively affect growth and quality of life. It was not until much later that growth and environmental quality were seen to be tightly coupled, inextricably linked. For the first time the possibility of a reduction in quality of life and social welfare due to lowered environmental quality was recognized. A re-focusing on the real role of ecological systems as the basis for virtually all economic activity was rediscovered. The integration of ecological, socioeconomic, and institutional elements was recognized as perhaps the key feature of any planning or management activity related to sustainable development [2]. 3 TRADITIONAL VERSUS SUSTAINABLE CRITERIA Sustainability has its origins in the recognition that environmental problems impact not only our quality of life but also our economic systems. The present notion of sustainability was described in the 1987 Brundtland Report as ‘leaving sufficient resources for future generations to have a quality of life similar to ours.’ An environmental movement oriented toward sustainability emerged about this time and began affecting all segments of society and commerce, including, albeit slowly, the construction industry. For the construction industry the two classic sustainability criteria, minimizing resource depletion and preventing environmental degradation, are used to define sustainable construction. A third criterion connected to providing a healthy environment is added to directly connect the human occupant to environmental choices. This last criterion connects extensive efforts to provide good indoor environmental quality and the elimination of toxics from the building outdoor environment (pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, fertilizers) with the first two sustainability criteria (Table 1). 4 THE ISSUES OF SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION The first step in the process of establishing evaluation tools is to set forth the issues that are encompassed by sustainable construction (Table 2).


Table 1. Traditional and sustainability criteria for building materials, products, and systems

Table 2. The issues of sustainable construction

Construction operations consume energy, create substantial noise, and can cause significant damage and produce large quantities of waste. Changes in process are needed to protect the environment during these operations. Life cycle operation must carry forward the intent of the design, maintaining the performance of the systems and renovating and retrofitting in the same sustainable mode. Finally the deconstruction or demolition of the building, hopefully after many years of use, should result in a source of materials for new construction. This implies that materials and products that were utilized in creating the structure were selected for either their recyclability or ability to be composted and returned to the earth as biomass.


Table 3. The principles of sustainable construction

5 PRINCIPLES FOR SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION In this light a major challenge is establishing the principles of sustainable construction and creating a common vocabulary that can be used to exchange information, define methods, create appropriate materials, transition technology, and accomplish other related activities. The principles must be sufficiently broad to cover the issues of sustainable construction and flexible enough to adapt to evolving technologies. Creating the built environment with environmental awareness and sensitivity would be the outcome of using the principles in Table 3 [8]. 6 OBSTACLES TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND CONSTRUCTION All notions of sustainability in its various forms lead back to the realization that the evaluation of actions meant to progress toward sustainable development require evaluation methods. In the construction sector some progress has been made and methods such as BREEAM (U.K.), BEPAC (Canada), and the Austin (Texas) Green Builder Program have provided the first of these methods for decision making. The underpinnings of these methods has been extremely difficult to establish for several reasons, the major ones of which are listed below. 1. Programs each have their own understanding of sustainable development and construction and its issues.

Some programs rely almost on energy as the sole sustainability issue while others include materials and water in their programs and analysis. Still others have concluded that indoor environmental quality in various configurations (air, noise, light, temperature, humidity) are issues. There is no commonly accepted definition of sustainability for the built environment, the issues are still being articulated, and the guiding principles still being formulated. The net result is


that it is very difficult to exchange technical information between countries and programs. The vocabulary for this effort needs to be further developed. 2. The issues of sustainable development and construction have no common denominator.

Assuming that it is desirable to include the broader range of issues as worthy of consideration under the blanket of sustainable development and construction, much of the decision making must rely on trade-offs among measures that are intended to tackle the various problems. How does one decide among energy and water conserving measures versus indoor air quality or materials selection matters? Clearly some of these decision making measures will have a local character, for instance a region with chronic water shortages must invest far more in water conservation than areas where water is abundant. Models are difficult to establish for the very reason that there is no common denominator or units into which all issues and problems can be converted. The one exception may be cost and although a disagreeable alternative in some sectors, it may be the only relatively reliable unit that can be utilized. As will be noted later the costs need to be altered to reflect the environmental impacts such as pollution, damage, and depletion that may occur. Table 4 lists some of the evaluation methods that have been proposed together with their strengths and weaknesses [12]. 7 ISSUES OF EXTERNALITIES Although internalizing externalities would provide a neat, elegant solution to the difficulties encountered in many decision making situations found in sustainable construction, there are many difficulties associated with this concept. The issue of scale is very important. Some environmental issues such as acid rain, global wanning, and ozone depletion transcend national boundaries and are immediately global in scale. Some issues affect local and regional environmental quality both quickly and strongly such as toxic spills and soil erosion. Ultimately these too, especially in aggregate, will have wide ranging ramifications. Another issue is the willingness of nations to engage in attempts at the internalization process. High consuming, relatively wealthy countries generally have a greater willingness to pay the price for good environmental quality, whether it be end-of-pipeline solutions or pollution prevention methods, compared to lower consuming countries struggling to improve the economic well-being of its citizens. In countries such as Turkey and the ‘Tigers of Southeast Asia,’ environmental protection takes a distant back seat to production and the perception that to improve the quality of life for their citizens, the environment must be sacrificed. The challenge is how to facilitate a shift in thinking that connects economic performance to environmental quality and performance.


Table 4. Evaluation methods, strengths, and weaknesses

Although many interesting and clever internalization schemes do in fact exist, most of which are intended to transfer money from the polluter to the polluted or to repair damage, the actual schemes of how to execute this concept are very weak. Both the establishment of a suitable level of taxation as well as its application are very difficult to achieve.


8 LEVERAGING THE MARKET WITH TRUE COST In the past five years many approaches have been tried to provide a foundation for the decision making process for sustainable construction. Clearly the most difficult issues involve the selection of materials as the trade-offs among recyclability, recycled content, renewable sources, and toxics, to mention just a few issues are really not well understood at the present time. Most of the approaches provide selection criteria based on embodied energy and greenhouse warming gases. Clearly these criteria are extremely limited and do not take into account many other important criteria such as durability, quality, performance, and cost. In and of themselves criteria such as embodied energy are fraught with difficulties and inconsistencies. Variations in embodied energy calculations provide significant differences in the quantities of energy utilized. Carbon dioxide quantities do not take into account major differences in the energy sources utilized in the production and transportation activities. It is the contention here that the only viable option is to include the cost of the external impacts in the price of the product or service itself. Although this is easy to state, it is quite difficult but not impossible to carry out. The following are some proposed scenarios where the externalities have been largely internalized and thus something approaching the True Cost. Externalities are often referred to as social costs and could include environmental effects, impacts on human wealth, depletion of non-renewable resources, depletion costs of non-renewable resources, structural macroeconomic effects, and subsidies [1], [4], [5], [6]. Additionally one must also make allowances for not only the known cost areas but also those that are unknown. 9 METHODS FOR INTERNALIZING EXTERNALITIES There are several methods that have been used or can be used to level the economic playing field via internalization of externalities or ‘social’ costs. Among them are taxes, subsidies, command and control regulation emission fees, property rights, ‘environmental adders’, permits, and deposit and return schemes [7]. Some of the better known and more heavily utilized schemes are described below. The taxation method calculates the marginal cost of the social damage caused by the externality for cases of either air or water pollution. It should be noted that there have been some attempts to differentiate between positive and negative externalities, the difference being that the positives are associated with processes that actually improve environmental quality, for example, a wastewater treatment plant discharging water into a body of water with lower water quality. There are several methods that are usable to calculate the size of an externality tax. The first involves computing the cost of mitigating the environmental effects


when they occur, such as the costs of cleanup or the damage caused. The second method is the cost of adding controls to prevent environmental damage in the first place. Clearly a major sticking point is determining both the costs and benefits of protecting the environment. Several methods are used including (1) indirect market approaches, (2) direct questioning approaches, and (3) direct quantification. Indirect market approaches include (1) the averting behavior approach, (2) the weak-complementarity approach, and (3) the use of hedonic price functions. The basic notion of these methods is simply to look at the behavior of people as they purchase homes or take vacations. The averting behavior approach examines what people are willing to pay to avoid the externality or pollution. The weakcomplementarity approach is often used to examine the connection between improved environmental quality as it relates to people’s use of recreation areas. Hedonic studies deal with sets of environmental characteristics and how they may relate to the price of housing. The direct questioning method or contingent valuation studies relies on asking people what they would be willing to pay for a good for which no market exists. ‘Green Pricing is a variety of direct questioning that determines the added price a consumer would pay for more environmentally responsible products such as renewable resources. Green Pricing is not hypothetical but involves actual products that the consumer can buy to indicate their preferences. In some U.S. jurisdictions people are asked to voluntarily pay extra to support conservation programs, generally with remarkable success. Direct quantification methods such as the direct impact assessment method can directly quantify the costs of pollution damage to crops, health, wildlife, tourism, and other issues. Another variety, shadow pricing, measures the cost of alternatives to increasing supply-side consumption, such as demand-side management. The difference in cost between supply-side and demand-side approaches provides the marginal social benefit of the alternative. At the present time the term integrated resource planning is often used to describe the balancing of supply and demand-side management considerations [3]. 10 MATERIALS SELECTION The traditional criteria for materials selection have been Price, Performance, and Quality. Price must include the costs of extraction, production, transportation, and the costs of the business infrastructure that markets and sells the product or service. Note that all the costs for embodied energy, less externalities, are already included in the price. The price can be referred to as the Base Cost to which we must add the costs of the externalities. These include the costs of air and water pollution, the costs of disposal as a function of potential reuse or recycling at the end of the life cycle.


True Cost=Base Cost+Externalities (Pollution, Extractive Damage, Disposal) There are several problems connected to selecting materials on the one hand and keeping watch of environmental issues on the other, among them: (1) Over-dependence on consumption as an indicator of quality of life. (2) Use of discount rate in analysis emphasizing current consumption over future consumption. 11 MARKET FORCES VS. GOVERNMENT REGULATION One major challenge is to determine how to organize market forces with limited government regulation to utilize a combination of technology, inventiveness, and substitution together with emission standards to create the True Cost of goods and services. Another challenge is to separate those trends and effects that need immediate intervention from those that are probably solvable by market forces themselves. A rather obvious example of the former is the dumping of highly toxic and/or radioactive materials into the world’s oceans. Clearly this is not a sustainable practice. On the other hand issues of resource depletion, the incorporation of depletion taxes, and the role of substitutability are perhaps better left to market forces to sort out. Although there have been many suggestions along the lines of depletion taxes, there are many inherent difficulties. Depletion taxes that are not applied on an international basis would simply place one’s home industries out of business while allowing those in regions who choose not to apply these taxes to sell their products far more cheaply. Prices for commodities will rise based on relative scarcity and there is no reason to believe that substitutes will not be found. Although there may be occasionally adequate national willpower to actually cause internalization of many of the social costs, the international picture overall is rather bleak. The coupling of economic performance with environmental quality and resource husbandry is not well understood in many countries. A major Central American country’s president recently stated that in the choice of jobs for people or the environment, he would choose jobs. Clearly the connection between economic success and environmental success needs to be well and clearly articulated. 12 CONCLUSIONS Although there have been many attempts to utilize environmental impacts alone as criteria in the decision making process to improve the sustainability aspects of construction, these alone are insufficient to support the process. A far better approach is to focus all sectors of the economy on adjusting the pricing of


materials and systems to reflect their true cost by the most equitable manner possible. Although this is a difficult matter with many logical and technical difficulties to overcome, true cost utilization would ultimately be a far more reliable method than the use of embodied energy, carbon dioxide generation, toxics creation, and other factors as decision points. Because the issue of internalization affects all economic activity, creating a true cost scheme would have the advantage of ease of use and consistency. This suggests that those in the construction industry who are motivated to utilize true cost to replace the current pricing scheme would profit greatly by finding and collaborating with likeminded individuals in other industries who are undoubtedly struggling with the same issues. REFERENCES 1. 2.

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Anderson, F.R. et al. (1977) Environmental Improvement through Economic Incentives, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Armitage, D. (1995) ‘An integrative methodological framework for sustainable environmental planning and management, Environmental Management, 19(4), 469– 79. Beecher, Janice A. (1995) ‘Integrated resource planning’, Journal of the American Water Works Association, June, 34–48. Dorfman, Robert and Nancy S.Dorfman, eds. (1972) Economics of the Environment: Selected Readings, New York: W.W.Norton & Company, Inc. The Ecologist (1972) Blueprint for Survival, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. Hohmeyer, Olav (1992) ‘External costs and a new tool for hybrid analysis in life cycle costing,’ Proceedings of Buildings and Environment, Queens’ College Cambridge University, 27–29 September. Jordan, Jeffrey J. (1995) ‘Incorporating externalities in energy conservation programs,’ Journal of the American Water Works Association, June, 49–56. Kibert, Charles J. (1994) ‘Establishing Principles and a Model for Sustainable Construction,’ Proceedings of the First International Conference on Sustainable Construction, Tampa, Florida, USA, 6–9 November 1994, 1–10. Lecomber, Richard (1975) Economic Growth versus the Environment, New York: John Wiley & Sons. Savage, D.T. et al. (1974) The Economics of Environmental Improvement, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. Tobin, J. (1964) ‘Economic growth as an objective of policy’, American Economic Review, Papers and Proceedings. Workshop (1992) Proceedings of Buildings and Environment, Queens’ College Cambridge University, 27–29 September.

Environmental impact evaluation of buildings and cities for sustainability A.B.Birtles Building Research Establishment, Watford WD2 7JR, UK

ABSTRACT The environmental labelling of buildings is a potentially powerful market based mechanism for reducing environmental impacts across a wide range of issues affecting the global, local and indoor environments. In 1990 the Building Research Establishment (BRE) launched its environmental assessment method (BREEAM) and there are now five versions covering different building types: New Offices; New Homes; New Superstores and Supermarkets; New Industrial Buildings and Existing Offices. A ‘Cities’ version of BREEAM is under development in collaboration with a network of UK and European Cities and Universities. BREEAM exercises market influence in three important ways. It raises awareness of the importance of environmental performance; it sets targets for achievement in relation to key performance indications, and it provides documentary recognition when targets have been met. The scheme is voluntary, self financing and helps markets to work better. Currently around 25% of new office development in the UK apply for a BREEAM assessment. This demonstrates that clients, designers and users of the building, who participate in BREEAM, are convinced that there are real benefits in addressing the environmental concerns of their customers and other business stakeholders. The BREEAM portfolio remains the only standard environmental assessment process for buildings, operating anywhere in the world. The paper will give a background development and content of BREEAM and explore the benefits which it provides to all the participants. Keywords: environmental impact assessment, BREEAM, buildings, sustainability, assessment method


1 INTRODUCTION What is not generally realised is that buildings, in their construction, use and demolition account for a large share of environmental impacts arising from our economic activity. People in northern Europe spend on average 90% at least of their time indoors, probably more in an urban environment. More importantly, buildings have a major impact on the global environment through energy use and the use of chemicals such as CFCs. In the UK and other Western European countries, buildings account for about 50% of primary energy use (and hence CO2 output), far outweighing the contribution of either transport or industry sectors. Worldwide, buildings account for 40% of energy use, 40% of materials use, 25% of timber and about 16% of fresh water. This paper describes action taken by the Building Research Establishment to set standards for more environmentally friendly buildings so helping market forces to bring about environmental awareness and sensitivity in the industry. The Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) is an environmental assessment method, embodied in an accreditation scheme, which is enjoying considerable success in the UK. The paper describes its development and underlying philosophy and provides details of its content and operation. The success of BREEAM both in terms of its uptake and the range of credits achieved are discussed. The paper also discusses the benefits which BREEAM can give to all building users, to players in the construction and property markets, and to those responsible for environmental management on an urban scale. 2 THE BREEAM SCHEME BREEAM is a scheme for environmental labelling of buildings developed by BRE in collaboration with a number of private sector sponsors. The basis of the scheme is a Certificate awarded to individual buildings stating clearly, and in a way that can be made visible to clients and users alike, the performance of the building against a set of defined environmental criteria. This Certificate can be displayed in the building, or used in the promotional portfolio, and may form part of the developer and occupier’s overall environmental policy statement and management system. It thus rewards positive actions taken by the client or the designer to improve the environmental performance of the building, and provides a credible way of differentiating ‘greener’ buildings from other designs so assisting in marketing to an environmentally selective clientele. Developers and designers can thus present environmental performance as an aspect of overall quality and gain a commercial advantage from doing so. The scheme is voluntary and self-financing. Assessments are carried out by independent assessors licensed by BRE. BRE, as ‘owner’, underpins the UK


scheme, with its reputation for authority and independence, and provides technical support for the various criteria and algorithms used. BRE also provides quality control, guidance to assessors on complex technical issues and monitoring and updating the schemes content and performance requirements. The first version, launched in 1990 was for new office buildings, assessed at the design stage, and was updated in January 1993, to reflect developing knowledge and experience gained in the operation of the scheme. It has proved very popular with around 200 buildings assessed so far, about 25% of eligible new office designs developed in this period. It has proven an attractive marketing tool for private sector speculative developers. It also forms part of standard specifications for designs for major property owners and managers, such as Property Holdings, the UK government estate managers. It has also begun to attract attention from city authorities, including those responsible for inward investment and for development planning. Other design stage schemes have been launched for supermarkets, new homes, and light industrial buildings and others are being planned. A significant development, however, was the scheme for existing offices, which for the first time provided guidelines on the operation and management of the building as well as its fabric and services. The Certificate for this version is in two parts, one dealing with the fabric and services, the other with operation and management policies, so allowing different groups to use the scheme, and accommodating the various opportunities for assessment during the life of the building. 3 DEVELOPMENT OF THE SCHEME The scheme has been developed with sponsorship from major developers in the UK. They have made substantial intellectual contributions to the underlying philosophy, the market orientation of the scheme, and the practicality of the criteria and assessment procedures. This pattern has been followed in the development of all versions so far, and is very important in ensuring the market acceptability of the scheme. The first problem in developing the scheme is the vast range of environmental issues or environmental indicators which potentially could be included. Another problem is that there already exists a wide range of legal obligations relating to the environment. Of a more practical nature, there is a financial limit to the effort that can reasonably be put into any assessment, governed primarily by the client’s willingness to pay. One technical problem is the need to specify not only environmental criteria or targets, but also a practical way of assessing whether the building complies with the criteria. In the interests of clarity and to aim for a broad and balanced approach to the environment it was decided to group the issues under three main headings: • global issues and use of resources


Table 1. Issues in BREEAM/new industrial units

• local issues • indoor issues An early decision was taken not to reward designers for complying with their legal obligations, so levels of performance were set going beyond these obligations, thereby encouraging higher environmental standards. Issues were only included if an important environmental issue was involved; if sensible criteria could be set; and importantly if there was some means of assessing compliance. This eliminated for the time being a large number of issues, many of some importance (e.g. energy content of materials). Some of these may be included in future revisions and versions as knowledge and understanding develops. However, BRE took the view that in spite of these gaps, enough was known to make significant steps in defining and assessing ‘greener’ buildings. The published reports describing each scheme list these omitted issues. On assessing compliance, it is worth noting that energy performance is the most technically demanding issue: most energy models make substantial and costly demands for data input, and a


major problem was to find a ‘simple’ energy model of sufficient accuracy. The Industrial Units version of BREEAM in common with that covering Existing Offices uses a checklist of features which reduce CO2 emissions as an economical alternative to the energy modelling software packages used in the other versions. As an example, the issues covered under BREEAM for new industrial units are summarised in Table 1. The BREEAM Certificate was designed so that issues received individual, discrete ‘credits’, for the issues shown in Table 2. A credit signifies that the design satisfies the criteria for the issue concerned but there is no attempt at weighting the diverse issues covered. It is tempting to add up the credits to give an overall score for the building. However, assessing the relative importance of disparate issues is a considerable and currently intractable problem, so this has not been attempted. To aid communication we have included a summary of performance expressed as a single rating of FAIR, GOOD, VERY GOOD or EXCELLENT, based on a minimum level of credits achieved in each of the three Sections (Global/Resources, Local and Indoor). This rating is simply a measure of the balance of the design approach across these three categories. A rating of EXCELLENT indicates a high standard of performance across the range of impacts, although there may still be scope for further refinement. 4 TECHNICAL CONTENTS OF BREEAM The following section describes some of the technical issues covered in the New Industrial Units version of BREEAM in greater depth. Other versions cover the same issues although the method of assessment may differ as a result of the practicalities and economics of the sector. Most of the environmental issues assessed by BREEAM for New Industrial Units are common to both speculative and owner occupied or ‘bespoke’ buildings. However, some credits are only applicable to fully fitted out units. Owing to the wide range of industrial processes which this type of building can accommodate it is not possible to anticipate how an end user will want to condition the space. For this reason the assessment method includes a separate module giving credits for the best environmental practice in fitting out the operational area in ‘bespoke’ schemes or where the end user is known.


4.1 Global issues 4.1.1 Carbon dioxide production due to energy consumption The greenhouse effect is caused by gases in the atmosphere such as CO2, methane (CH4), CFCs and nitrous oxide (N2O). It is generally accepted that they absorb and re-emit a proportion of the infrared radiation emitted by the earth’s surface, so leading to a warming of the lower atmosphere. As BREEAM focuses on the environment, it is appropriate to concentrate on the reduction of CO2 production rather than the consumption of delivered energy. Delivered energy does not directly reflect CO2 production because CO2 production per unit of energy delivered depends on the fuel used. The issue of energy efficiency, and hence carbon dioxide emissions is dealt with by a review of individual carbon dioxide emission saving measures that can be specified as part of the design. In industrial buildings, the energy use is split between office accommodation, and the operational area. Credits are given based on a review of individual features of the building services and fabric. Each feature is assigned a number of points relating to the amount of CO2 that could be expected to be saved, as a result of its presence. The point scores have been derived from a review of the case studies used to provide the data for the UK Energy Efficiency Office design manual for energy efficiency in factories. The relative effect of a particular feature may differ from one factory to another; for example some types of lighting controls would be expected to have less of an effect in factory units with poor daylighting than they would in a factory unit with a higher daylight factor. Checklist 1 (Table 2) deals only with the office accommodation. It reviews the measures that can be incorporated into the office to reduce the energy consumption, and hence CO2 emissions from the future heating and lighting. In most cases offices are fitted out with lighting and heating systems and are not air conditioned. This is included as an example in Table 2. Checklists 2 and 3 (not reproduced here but included in the BRE report, BREEAM/New Industrial Units, version 5/93) deal with the operational area. There are two checklists because, depending upon the type of development, the operational area may or may not be fitted out with heating and lighting systems. Therefore, in some BREEAM assessments, it may not be possible to assess in advance the heating and lighting systems in the operational areas. Checklist 2 covers measures which can be undertaken by designers whether or not the operational area is fitted out with heating and lighting whilst checklist 3 covers those issues normally incurred at the fit-out stage.


Table 2. CHECKLIST 1 (Applicable to all designs)


4.1.2 Ozone depletion due to CFCs, HCFCs and Halons Building services can have a profound impact on the amount of damage done to the ozone layer from chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and halons. As other uses of CFCs are eliminated (for example aerosols) the relative importance of buildings as a potential threat to the ozone layer increases. CFCs, HCFCs and halons are chemical compounds which cause damage to the earth’s stratospheric ozone layer. The ozone depletion potential (ODP) for a given substance is a measure of the contribution of that substance to ozone depletion relative to that of CFC 11. Thus CFC 11 has an ODP of 1, and is the most damaging of the CFCs. From both the energy and ozone depletion point of view, the best thing would be to design buildings so that they did not need air conditioning. In addition to air conditioning, the avoidance of the use of halons is also considered as is the elimination of ozone depleting substances in the manufacture of thermal insulation. 4.1.3 Natural resources To maximise the use of renewable resources and thus minimize the consumption of non-renewable resources BREEAM awards credits for the specification of timber from sustainably managed sources and the use of suitable demolition materials as fill and hardcore. The use of suitable crushed concrete aggregate in foundations, over-site slabs, hardstanding, paths and roads is also rewarded as is the use of blockwork containing at least 50% by volume of waste or recycled materials. Finally a credit is available for the provision of suitable storage space for recyclable materials. 4.1.4 Longevity So as to minimize the consumption of limited resources and limit the damage caused by the exploitation and processing of these materials it may be preferable to design for the durability and easy maintenance of materials. BREEAM rewards steps taken to protect the more vulnerable parts of the building including areas around loading bay doors.


4.2 Local issues 4.2.1 Water economy Water is increasingly becoming a scarce resource with an associated increase in the degree of financial and environmental cost. The encouragement of steps taken to minimize consumption provides a viable and environmentally sensible alternative to the development of additional resources. A credit is available for providing WC’s which have a maximum flushing capacity of 6 litres or less. BREEAM also credits the use of water saving taps and control devices on urinals. 4.2.2 Effects on the microclimate Large buildings can cause substantial effects on the local wind patterns around them and can overshadow neighbouring properties; both sunlight and light from the sky can be affected. The impact of a new building on all nearby buildings where daylight is of value should be checked; this would include homes, hospitals, hotels, schools and most offices and workshops. In general any overshadowing should be minimised. The BRE Report Site Planning for Daylight and Sunlight: A Guide to Good Practice, contains a means of checking the degree of overshadowing. Large buildings will also block sunshine and this is especially important for adjacent homes and gardens. The British Standard on daylight BS8206 part 2, recommends that the interiors of homes should receive over a quarter of yearly probable sunshine hours, with at least 5% of yearly probable sunshine hours being received in the 6 months September to March. The BREEAM scheme therefore gives a credit for buildings which either do not cause substantial overshadowing of neighbouring properties or which do not cause an existing situation to deteriorate. 4.2.3 Derelict/contaminated land The re-use of sites and reclamation of contaminated land from industrial processes and landfill has obvious advantages to the environment. BREEAM rewards the use of such sites where all necessary steps are taken to follow current best practice when cleaning up the area.


4.2.4 Noise Unwanted sound from buildings can cause serious noise pollution and consequent problems for surrounding residents. The acceptability of the noise source in a residential area can be assessed using the rating system described in the British Standard BS4142, 1990. Where residential properties are nearby minimal noise pollution can be achieved by ensuring that steps are taken to minimize the noise from fans and other plant and traffic associated with the building. 4.2.5 Transport and cyclists’ facilities To encourage the reduction of pollution generated by cars and other vehicles, BREEAM includes three credits in this category. Good availability of public transport is important in this respect and a credit is awarded where this is available. Cycling is the most environmentally friendly means of transport and BREEAM encourages the provision of adequate facilities such as secure cycle storage, changing facilities, drying space and showers. Industrial buildings generally deal with a substantial amount of heavier traffic in the form of goods vehicles. A credit is given where parking and manoeuvring areas are designed to avoid any necessity for repeated shunting and where the design provides vehicle waiting space and separate storage areas for refuse skips and pallet stacks. 4.3 Indoor issues 4.3.1 Ventilation The purpose of this credit is to achieve an improved level of indoor air quality in the operational area, while maintaining energy efficiency. A credit is awarded where the ventilation system is designed to provide in excess of 8 litres per second per person and 1.3 litres per second per m2 of operational area, with provision to at least double these levels when conditions demand it. 4.3.2 Lighting Again the BRE Report Site Planning for Daylight and Sunlight: A Guide to Good Practice, is used along with the CIBSE Window Design Manual as the criteria for establishing whether or not a design maximises the effective use of daylight. Most people prefer natural light to artificial light, and it has the added bonus of reducing electricity consumption for lighting.


Turning to artificial lighting, a credit is available for the use of high frequency ballasts in place of conventional ballasts. In offices, headaches and eyestrain have successfully been reduced when high frequency ballasts have been substituted for conventional ballasts used in fluorescent lighting. Finally a credit is given for providing an adequate view out of the operational area with a cill not higher than 1.1m and a head above 1.8m above floor level. The area of glazing required for this purpose is arrived at by taking a percentage of the largest wall area and varies depending on the depth of the space affected. 4.3.3 Thermal comfort and overheating With the strong emphasis on reducing CO2 emissions, it is possible to forget that there is a risk of discomfort due to both overheating and underheating in buildings. For this reason the scheme gives a credit where it can be demonstrated that the building design has been subject to an assessment consistent with good practice guidance on thermal comfort. The avoidance of overheating is an important consideration in the design of a building. Whilst the use of air-conditioning (and, to some extent, mechanical ventilation without cooling) can provide solutions to the problems of overheating due to excessive solar or internal gains, the need for air conditioning may be avoided by appropriate design, thus improving energy efficiency. For example, thermal mass may be used with night-time ventilation to control internal temperatures. External shutters or deep reveals can be used to control solar gain. High internal heat gains such as from photocopiers can be concentrated into a room with fans to extract the heat. Thermal comfort is defined as “that condition of mind which expresses satisfaction with the thermal environment”. Twenty years of research has resulted in the development of recommendations which help in the assessment of the comfort of occupants. Further research has examined the effects of discomfort on people. The general rule is that conditions of optimal thermal comfort result in the best conditions for performance and well-being of occupants. However, different temperatures will be optimal at different times for different people. It is therefore advisable to incorporate, where possible, provision for individual workers to control their environments. Many studies have shown that at adverse (extreme) room temperatures (i.e. greater than 30°C) both mental performance and productivity are reduced but these effects are not so clear in less extreme conditions (26–30°C). The faculties affected include, reading speed and comprehension, concentration span, logical thinking and writing speed. In overheated conditions the occupants may also become irritable, or conversely feel drowsy, with the onset of fatigue more rapid. Physical as well as mental performance is affected by heat; one study found that physical performance was reduced by 10% at 29°C and 22% at 32°C. Low temperatures also affect manual dexterity.


5 UPTAKE OF BREEAM/NEW OFFICES Analysis of the assessments carried out shows that BREEAM has had a substantial effect on the commercial office market. In total some 15 million square feet of floor space has undergone BREEAM assessments over the past 3 or 4 years. This represents a significant proportion (about 25%) of the total sector over this period. This is a substantial proportion, but leaves significant untapped potential. Nevertheless, the very high rate of success means that BREEAM has essentially become established as the standard language used when designers, developers and their clients discuss the environmental performance of buildings. The implication of this is that the end users of buildings (and other players in the market) are becoming increasingly aware of the issues and are reflecting these in their procurement policies. 6 THE ROLE OF BREEAM AND THE BENEFITS IT PROVIDES The cost of an assessment ranges from £1,500 to £4,000 or so depending on the building type and the scale of the development concerned. The benefits to the different participants in the scheme can be identified in a number of ways. 6.1 Enhancing corporate image When the scheme was launched, it was apparent that there was a demand for environmentally friendlier buildings. Some designers and developers were trying to respond to this demand. Clients, however, had no common set of standards with which to make an informed judgement of how extensively environmental issues had been considered. Without these standards it was impossible to have an objective and credible way of differentiating ‘green’ buildings from the rest. BREEAM provides a way of achieving this which has become widely accepted in the market place. 6.2 Improving marketability By differentiating ‘greener’ buildings from other designs, BREEAM is able to provide the construction industry with a product to sell to environmentally conscientious clients. BREEAM rewards both a developer’s and designer’s positive actions towards the environment by providing market advantages denied to those designing outside the scheme. One of the intentions of BREEAM is to bring commercial benefits to the construction industry from addressing


environmental issues. It stimulates a market for environmentally friendlier products. A recent survey revealed that about 30% of clients would pay increased rents for environmentally friendlier buildings, lending strength to the role of BREEAM as a marketing tool. 6.3 Benefiting the environment Whatever the designers’/developers’ motives, the existence of BREEAM has encouraged designers to become more environmentally sensitive. Buildings have a long life, so any improvements in their initial design will significantly reduce their future environmental impact. As the scheme is voluntary, it allows important environmental issues to be addressed sooner and in a more flexible and accommodating way than if they were covered by legislation. BREEAM could be thought of as bringing consensus to complicated and contradictory environmental issues. This work draws from existing research programs being undertaken by BRE, and also of industry concerns by widespread consultation with the construction industry and its professionals. Environmental improvement also brings benefits to society at large. 6.4 Providing benefits to everyone who uses buildings Finally, BREEAM can be seen as a way of recognising that the indoor environment of greener buildings protects the health, well-being and productivity of the buildings’ occupants together with those potentially affected in the locality. It draws attention to the need to ensure that the quality of the internal environment is not compromised, and in addition promotes buildings which enjoy lower operating costs by virtue of their energy efficiency. 7 CITIES BREEAM The most recent initiative in the BREEAM portfolio is to develop a version of BREEAM to assess the environmental impact of towns and cities. This is still at an early stage, and will be a major challenge. However, Agenda 21 identifies the need for 80% action at local level, and this puts cities and sustianability in the spotlight. Clearly for this version of BREEAM the range of performance indicators will be different, in particular since the transport and industry sectors will be likely to have comparable influence to that of the buildings sector. Nevertheless, the overall methodology will be similar: first identifying the more important performance indicators; then benchmarking to establish best practice; developing


wide consensus on performance targets with respect to each indicator, and finally assessing the performance of individual cities relative to targets. The market motivations for this version of BREEAM are somewhat different from those of other versions. They are: (a) To stimulate inward investment, based upon • increased environmental quality and therefore quality of life • robustness against cost of compliance with future environmental legislation (b) To provide a development planning tool, by helping to quantify: • headroom for improvement • likely costs of alternative routes to improvement (c) To establish marketing bridgeheads for business and industry by • providing market intelligence on likely developments • facilitating partnerships At the heart of the BREEAM methodology lies the need to establish a broad consensus amongst those communities whose business and quality of life is affected by environmental impacts. This is essential to underpin the acceptability of the scheme and to greatly enhance the likelihood of its widespread take-up in practice. 8 CONCLUSION BREEAM is believed to be the first scheme in the world specifically to provide recognition of buildings where due attention has been paid to reducing environmental impacts. It is proving popular in the UK, and a range of building types is now included in the scheme. Similar schemes are now under development in other European countries, using BREEAM as a model. This scheme demonstrates a means whereby voluntary, market led actions can lead to environmental improvement and complement statutory requirements. A very significant current initiative promises to develop a version of BREEAM for towns and cities. This could contribute substantially to the enhancement of environmental quality on a national and regional scale.

Illuminating the cumulative impact of small decisions—a study of building demolition B.L.Golton Department of Surveying, University of Salford, Salford M5 4WT, UK

Keywords: cumulative impact, building demolition, holistic appraisal, assessment 1 INTRODUCTION In July 1988 the EC Directive concerning Environmental Impact Assessment came into force in the UK. In the North West of England, of the first 40,000 applications submitted for development approval after it came into force, only one hundredth of one percent, a total of four applications, required an Environmental Impact Statement. Those four are individually significant but there is also a need to know the significance of the cumulative effect of the other developments. The impact of these other developments is ignored in the assessment of the total impact of development. The environmental impact of the full lifetime dynamics of the developments from construction through to demolition is also ignored. There needs to be a holistic appraisal of the ‘cradle to grave’ life of a development to be able to assess the environmental impact. 2 THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AGENDA FOR BUILDING The environmental impact of building is closely related to the sustainable development agenda for building. In addressing that agenda there are a number of approaches. Some propose reusable low embodied energy materials, manufactured and extracted efficiently from sustainable sources. Others look at high performance and ‘smart’ materials which can vary their optical and thermal properties in response to the climate changes. On the demolition side, selective demolition techniques are being developed in order to avoid contamination of the recyclable materials. Another strategy is to design buildings with deconstructable attributes and so visualising the deconstruction process from the outset. This allows, with minimum energy expenditure, the


reuse of elements from obsolete buildings into new structures. Currently, in the building industry, as with all others, increased efficiency, decreases in waste and the creation of new markets for the reworked waste products are now recognised as sound goals. This paper focuses on the demolition phase of building to give insight into the issues which need to be addressed in assessing cumulative effects. The aim is to illuminate the current position with respect to the debris trail of demolished buildings. In the past, thatched timber and stone buildings were allowed to decay naturally and workable stone and timber was reused. Today, with a variety of new materials and diverse components, the decay process has become complex and problems have arisen with disposal (Wyatt & Gilleard, 1994). The EC Directive 91/156/EEC was issued in March 1991 following the publication of the Brundtland Report introducing the notion of “sustainable development”. The Directive calls for governments to encourage recycling and to implement measures which reduce or prevent waste (Pauw et al, 1994). The Commission of European Communities classified demolition waste as a “priority waste stream” due to the large quantities produced each year. Current estimates indicate that construction and demolition waste generated within Western Europe is almost double that of municipal waste (Pauw et al, 1994). There are several factors which emphasise the need to reuse and recycle demolition waste (Brooks et al, 1994). They are: • • • •

Rapidly filling landfills; Tougher waste management; Environmental regulations; Increased public resistance to disposal.

The Landfill Tax outline by the UK Government in 1995 is designed to encourage industry to recycle waste, reduce the amount created and find alternatives to landfill. Concern has been expressed that the charge will force the disposal of waste from well engineered high standard sites, to cheaper and less environmentally sound landfills. Further it might also encourage the transport of wastes over longer distances in search of cheaper sites. There is also worry that the charge will also give added incentive for incineration of municipal waste in place of recycling or reuse. The benefits of recycling and reuse include: • Reduced reliance on landfills, providing extra life to traditional disposal areas and reducing future environmental problems. • Conservation of valuable natural resources and preservation of natural areas which would otherwise have become landfill sites. • Reduction or elimination of illegal disposal areas as markets for demolition waste are created (Hamassaki & Netto, 1994; Ruch & Rentz, 1994).


The average composition of demolition waste, by weight, in Western Europe is mainly masonry (45%) and concrete (40%). The remainder is wood (8%), metal (4%) and paper and plastics (3%). The UK produces an estimated 70 million tonnes of masonry and concrete waste each year of which only 4% undergoes high level processing to produce secondary aggregate. A further 29% goes to low level users on or near the site of origin. The waste is recycled through fixed mobile mechanical processors. Fixed plant is favoured as it produces a higher quality material with less noise and dust pollution. Bulk demolition waste is a poor homogeneous material requiring careful planning before processing. The final products include crushed asphalt, aggregates, masonry and sand. The amount of each product will vary from region to region (Pauw et al, 1994). For example, in Liverpool there is a transfer station which, selectively, takes in a weekly average of eight thousand tonnes of building waste. It is sorted and light materials such as timber and plastics are removed. The rest is crushed and the steel is removed and sold on for recycling. The fine grades are separated and sold for landscaping and topsoil. The larger grades are sold as low quality road and foundation aggregate. The application of recycled material is limited by their variable and poor qualities. They are often successfully used in non-structural elements. Highway construction is the most frequent application of crushed aggregates. Crushed concrete is used as a sub-base or base of course materials. In Germany, since reunification, many of the cold war structures have been recycled into road base material (Brooks et al, 1994). Likewise in Melbourne, Australia, high rise buildings of the late 1950’s were recycled into the Western Ring Road Project and in Sydney the Third Runway incorporated the debris from demolished buildings (Eilenberg & McBean, 1994). In the Netherlands recycled aggregates have been used in the interior concrete of houses with success (Pauw et al, 1994) Recycled masonry aggregates contain heat insulating properties. The fire resistance qualities of concrete produced from these aggregates produces a superior fire resisting quality concrete than that produced from virgin materials (Pauw et al, 1994). Waste timber is the focus of recycling research to produce wood cement composites for insulated wall panels and highway sound barriers (Frank, 1994). Wood has been successfully used as fuel source for power generation (Brooks et al, 1994) which is an extension of the traditional use of wood for heat generation. The destination of the demolition debris trail and the use to which the debris is put affect the overall environmental impact of a building. This information is not available at the time of inception. Environmental impact assessments undertaken at the outset of a development do not assess the deconstruction phase. There is an implicit assumption that the building somehow disappears without impact. Clearly that is a flawed perspective. The technologies used in demolition, the nature and length of the debris trail and the destination and uses to which the debris is put have a significant effect on the environmental impact of the building.


Many small actions accumulate to effect a significant change. The case studies which follow reveal the process on two demolition projects and give insight into the problems associated with assessing this phase of the life of a development. 3 CASE STUDY—HULME, MANCHESTER, UK 3.1 Location The site is located at the junction of Royce Road, Claburn Road and Chichester Road in the City of Manchester in the North West of England. 3.2 Site history Hulme was observed by Engels in 1844 and he reported that “Hulme…is one great working-people’s district,…the more thickly built-up regions chiefly bad and approaching ruin, the less populous of more modern structure, but generally sunk in filth.” (Engels, 1973). Waves of demolition and redevelopment have occurred since 1844. The present development, which is the subject of this study, replaced large three storey terrace housing in the 1960s. The large terrace houses were demolished to be replaced by a development inspired by the scale, form and harmony of Bath’s Georgian terraces. With the use of similar shapes and proportions to that of Georgian buildings, it was intended to be “a solution to the problem of 20th century living which would be the equivalent in quality of that reached for the requirements of the 18th century in Bloomsbury and Bath…. The dwellings…planned from the start with factory prefabrication in mind…[have]… a high quality of finish, both internally and externally,…because structural components, fittings and services will be manufactured and supervised under factory conditions…” (Wilson & Womersley, 1965). Manchester City Council made the decision to demolish the 1960s property on the basis of user unacceptability. The properties were structurally sound and for the most part weather tight but a change in social attitudes created political pressure forcing demolition. Had Wilson and Womersley been obliged to produce an Environmental Impact Statement in 1965, assuming current knowledge, the statement would have been invalidated by the premature demise of the property. Building obsolescence and the determinants of building obsolescence are not themes of this text but they do have significant effect on the weight of the environmental impact of a development. They are issues which have been discussed elsewhere (Golton, 1991).


3.3 Demolition phase 2–1995 The demolition contract formed part of Phase 2 of the Manchester City Council Hulme Regeneration Scheme partly funded by the European Development Fund. The buildings being demolished were seven storey, deck access dwellings, a public house and a small number of shops. Manchester City Council put the demolition contract out to tender with a requirement for the contractor to “dispose of all waste”. The demolition contractor was free to determine the technology to be used and the method of disposal of waste. The successful demolition contractor is a member of the National Federation of Demolition Contractors and has carried out the demolition on four of the seven phases in the Hulme Regeneration Scheme. The demolition began with the company using labour intensive techniques to strip and sweep out the buildings. Wherever possible salvaged material and components were resold. The considerable time spent in stripping out reusable items from the buildings reflects a change in attitude within the demolition industry. The approach has only recently become the normal technique. In the recent past buildings including contents were demolished creating a pile of mixed debris that was transported to landfill. Increasing landfill charges have encouraged the extraction of reusable and recyclable materials before transporting the debris to landfill. 3.4 Waste stream generated Components from the original strip included sanitary units, baths, sinks and doors. They were sold to specialist suppliers of second hand building components. Asbestos was located on the site and specialist technology was required to remove it and dispose of it in a safe manner. All wood removed from the building was burnt on site at specified times defined by a special licence granted by Manchester City Council. Lead, copper and brass components were stripped from the buildings and sold to scrap metal merchants. How, or where, the metals were separated from other materials (for example plastic sheathing on electrical cable) is not known. The metals were all recycled but the location of the reprocessing is also not known. Steel was separately stripped from the buildings where accessible. The reinforced concrete shell structure was then demolished using a ball and chain technique. The debris was then further broken up on site to release the reinforcing steel. All the recovered steel was then sent to a local pre-processing yard where it was burnt to remove surface impurities. It was mixed with other steel scrap, chopped into 1500mm lengths and sold on to a firm in Liverpool for export. Highest market price determines the destination of the scrap metal. Spain


and China were the most frequent destinations where it would be processed into new steel. The city of Wuhan was, almost certainly, the Chinese destination. In a previous chapter Taylor (1996) outlines the environmental degradation associated with the industrial processes carried on in that city. The British steel industry does not source from the UK scrap metal base as it is critical of the quality of steel produced from reworked scrap. British industry in general seems to take a different view and imports significant quantities of Chinese steel. The concrete on being separated from the steel was pulverised on site using English built crushers. The manufacturer of the machinery is now in liquidation and the replacement machinery was built in Japan and seen to have a shorter working life. The pulverised stone was graded and reused on site to fill the cellars of the earlier terrace houses discovered during the demolition process. In other circumstances the concrete would have been transported to a local recycling deport for grading and reuse as road stone. Road stone is the material used as a base for roads. The discovery and opening up of the cellars of the dwellings which previously stood on the site revealed York stone floors abandoned when the dwellings were demolished 30 years previously. Considerable time was spent carefully removing the York stone floors which were sold for reuse. Other material which was perceived as waste was disposed of to a landfill contractor. That contractor declined to respond to requests asking how they disposed of the waste they removed from the site. 3.5 Summary • Condition of fabric of building did not the determine the decision to demolish. • The demolition contract is silent on the need to reuse or recycle debris where possible. • Shortage of landfill sites and increased charges have encouraged reuse and recycling approaches. • Where a market exists for used building components they are carefully removed and sold. • Wood is part of the waste stream and destroyed by burning on site. • Lead, brass and copper are recycled but the detailed techniques of recovery and the location of reprocessing was not discovered. • Steel scrap exported as far as China for reprocessing by a process causing considerable environmental degradation. No UK reprocessing market due to quality concerns. • Pulverisation of concrete to aggregate for limited range of uses. UK machinery (no longer available) seen to have longer working life than Japanese machinery.


• York stone unmarketable and abandoned thirty years ago now recoverable and marketable. • Details of landfill waste stream seen to be ‘sensitive’. 4 CASE STUDY—SUTTON DWELLINGS, SALFORD, UK 4.1 Location Sutton Dwellings are located on a site bounded by Langworthy Road, Seedley Road and Eccles Old Road in the City of Salford in the Greater Manchester conurbation of North West England. 4.2 Site history The existing buildings are four storey blocks of flats which were built between 1933 and 1937 by Sutton Housing Trust. The Sutton Housing Trust still own and manage the site and buildings. Out of a total of seven blocks, three have recently been demolished and a further three, which are the subject of this study, are being demolished. The buildings were structurally sound with slight, but curable, damp problems in a minority of flats. They were seen as obsolete in that they had become difficult to let. The flats were two and three bedroom family accommodation with small kitchens and stair access only. The remaining block has a lift installed and is currently lettable. The demolished blocks are being replaced with small family terraced houses for which there is a greater demand. 4.3 Demolition The demolition contractor is an old established firm employing 25 to 30 people and a member of the National Federation of Demolition Contractors. They own two premises, the main yard and offices and another site of one hectare used solely for crushing bulk materials into aggregates. They operate within a fifteen mile radius of the works and usually work on about twelve sites at any one time. They use labour intensive techniques to strip out recoverable materials and the ball and chain method for bulk demolition.


4.4 Waste stream generated Furniture, domestic appliances, carpets and other items and domestic rubbish left by the former occupiers was removed first. It amounted to forty cubic metres (five truck loads) of rubbish in the first block which was taken initially to a small local waste transfer station. It was further transported a distance of between thirty and forty miles to landfill. The contractor responsible for the local transfer station and deciding on the appropriate landfill site evaded questions addressing the extent of sorting of the debris and the basis for the decisions on landfill location. The defence for the evasion was that the questions addressed ‘sensitive’ issues. The wood was sorted on site. The better quality wood was stripped and taken to the demolition contractors’ main yard for resale. Poorer quality wood was either sent to the local waste transfer station for onward transport to landfill or burnt on site. uPVC double glazed windows were installed, thirty months prior to the demolition project, in a modernisation programme designed to attract tenants. When the programme failed the owners examined the possibility of reusing the windows elsewhere. They were found to be unsuitable for any of their other properties. The windows were therefore left in the properties until demolition began. Some windows were vandalised but most remained in good condition. The demolition contractors investigated the possibility of carefully removing the windows and selling them for reuse. The exercise was deemed to be uneconomic. It would have been a time consuming labour intensive process with a continuous security watch necessary to protect equipment needed to remove the windows. The windows were therefore sent to landfill with the domestic rubbish. It was observed later that the dwellings built to replace the demolished flats used uPVC windows of a not dissimilar size and type to those abandoned. Clearly there was no co-ordination between the demolition and reconstruction contract decision processes. All lead, copper and brass items were stripped out and taken to the demolition contractors’ main yard where they were sorted and sold for reuse or reprocessing. It is not known how other materials, such as plastics, were separated from the metal elements. Steel from the reinforced concrete floor was separated from concrete on site, sheared to manageable size, and transferred to a local scrap merchant. The firm refused to divulge the next destination of the steel scrap on grounds of commercial sensitivity. It is a member of the same commercial group as the scrap merchants taking the Hulme steel. The firm acknowledged that the group had a common commercial policy for the disposal of their material. It is therefore possible that this material too is exported to Spain and China. There was a limited amount of site sorting of concrete and brick. Sorted material was crushed at the demolition contractors’ crushing yard and, following


processing, was sold as hardcore. Bricks were not individually recovered for reuse. The remainder of the bulk material was sold from the site. Neither its onward destination nor its future processing was known. 4.5 Summary • Condition of fabric of building did not the determine the decision to demolish. • Demolition contractor organised to process and recycle bulk material. • No market for abandoned furniture, domestic fittings and appliances, so disposed of by landfill. • Details of landfill waste stream seen to be ‘sensitive’. • Quality wood is reused, the rest becomes part of the waste stream and destroyed by burning on site or landfill. • New uPVC windows not seen as economically recoverable and disposed of by landfill. New development used very similar size and design uPVC windows. • Lead, brass and copper recycled but the detailed techniques of recovery and location of reprocessing was not uncovered. • Steel scrap trail seen as ‘sensitive’ but probably exported as far as China for reprocessing. • Pulverisation of concrete to aggregate for limited range of uses. • Bricks not individually recovered for reuse. 5 CONCLUSIONS The length of life of a building is a significant variable in calculating the weight of its environmental impact. In neither cases studied was the condition of the fabric of the buildings a factor in finally determining whether the buildings should be demolished. In the case of the Sutton Dwellings, less than three years before being demolished, the buildings had been seen as having a structural life long enough to justify rehabilitation. That would suggest that the prediction of the life of components of a building is less significant in predicting the life of a building than received wisdom would suggest. The dynamics of building obsolescence are difficult to predict so it is necessary to mitigate the effect of this variable. One method may be to develop construction technologies which lead to efficient deconstruction technologies. The buildings on each site were of different construction technologies but the demolition technologies used on each site were similar. The outcome for the bulk material related to the demolition technology. In each case the bulk debris was processed to produce an aggregate which could be use in low performance specifications. The energy associated with that technology needs to be examined


to evaluate that aspect of its environmental impact. It may be that hard mortars were used for the brickwork in the Sutton Dwellings buildings in which case the demolition technology was appropriate. If soft mortars were used then bricks could have been individually recovered for reuse. That would have produced a significantly lower impact into the aggregation of the environmental impacts. In each case the decision to reuse, recycle or not was driven, mainly, by economic determinants. Shortage of landfill sites will further encourage this trend. It was interesting to note that the waste stream to landfill was seen by some of the contractors as a ‘sensitive’ issue on which information was withheld or not willingly given. Why was that so? In neither case did the main demolition contract address the issues of reuse or recycling. The problem was seen as a disposal issue and not one of realising assets from a redundant situation. The economics of disposal may change that perspective but the response may not be to reduce the environmental impact. There is no automatic correlation between increased recycling and reduced environmental impact. Shipping steel scrap to Wuhan, China demonstrated that position. Where a market exists for reuse of components they are carefully removed. These markets are not yet in the mainstream of the supply industry and therefore not all projects will find it economic to place items in the reuse stream rather than the waste stream. Attention to deconstruction technology when initial construction technology decisions are made might improve the position for reuse of components and thereby reduce the environmental impact. Wood items may fall into this category. In one case some wood was seen as reusable. In both cases the main disposal technique was to release the chemical energy to waste by burning with the alternative being landfill. Landfill was also the destination of abandoned furniture. The expensive metals, lead brass and copper have an established recycling route but the energy used to recycle the materials is not well documented. There may be a significant reduction on the environmental impact if items were to be reused rather than recycled. Steel recycling by sending scrap as far as China raises many questions as to efficiency and impact of that process. It raises questions concerning attitudes to quality as steel is imported to the UK from China. There are inconsistencies in this issue which need to be addressed. Finally, the recovery of York stone on the Hulme site demonstrates the changing nature of the problem. Waste from one generation of demolition is seen as a valuable resource to the next. It raises the question as to whether landfill sites should be seen as long term storage of potentially valuable resources. If they were to be perceived in that light should our attitude to them reflect that concern so that filling takes place with recovery in mind?


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The data collection and work from which this paper has drawn was undertaken by S.Atkinson, S.Fletcher, K.McCurry, J.Rowland and V.Vincent, under the authors supervision, as a group project in part fulfilment for the degree of MSc Environmental Resources in the Environmental Resources Unit, University of Salford, UK. REFERENCES BROOKS, K.A. ADAMS, C. & DEMSETZ, L.A. 1994. Germany’s Construction and Demolition Debris Recycling Infrastructure: What lessons Does It Have For The US? in Sustainable Construction—Proceedings of the First International Conference of CIB TG16. Editor, Kibert, C.J. (ed) (University of Florida) pp.647–656. EILENBERG, I.M. & MCBEAN, I. 1994 Recycling of materials In The Late 1990’s, in Sustainable Construction—Proceedings of the First International Conference of CIB TG16. Kibert, C.J. (ed) (University of Florida) pp145–151. ENGELS, F. 1973. The Condition of the Working Class in England, Lawrence and Wishart , London, pp91. FRANK, R.E. 1994. Construction and Demolition Wood Waste Used in Wood Cement Composites, in Sustainable Construction—Proceedings of the First International Conference of CIB TG16. Kibert, C.J. (ed) (University of Florida) pp 463–76. GOLTON, B.L. 1991. Obsolescence—a holistic view for Professionals, in Practice Management, New Perspectives for the Construction Professional. Barrett P and Males R (eds) (E & FN Spon) pp115–125. HAMASSAKI, L.T. & NETTO, C.S. 1994 Technical and Economic Aspects of Construction/Demolition Waste Utilisation, in Sustainable Construction— Proceedings of the First International Conference of CIB TG16. Kibert, C.J. (ed) (University of Florida). pp.395–403. PAUW, C.D. VYNCKE, J. and DESMYTER, J. 1994. Reuse of Demolition Waste as Aggregates in Concrete: A New Challenge or The Re-Introduction of Old Practise? in Sustainable Construction—Proceedings of the First International Conference of CIB TG16. Kibert, C.J. (ed) (University of Florida). pp385–394. RUCH, M. & RENTZ, O. 1994. Demolition Waste Management Stratagies in France and Germany, in Sustainable Construction—Proceedings of the First International Conference of CIB TG16. Kibert, C.J.(ed) (University of Florida). pp363–372. TAYLOR, J. 1996. Policies for the Management of a Polluted Urban Environment: a Study of the City of Wuhan, China, Evaluation of the Built Environment for Sustainability—Brandon P., Lombardi P., Bentivegna V. (eds)—E & FN Spon, London. WILSON, H. & WOMERSLEY, L. 1965. City of Manchester, Hulme 5 Redevelopment, Report on Design. Hugh Wilson and Lewis Womersley, Chartered Architects and Town Planners, Manchester, UK.


WYATT, D.P. & GILLEARD, J.G. 1994. Deconstruction; An Environmental Response for Construction Sustainability, in Sustainable Construction—Proceedings of the First International Conference of CIB TG16. Kibert, C.J. (ed) (University of Florida), pp 113–121.

An economic evaluation and appraisal of the effects land use, building obsolescence and depreciation have on the environment of cities M.Deakin Department of Building and Surveying, Napier University, Edinburgh EH10 5DT, UK

ABSTRACT This paper examines the critique of discounting the proenvironmentalist, sustainability lobby have made in relation to property valuation, investment appraisal and the application of the principle in the income based net annual return model of land use time-horizons and the spatial configuration of building programmes. It examines the argument put forward regarding the link between the selection of a discount rate, the valuation of property, appraisal of investment and inter-generational downloading of costs associated with the use of land, repair, maintenance and refurbishment of buildings. The downloading of costs, seen by some, to work against the introduction of experimental designs aimed at energy saving, clean air environments. The paper suggests there are a number of contradictions in this argument and proposes that an assessment of the impact which the redevelopment process has on the environment of cities should be based on an economic evaluation and appraisal of land use, building obsolescence and depreciation. What the paper refers to as an economic evaluation and appraisal of the effects land use, building obsolescence and depreciation have on the environment of cities. Keywords: Property valuation, investment appraisal, income based NAR redevelopment models, land use, building obsolescence and depreciation. 1 INTRODUCTION As the title suggests, this paper seeks to examine the theories, methodologies and techniques available to undertake an economic evaluation and appraisal of the effects land use, building obsolescence and depreciation have on the environment of cities.


In this aim the paper looks at the recent debate which has surfaced over the relationship between the property market as an allocative mechanism in the distribution of scarce resources, the impact land uses and building programmes have on the environment and the growing recognition of the need for the development of cities to take on a more sustainable form. In particular the paper will focus attention on the criticism the pro-environmentalist, sustainability lobby have made about the valuation methodologies and investment techniques that underlie the use of land, programme of building and development cities are subject to. To explore these relationships the paper will examine the critique of the discounting principle recently put forward by Rydin (1992) and Pearce and Turner (1990). In undertaking this examination the paper will propose that the link which has been drawn between the valuation of property, appraisal of investment, downloading of costs associated with the use of land, repair, maintenance and refurbishment programmes aimed at environmentally friendly land uses, green buildings is tenuous and questionable for the following reasons: firstly; such a criticism tends to ignore the fact that the principle in question is based upon economic theory rather than valuation methodology, or investment techniques: secondly; despite the on-going examination of the assumptions surrounding the marginalism of welfare economics, there is little evidence to suggest that references to the tyranny of the discounting principle and its militating effects ‘add up to much’: thirdly; if such criticism is not to collapse in on itself, a great deal more needs to be known about the relationship between property valuation, investment appraisal, land use and building programmes and: fourthly; in lacking such a knowledge many of the sweeping policy reforms the proenvironmentalist, sustainability lobby put forward to influence the development of the city tend to be based on moral and ethical judgments which are cultural rather than technical, economic or social in nature. To counter-argue the position the pro-environmentalist, sustainability lobby take on the discounting principle and demonstrate the tenuous, questionable nature of the link drawn between the valuation of property, appraisal of investment and downloading of costs, the paper will begin by examining the development issue in question, go on to examine the debate over the discounting principle, review the environmental and sustainability measures it is supposed to work against, even frustrate and expose some of the contradictions in the position the critics set out. The contradiction, that is, whereby the criticism which the proenvironmentalist, sustainability lobby put forward about the discounting principle, valuation of property and appraisal of investment, is not seen to ‘add up to much’ and leave the whole question about the selection of a discount rate and yield up in the air. In view of this it is proposed the paper should concentrate on bringing the issue back down to earth and advance a framework for analysis capable of providing a more meaningful representation of the relationships in question. One, that is, which is grounded in the economics of the discounting principle underlying the valuation of property, appraisal of


investment and whose process of obsolescence and depreciation it is argued gives rise to the impact the development of land uses and building programmes have on the environment of cities. Towards a framework for analysis which, it will be proposed, has the potential to circumvent many of the criticisms put forward by the pro-environmentalist, sustainability lobby due to the fact that it serves to: • clarify a much misunderstood, poorly represented area of academic interest and professional expertise. That is, the economics of the discounting principle in the valuation of property and appraisal of investment • provide a clarification grounded in the economics of property rights over the ownership, use and exchange of land and buildings • base such a knowledge on the legal form of tenure in society • work within the understanding that the discounting principle provides the economic and efficiency criteria any development proposal, or change to the stock of land and buildings, has to meet. What is termed the ‘social time preference cost’ of any opportunity for net income benefits arising from increases in the marginal productivity of capital • incorporate, income, uncertainty and risk into the formulation of the discount rate and expenditure on the cost of outgoings • provide the opportunity for the valuation of property and appraisal of investments to analyse both the time-horizons and spatial configurations of land use and building programmes in market economies and formulate a risk, obsolescence and depreciation explicit model of the redevelopment process • allow an evaluation of the effects land use, building obsolescence and depreciation have on the environment in the form of a cost-expenditure/incomebenefit analysis. One that is specific about the schedule of costs/benefïts under consideration, the time-scale in question and their spatial incidence • provide a basis to formulate an environmental index that makes it possible to calculate the value adding effects (measured in terms of offsetting the rate of land use, building obsolescence and depreciation) which initiatives in the field of planning, design, engineering and construction management, (aimed at reducing the utilisation of finite, exhaustible and predominantly carbon-based resources) have on the repair, maintenance refurbishment and life cycle of income benefits against the cost of expenditures on outgoings • act as a means to assess the consequence the latter has on the market value of property investments in terms of price and the implications this has for the planning and design of land use and building programmes. As will no doubt be apparent, many of the issues set out above cover a number of areas that have tended to be treated as separate fields of study and which form the domain of different academic and professional interests. For example, geography, economics and other such disciplines as applied to the study of land and buildings by planners, architects, engineers and surveyors. The


framework for analysis set out so far attempts to cut across the discussions that have taken place between them and set out what links them together. What, put in slightly different terms, they have in common, or share an interest in. In this particular instance, the economics of the discounting principle, property valuation and investment appraisal. What perhaps distinguishes this paper from others in the field of study is that it focuses on the economic theory which forms the basis of discounting, valuation, appraisal of land use, building programmes and so forth. Moreover, it proposes to do this through an economic evaluation and appraisal of the effects land use, building obsolescence and depreciation have on the environment of cities. In the first instance the paper will set out the groundwork in terms of Harvey’s (1989) examination of time horizons, the spatial configuration and rate of redevelopment. The reason for beginning to look at the issues in question from Harvey’s (1989) point of view is simple. In the first instance he manages to avoid some of the controversies that surround the discounting principle, valuation of property and appraisal of investment by ignoring many of the problems associated with the conventions of traditional techniques. By approaching the matter from the contemporary point of view, he manages to circumvent many of the difficulties surrounding the utility theory of value, capital and interest in both classical and marginalist economics and yet advance a redevelopment model capable of meeting the new welfare Pareto-optima criteria for the allocation of resources. One that does not rely on the naive assumptions of marginal private costs under perfect competition, but also takes into account public goods, externalities and social costs in meeting the maximisation condition. It is perhaps worth noting that it is a position Warren (1991) and to a large extent Balchin, Bull and Kieve (1995) also take. In the sense that it is a position which tries to draw a line under the conventions of the Cambridge and Austrian schools of economic thought and formulate a neoclassical model, it provides a break with tradition which the academic institutions and professional bodies responsible for valuation and investment have also recently taken. As should become clear, the present value principle of discounting in economics is one surveyors have sought to base the valuation of property on and apply in the appraisal of investments. It is perhaps fair to say that in doing so the agenda they have addressed focuses on the private marginal costs of development and change in terms of the effect the process of land use, building obsolescence and depreciation have on the price of goods and services in a given distribution of income. In contrast, that is, and sometimes, it should be noted, to the exclusion of issues surrounding the social costs of redevelopment. It may also be correct to suggest that it is the lack of awareness academic institutions advising on the discounting principle in property valuation and investment appraisal illustrate about the structural weaknesses of market economies to bring about an efficient allocation of resources which is of particular concern to the pro-environmentalist, sustainability lobby. For them it


is a matter of concern because it is believed that it is the finite, exhaustible and destructible nature of the resources underlying the distribution of income which is of critical significance. Critical, because the distribution of wealth it generates is seen to place limits on the amount of economic growth that a given distribution of income can produce. Something, which, from their point of view, is seen to result from the fact the discount rate applied in the valuation of property and appraisal of investments does not reflect the social time-preference, or impatience rule and as a consequence gives rise to a spatial configuration of land use and building programmes whose marginal productivity i.e. the rate of return they yield on capital in the form of interest, not only leads to an inefficient allocation of resources with burdening social costs (for example; pollution, congestion and contamination) but a process of development and change which has an impact on the environment of cities that is seen to be unsustainable in its present form. 2 TIME HORIZONS, THE SPATIAL CONFIGURATION AND RATE OF REDEVELOPMENT In reference to the discounting principle, Harvey (1989) points out that: “In general terms redevelopment takes place when the present value of the existing flow of future net returns from the existing use of land resources becomes less than the capital value of the cleared site. We have therefore to calculate the present value of the land resources in their current use and compare this with the value of the cleared site, it must be emphasised that we are seeking to establish capital net return expected to be earned in future years, such returns must first be estimated and discounted for the present value and then aggregated”. (Harvey 1989 p.97) From this initial statement on the discounting principle, Harvey (1989) formulates a simple income model of property valuation. In this model it is the notion of net annual returns, or what he refers to as NARs that take a leading role in the appraisal of investments and rate of redevelopment in the time horizons and spatial configuration of land uses and building programmes. As a form of income, the NAR is defined as the difference between gross annual returns (such as rent received) and operating costs (including repairs, maintenance, insurance and other such outgoings). To operationalise the notion of net income as an annual return in terms of property valuation and investment appraisal, he proposes that all gross annual returns and operating costs should be projected over the life-time of the land use, or building programme in question. Before subjecting the NARs to a rate of discount, he makes some comments on the nature of the relationship between the gross annual returns and operating costs. What he proposes is that over the life of the land use the gross annual


return will fall and operating costs will rise. He then goes on to propose this notion of net income as an annual return can be represented by the formula:

Where: P=value of property in its current land use. n=period when GARs can be earned in its current use. Ri=GARs from i to year n. Oi=operating costs, excluding obsolescence and depreciation, from i to year n, and r=rate of discount. A formula which represents the valuation of property as a method of investment appraisal and procedure to follow in the discounting of returns and calculation of present value. In terms of cleared site value, it is proposed that the value of the cleared site is equal to the present value of the most profitable alternative use, less the cost of clearing the site and rebuilding for the new use. The residual method of property valuation and procedure to be followed in the appraisal of investments required for this calculation are represented in the formula:

where: C=the value of the cleared site. n=period when GARs can be earned units alternative use. Ri=GARs from i to year n. Oi=operating costs, excluding obsolescence and depreciation, from i to year n. r=rate of discount. D=the cost of demolition and clearing the site. B=the cost of rebuilding to the new, alternative land use. By combining the present values of the NARs it is possible to show when the redevelopment of land uses and programme of building required for such purposes takes place (see Figure 1). From year R the value of the cleared site is positive and increasing and eventually at T it is seen to exceed the present value of the land in its current use. As a result redevelopment takes place in year T, where PV equals VCS. As Harvey (1989) is keen to point out, at T the land use is still technically efficient, for it can receive a NAR until year Z. However, in year T it becomes inefficient in economic terms because resources can be redeployed, or switched to an alternative, new land use having a higher present value. As he points out, under these circumstances the present value of the current and cleared site bring about a situation where the time-horizon of a land use is represented as OT and position whereby it is possible to calculate how many years the technical and economic life of a building programme is efficient.


Fig. 1. The timing of redevelopment.

Under normal circumstances the spatial configuration of land uses are found to be concentrated in the city centre and that any alternative, new use which follows from a programme of building takes the form of an expansion from the centre to the periphery. With regards to the rate of redevelopment, it is stressed this is far more difficult to predict and is contingent on a number of factors. First: the level of demand from occupiers and investors; second: operating costs and thirdly: the rate of interest. Ignoring the first two categories, he goes on to examine the effect a change in the rate of interest has on the present value of current land uses, cleared sites, time-horizon and spatial configuration of building programmes. It is here he introduces a further assumption. An assumption about the disproportionate effect a rise, or fall in the rate of interest has on the present value of a current land use and cleared site of an alternative. Here he proposes that a rise in the rate of interest will lengthen the time-horizon of the current land use and extend its technical and economic life relative to the cleared site value of an alternative. This is because in Harvey’s (1989) view the change in the rate of interest applies to a fewer number of years in the value of the current as opposed to the cleared site value of the alternative. This having the effect of offsetting the change from the current to alternative land use and implementation of a building programme required for the redevelopment process. Any fall in the rate of interest is seen to have the opposite effect. Relaxing the assumption of perfect competition, he points out the property market may not be so well behaved and left to private individuals, the economy may not be able to reach to Pareto-optima criteria for the maximisation of welfare. With this in mind he draws attention to instances of market imperfections and failure. In terms of imperfection attention is drawn to the poor quality, local nature of market knowledge, factor immobility, inertia, high


transaction costs, legal restrictions regarding ownership and the ability this gives to with-hold land is also noted. With reference to market failure, attention is drawn to the position where the costs and benefits of decisions taken by private individuals are not exclusive to the parties involved in the contract of exchange, but spillover in the form of positive and negative externalities to third parties. What in the case of positive externalities takes the form of a free-rider and in terms of their negative counterpart, appear as the divergencies between marginal private and social costs. One that is seen to be disproportionate in the effect it has upon the level of net benefit which the allocation of resources produces in a given distribution of income and burden its additional social costs place on the welfare of the economy. The last point is seen to be of particular significance because the disproportionate effect and burden is also understood to require redistributive measures from the public sector geared towards the regulation of negative externalities such as pollution, congestion and contamination through the setting of minimum standards, penalties such as the taxation of pollution, pricing of roads and imposition of clean-up costs. Regulative, legislative and fiscal measures, that is, which are aimed at a planned redistribution based on the principle of compensating the public who have suffered a loss from the imposition of such costs with the benefits of the private individuals who have been made better off by such a given distribution of income. Under this theme attention is also drawn to the non-exclusive nature of exchange contracts and inability of the market to provide public goods or services. However, in turning attention to the implications such imperfections, failures and redistribution mechanisms have with respect to the underlying spatial configuration of the redevelopment process, attention focuses on the expansion of the central business district and transition areas of the inner city undergo in accommodating the process of redevelopment. In terms of property valuation and investment appraisal, attention is drawn to the indeterminate nature of the relationship between the technical and economic life of land uses, the shortening, or lengthening of their time-horizons and general level of uncertainty surrounding the waiting costs associated with the so-called ‘ripening’ of the redevelopment process. For the advocates of the NAR model, this is seen to be a point of particular significance. In the first instance the level of uncertainty and risk is seen to make it difficult for anyone to apply the logic of either the investment, or residual method in the calculation of the present value. In the second, the breakdown of such a rationale for the valuation of property and appraisal of investments is also seen to result in a situation ripe for speculative activities—be they in the form of site assembly, demolition, clearance of land uses, or subsequent banking of cleared sites for future building programmes. Activities whose effects are also seen to spillover in the form of reductions in standing stock, higher land values, vacant sites, the intensification of uses, subdivision of buildings, abandonment of repairs, maintenance, deterioration, obsolescence and decay the process of redevelopment brings about. A process


which is seen to force firms and households within the inner-city to relocate, leaving poor quality, low-income housing, uncompetitive firms and a labour force with a level of skill-mismatch and unemployment difficult to be classified as in anything other than a state of social deprivation. From the academic point of view, the significance of the redevelopment process—be it in terms of the time-horizons, spatial configuration, or rate it takes place, lies in the fact it illustrates the structural weaknesses of the economy and questions the ability it has to meet the welfare maximisation criteria of the Pareto-optima. For as indicated, in promoting the process of redevelopment there is a tendency for the abstract logic of the income-based NAR model to ‘run ahead of itself in the way it proceeds to calculate the present value of current against the site value of an alternative, new land use and building programme. That is identify the potential benefits of such a redevelopment shortening the technical and economic life of a land use, but in reality face a number of difficulties in materialising the net income benefits relative to the costs of building programmes—be it due to uncertainty and risk, speculation, problems over land assembly, or whatever. The point being that irrespective of whatever difficulties the redevelopment process faces, it means both the technical and economic life of a land use has been cut short and terminated in a manner which imposes social costs (deterioration, decay, unemployment etc) without any commensurate marginal private benefit. It is perhaps the in built tendency for abstract models of this kind to overestimate the level of demand for land uses and rate of return in the form of a yield from the investment of capital in building programmes, that has also had the consequence of forcing the construction sector to cut the costs of production. The knock-on effect of this being seen in the tendency for architects and engineers to switch from traditional to mass produced, high carbon materials like coal, iron and oil in particular. Materials that allow the specification of structures as ‘shell’ and ‘fitted’ and with finishings having predictable, if increasingly shorter life cycles, capable of being planned in terms of their initial design, production and subsequent management costs. It is also perhaps this in built tendency of the models to not only over-estimate demand, but also misallocate scarce resources within a given distribution of income, that has done a great deal to promote cost-benefit analysis techniques, which, it is argued, should be applied to any public sector funded capital project aimed at inner-city regeneration. This is not of course to suggest the particular neo-liberal, welfare based analysis of the economics that lies behind the discounting principle, valuation of property or appraisal of investment in terms of time-horizons, spatial configuration and rate of redevelopment, is not without its critics. The first line of criticism tends to be focussed on cost-benefit analysis, the second on the methodology of welfare economics and the third refers to the underlying assumptions of the models. In reference to cost-benefit analysis, Balchin, Bull and Kieve (1995) point out that:


“In the private sector, investment decisions are made with reference to the market mechanism on the basis of estimated monetary costs and benefits. Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) is basically an extension of these investments appraisal methods to make them suitable for project appraisal in the public sector. The main distinction is that public-sector CBA attempts to account for all these costs and benefits which affect the welfare of individuals, including those of a non-monetary nature. To facilitate comparison and assessment it is usual for such non-monetary costs or benefits to be translated in some way into monetary terms”. (Balchin, Bull and Kieve, 1995, p 180). Here the present value of a property is not defined in simple NAR terms—be it for a current land use, site value of an alternative, or building programme. Instead the focus of attention is on the O, D and B variables of the P and C formulas referred to earlier, plus any spillover effects which take the form of externalities. In CBA the focus of attention is not on the marginal private costs of operating the land use, demolition, clearing the site, or rebuilding in relation to the gross annual returns (the NAR defined in private terms) but the social costs associated with the time-horizons and spatial configuration of the redevelopment process. That is the value of the cleared site, O, D and B, plus any spill-over effects that arise from the uncertainty, risk and speculation referred to earlier and which take the form of external costs imposed on third parties. Likewise, it is also proposed that CBA should not only include NAR defined in private terms, but the social benefits which flow from any decisions to redevelop land uses and the building programmes required for such purposes—be it in terms of the new land use timehorizons, or the spatial configuration of building programmes. It is however, recognised that attempts to operationalise CBA, whether for the valuation of investment opportunities in private sector redevelopment programmes, or the provision of goods and services by public authorities, tend to encounter four main problems: • the fact that O, C, D and B may not represent pure market values and contain some element of subsidy, or tax concession which needs to be taken into consideration and brought to account. • many of the social costs take the form of intangibles for which there may or may not be surrogate markets for similar goods and services. As a consequence, it may, or may not be possible to adopt shadow prices to calculate social costs. • even if it is possible to show that potential benefits are greater than cost and there is a welfare improvement that appears to meet the Pareto-optima criteria, there is still the question of who gains, who loses and by how much. In short, the question of equity in a given distribution of income as distinct from the matter of either technical, or economic efficiency. In the case of the time-horizons and spatial configurations referred to in the context of the


expansion of the central business district into the inner city, CBA proposes the question of any welfare improvement should include a redistribution of income from those gaining to those suffering a loss. • the controversy over the discounting principle and debate over the adoption of a social rate of time preference as opposed to the private, market rate of interest the investment of capital yields and measure of the marginal efficiency it produces. The criticism of the NAR type models are more diverse and any attempt to represent the problems they have encountered requires a lot more time and space than is available here. As a consequence, the list of difficulties set out here focuses on the main technical problems experienced in the various attempts made to operationalise the model. There are four in all and they relate to: • the ambiguities that surround the use of the discount rate. The fact that it does not qualify why the discount rate should be positive, how uncertainty and risk affects this, whether the latter should be taken into account, or if any distinction ought to be drawn between private i.e. market and social costs and benefits flowing from decisions to redevelop land uses, replace them with alternative, new forms, the building programmes required for such purposes, or time preference in the theory of interest. • the almost universal assumption of the NAR model that all property is income producing and both valuation methodology and investment techniques can proceed in terms of NARs over the life-time of the land use or building programme in question. An assumption that is questionable on traditional grounds due to the tendency for many transfers of ownership, use, etc to be based on direct capital comparison and only the commercial sector of the market to draw upon either the investment, or residual methods outlined here as forming part of the redevelopment process. • what this assumption also excludes is the valuation of property held by public authorities for the provision of goods and services associated with health, education, recreation and land uses of this type. Here the cost approach to the valuation of property and investment appraisal is drawn upon in an attempt to reverse the logic of the discounting principle and derive income from capital. • the models have no clear means by which to represent the effects of spillovers on the valuation of property or appraisal of investments and how externalities of this kind—be they tangible or intangible, capable of being shadow-priced or not, affect the NAR’s of land uses and building programmes. Be the effect a net benefit, or social cost as represented in the example of the time-horizon and spatial configuration redevelopment process provided here. Such a methodological critique of welfare economics arises because it is evident the form of analysis which supports the technique is that of marginal cost-pricing. One that includes the intra-marginal rule of constant costs, producer and


consumer surpluses, spillovers, externalities and which, in the absence of lump sum taxes aimed at the redistribution of costs and benefits, (the Pigovian optimal tax solution) results in a second best solution to pricing in the public sector. Second best in the sense that it recognises the net social benefits of marginal cost-pricing in terms of technical and economic efficiency, but has little to say about equity in a given distribution of income. An issue that it appears can only be spoken about if there is a real willingness to not only break with Pareto’s tradition in welfare economics, but also dispense with the first commandment which proposes there should be no inter-personal comparison of utility. This perhaps above all else characterises the crisis the new welfare economics finds itself in. The situation whereby it has drawn a distinction between private and social costs and benefits so deep that it is not possible to reconcile the questions of efficiency and equity which underlie the distribution of income. In terms of research it has done a great deal to divide many of the more recent examinations into those whose interest lie in the valuation of property, appraisal of investment and the others who choose to focus on the impact the use of land and programme of building has on the environment of cities. What they have in common is, of course, their use of the discounting principle and the latter’s critique of how the former approaches the matter. However, putting this to one side, an examination of the progress the property valuation, investment appraisal group have made will provide the opportunity to see whether they have been able to circumvent any of the criticisms listed so far. 3 LAND USE, BUILDING OBSOLESCENCE AND DEPRECIATION Perhaps the most obvious and immediate significance of this examination is that it introduces a variable not yet taken into account in the NAR model of property valuation and investment appraisal i.e. obsolescence and depreciation. However it should be recognised that the significance of obsolescence and depreciation is much deeper than the addition of further expenditures on the cost of outgoings associated with land uses and building programmes. This is because it represents the outcome of a much deeper enquiry into the adoption of discount rates, the socalled initial yield and nature of uncertainty and risk in property valuation and investment appraisal. The response is perhaps best represented in the development of Baum and Mackmin’s (1981) Income Approach to Property Valuation and Baum and Crosby’s (1988) Property Investment Appraisal. The two texts that to a large extent paved the way for Baum’s (1991) Property Investment, Depreciation and Obsolescence. A development in property valuation and investment appraisal also drawn attention to by Baum and MacGregor (1992). If we turn to the development of the income approach to property valuation and investment appraisal, it is evident that it sees the approach as providing the


basis for making a coherent response to the crisis of property valuation and formulating the income based models of ‘investment appraisal’ needed to meet the logic of the ‘post-reverse yield gap era’. Here attention is drawn to the property slump that precipitated the crisis of property valuation experienced in the early 1970s and the attempts which have been made to develop models that are capable of reflecting the fact we live in an inflation prone era and land and buildings represent only one of many investment opportunities. Attention is also drawn to the developments which have taken place to make explicit all decisions on matters that have a material bearing on valuation and investment. Building on the developments in the real, rational and discounted cash flow models of investment appraisal, they propose valuations of this kind should be based on ‘explicit discounted cash flow techniques’ of analysis. As they illustrate, the advantages of approaching the matter in this manner lie in the fact such models add to our understanding of yield determination and help us to quantify growth in a way that better reflects the element of risk and uncertainty associated with this type of investment opportunity. Perhaps most important of all, it also has the benefit of providing a valuation format that makes it possible to compare the return investment against those which can be obtained from other opportunities and assess their performance against those of government securities and equities. The potential benefits of this development in the income approach cannot be over emphasised. There can be little doubt that explicit discounted cash flow techniques provide the opportunity to break with the logic of the ‘pre-reverse yield gap era’ and challenge many of the conventions which underpin our understanding of property valuation and investment appraisal. In many respects it can be seen to represent a successful attempt to tackle the demands which the contemporary era have placed upon property valuation and investment appraisal. It can perhaps be best seen as representing a response to the dynamics of the events that are thought to lie behind developments like the reverse yield gap and the pressure it placed upon us to change they way we approach the valuation of property in the form of either landed estates, or fixed assets. In this regard, the development can be seen to represent a challenge to the conventional logic, or pre-reverse yield gap era and the modern methods of valuation which it is traditional to associate with it. The contemporary nature of such developments and the pressure they place upon us to rethink and change our understanding of the property valuation and investment appraisal, is something the advocates of the income approach stress at every possible opportunity. In view of both the nature and scale of the developments in question they are quite correct to do so. As an approach to the valuation of property and appraisal of investment the income thesis draws upon Fisher’s (1965) representation of the discounting principle and interest payments the investment of capital yields in the form of a rate of return. As is pointed out, in Fisher’s (1965) Theory of Interest such payments are seen to represent a return for: • the loss of liquidity.


• the payment for the foregoing of immediate consumption and switching of capital into investment. A payment also referred to as the risk free rate because it represents the payment for the foregoing of consumption/ investment of capital in riskless operations unaffected by inflation. • anticipated inflation and compensation for the loss of real value. • the premium which reflects the degree of risk associated with a particular investment opportunity. Based on this Fisher’s (1965) theory of interest, the rate of return is represented as:

where: l=loss of liquidity i=anticipated inflation p=the risk premium. Given the valuation of property and appraisal of investment does not allow for real rates of return, only notional, it is proposed there is no requirement for i and R can be represented as the sum of l+p. Responding to Gordon (1982) and adding in rental growth to the equation, a risk, growth and depreciation explicit model of property valuation as a rational pricing mechanism in the appraisal of investments is put forward. This is represented as follows: where: K=the initial yield on capital investment RFR=the risk free, inflation prone opportunity cost rate of return r=risk premium g=expected annual rate of rental growth in new land uses and building programmes d=depreciation in the capital component of land use i.e. the building and not the land. Here the risk-free, inflation prone opportunity cost rate of return is taken to be the redemption yield on government securities and the premium is the additional return for investment of capital in property. The proposal for g to represent the expected annual rate of rental growth in new land uses and building programmes is made so as to allow the depreciation component to be measured in terms of the obsolescence a particular use, or programme has been subject to. The formula is important for two reasons. First, K is equivalent to the r in the NAR model previously referred to. Looked at in this way, r appears to be a far more complex figure than initially thought. It appears, however, the complex composition of r is something it is necessary to live with if the criticisms of the models’ silence on such matters as uncertainty, risk, rental growth and depreciation are to be overcome. Secondly, in taking the form of a summation equation (one which takes the first three criticisms into account), it also works


within the definitions of physical deterioration, technical, economic and environmental obsolescence, put forward by the RICS, ISVA and Centre for Advanced Land Use Studies (CALUS) to explain the causes of depreciation. Causal factors Baum (1991, 94) is of the opinion are impossible to single out, but can be represented in terms of: (a) physical deterioration (b) external appearance (c) internal specification and (d) configuration. Factors Baum (1991) argues need to be weighted in order of significance so the impact of low and high flexibility can be analysed in terms of the effect depreciation has on rental values, yields, expenditure and risk. What the analysis shows is that those land uses and building programmes with high levels of flexibility have the positive effect of offsetting the rate of rental and yield depreciation and also reduce the risk premium. It is, however, more difficult to draw any conclusions about the effect externalities have upon depreciation. There are a number of reasons for this. The first is that it is difficult to standardise any such relationship. Secondly, that under the structure of landlord and tenant, it is the latter and not the former who undertakes expenditure on items such as repair and maintenance, improvements and refurbishments. Under these circumstances additional rent is not paid to the landlord and it becomes technically difficult to separate the annual rental equivalent of the expenditure, let alone the effect it might have on the yield. But while such a representation of obsolescence does go some way to kill the myth that expenditure can be taken as a proxy for depreciation, it is recognised that in view of the fact repairs, maintenance, improvements and refurbishments can help solve curable depreciation, it is a matter which only manages to touch upon some of the most problematic areas of valuation methodology and investment techniques available for such purposes—the residual and contractor’s methods in particular, and is one which requires a great deal more further consideration. One possible way of doing this would be to use life cycle analysis in estimating the average amount of expenditure required to meet the costs of curable depreciation over a 20 year period and calculate whether there is any significant relationship between repair, maintenance, improvement, refurbishment and depreciation and effect this has on rents, yield and capital values. As yet it appears no such analysis has been undertaken. A position perhaps more sympathetic to such an analysis is provided by Britton, Connellan and Croft’s (1991) Cost Approach to Valuation. Like the income based thesis it also draws upon the logic of the discounting principle to formulate an approach towards the valuation of property and appraisal of investments that yields a rate of interest which is sufficient to provide a rate of return over cost. At present the tendency is to adopt it as a means to approach the valuation of property held by the public sector, not for the appraisal of their value as investments, but operational assets. Here rental values take the form of an economic return on the amount of capital investment in a land use and the amount of depreciation a building programme is subject to. Further


developments in this area are represented in Connellan and Baldwin (1992) and Connellan’s (1994) examination of the appraisal technique. 4 THE DEBATE The last section’s examination has sought to identify that a number of developments have taken place in property valuation and investment appraisal which circumvent many of the criticisms aimed at the NAR model. In particular the fact that by substituting the r of NAR model in the valuation of property with that of the initial yield (shown by symbol K) in the depreciation sensitive model of investment appraisal, it is possible to be not only risk and growth explicit, but depreciation explicit too. Against this, however, is the fact that this reformulation of r in terms of the initial yield has little to say about the time-horizons, spatial configuration of land uses, or building programmes. To a large degree it might be best to refer to the development as one that focuses on the effects technical and economic obsolescence have on the valuation of property and appraisal of investments. It might also be said to be a development which manages to avoid the whole question of environmental obsolescence due to its tendency to side-step many of the issues surrounding the redevelopment process. In view of this it might be best seen as operating within a very strict definition of property valuation under the income approach and investment method. One that stops itself from crossing the fine line which has been drawn between the investment, residual and contractor’s methods. A line the cost approach is perhaps more willing to admit needs to be crossed if a more meaningful understanding of the redevelopment process is to be gained. What is also noticeable is the tendency for both approaches to say little, if anything about whether or not they represent a net benefit or make a contribution to welfare. This question is, of course, looked at briefly under the issue surrounding rate of return over cost. But given neither of the approaches address spill-over effects, or externalities in any way whatsoever, it has to be recognised any claims in this department have to be balanced against the fact the discount rate (in whatever forms of surfaces i.e. the r of the NAR models, the K of the initial yield, or the plain old rate of interest!) are private and in that sense reflect private as opposed to social time preferences regarding the marginal productivity of capital. This is worth reiterating because it is the question of time-horizons, spatial configurations, spillovers, externalities and the social dimension of the discounting principle (and the way it ought to influence property valuation and investment appraisal) that is of particular interest to the pro-environmentalist, sustainability lobby (for example; Rydin (1992), Vale (1993) and Brehney and Rookwood (1993) respectively). Working within this term of reference, Rydin (1992) has sought to examine the impact property valuation and investment appraisal in market economies has


upon the environment of cities. What she stresses is that the impact of any action to use land, or programme building engineering and construction contracts, is not limited to either the time-horizon or spatial configuration of the city, but extends far beyond this environment. That is, into the nation-state and international arena which influence global events. For Rydin (1992) this is a point of particular significance because it draws a connection between the impact of spillover effects, externalities etc within, say the expansion of the central business district into the inner city and links it to the effects the actions of the redevelopment process have upon the nation-state, international and global environment. In effect what it does is to show the impact is not confined to the city in which it takes place i.e. the locality in question, but is national, international and global in nature. The clearest example of this is perhaps provided in the relationship between the application of the income based valuation and investment techniques in the NAR model of the redevelopment process, the corresponding growth of infrastructures required to expand the central business district, increased transport usage, resulting pollution, worsening air quality within the nation-state, the international problems associated with carbon dioxide poisoning, the greenhouse effect and global wanning. It is this form of redevelopment, growth and expansion of the city which the pro-environmentalist, sustainability lobby are critical of. They see the form it takes (and therefore the discounting principle property valuation and investment appraisal it is based on), as short-term, even myopic in its decision making capacity and not a viable option in the long term. Something that in their minds arises because the economy it seeks to promote is based on the consumption of coal, oil, natural gas, all of which are exhaustible, fixed and finite in supply. Natural resources whose combustion also leads to the emission of carbon dioxides into the environment and an ecological imbalance. This is a point that Vale (1993) picks up. Here it is pointed out that commercial industrial and residential land uses consume about 50% of all fossil fuels in the United Kingdom and if we add the burning of energy in transportation to such buildings this increases to about 75% in total. They also account for a great deal of the natural resources consumed in the UK economy. For example, aggregates, timber, water and carbons in the manufacturing of materials forming land use and building programmes. In view of the exhaustible, fixed and finite nature of such materials and fossil fuels, Vale (1993) and others propose we should look closely at the planning and design of both land uses and building programmes. In so doing it is proposed that a critical distinction should be drawn between income, capital, revenue and expenditures on the cost outgoings associated with the design, engineering, production and management of land and buildings. What is proposed is that such expenditures should be made the subject of a life cycle costing and the benefits of using low carbon, energy burning designs ought to be given serious consideration. As too, it is proposed, should be the possibility of developing such design considerations into the engineering and production of land uses whose


building programmes have longer time-horizons and more compact spatial configurations—the so-called compact city whose environment is seen to have a viable, long-term, sustainable future. Focusing on the former, a number of differences in the types of materials made use of in the commercial, industrial and residential sectors are illustrated. What is made clear is that while the commercial and industrial sectors make use of high carbon components such as oil, gas and plastics, and consume a large amount of fossil fuels, the residential sector is comparatively low in the consumption of such materials. Rydin (1992) is sceptical about the ability to switch commercial land uses and building programmes to lower carbon and fossil fuel inputs. She is of the opinion the discounting principle that lies behind the valuation of property and appraisal of investments does not lend itself towards the use of such inputs. This is because in her mind the valuation methodologies and investment techniques in question centre on the short to medium and not long term benefits of a life cycle costing for land uses and building programmes based on low carbon, fossil fuel components. In other words, the switch to land use and building programmes with lower carbon, fossil fuel inputs does not give in either valuation, or investment terms, long term benefits sufficient enough to cover short to medium term costs. In her mind, it is seen to bring about a situation whereby the switch away from high to low carbon, fossil fuel based design, engineering, production and management is not efficient in either technical or economic terms. As she points out: “The valuation of property as an investment asset is based on discounting future returns in the form of rent and capital growth, by the use of the discount rate (in property circles referred to as a yield). As Pearce and Turner (1990) have emphasised the use of discounting downgrades costs to future generations at the expense of benefits to the current generation. Thus the expense of future maintenance will have a relatively smaller impact on the value of an investment compared with current capital expenditure. This form of valuation can inhibit many forms of refurbishment which would enhance energy conservation and undervalue buildings which minimise their environmental impact”. (Rydin, 1992 p. 230) The contradiction, Rydin (1992) seeks to expose is that the economics of discounting in property valuation and investment appraisal tends to work against the possibility of introducing experimental designs aimed at low carbon and fossil fuel content because the benefits they provide in long term, repair, maintenance and running costs do not translate into any additional rental income, or a favourable yield adjustment, but merely additional capital costs. This is seen as contradictory because:


• the so-called tyranny of the discounting principle tends to militate against the introduction of such experimental designs. • it inhibits improvements and refurbishments aimed at low carbon, fossil fuels consumption. • it leads to high repair, maintenance and overall running costs without any compensatory income. • tends to negate the possibility of offsetting deterioration, obsolescence and depreciation in a manner that brings about long term time-horizons and more compact spatial configurations. • downloads private and social costs associated with land use and building programmes to future generations to the benefit of the current. These concerns are also shared by Vale (1993) and Rookwood (1993). As a critique of the discounting principle it draws upon the research of Pearce and Turner (1990). As it is a concern that leads Rydin (1992) to advocate a lower discount rate, initial yield or level of interest for environmentally friendly, green land use and building programmes, it is a critique which requires further attention. Pearce and Turner (1990) provide a critique of the classical, marginalist and neoclassical economic theory lying behind the discounting principle. The critique includes the theory of marginal private and social costs/benefits that lies behind the new welfare economics, the Pareto-optima, spillovers, externalities, imperfections, Pigovian taxation and Coase theorem of the neoclassical synthesis. The criticism of the discounting principle is five-fold: • that private individuals can measure the pure time preference for present consumption as opposed to future investments. • the lack of consideration given by the marginal efficiency theory of capital to social time preference. • the lack of any specific allowance for uncertainty and risk in the choice of the discount rate. • the tendency to ignore that a positive, initial yield or rate of interest on capital investment assumes growth. • the fact that discount rates have an in built tendency to place a high value on current income and a low weighting to future capital and revenue costs. That is download costs as far into the future as is possible. Looked at independently, it is evident that the first four criticisms are economic in nature. What is also clear is that the last point has little to do with either technical or economic efficiency and in referring to such matters as the downloading of inter-generational costs, takes a moral, or ethical line. Irrespective of this however, what they recognise is that:


“The implication of the criticisms is that we should lower discount rates from whatever they are when determined by the STPR (Social Time Preference Rate) and SOC (Social Opportunity Cost) arguments. If we accept this we have an immediate problem in that the criticisms do not tell us by how much we should lower discount rates, we are left with an indeterminate theory of discount rate selection”. (Pearce and Turner, 1990, p.223) In an attempt to circumvent this problem, it is proposed that an alternative to the question of adjusting discount rates should be looked at. What is proposed is that attention ought to focus not so much on the adjustment to the discount rate, but on the sustainability requirement property valuation and investment appraisal needs in order to take account of the impact which land use and building programmes have on the environment. To focus, that is, not so much on the discount rate which has led to the failure of government policy in the planned expansion of central business district formation into the inner-city, but on what is required to reconcile this situation and lead to the redevelopment of cities which have more sustainable environments. In view of this, it is perhaps unfortunate that Pearce and Turner’s (1990) discussions on the sustainability requirement are not augmented and little is said about how best to proceed with such a line of enquiry. Instead attention is seen to turn towards the specifications of sustainable development in either weak or strong forms, the Hicksian definition of income distribution and Harwick rule on the reinvestment of rent to replace capital lost through depreciation and modification of the Rawlsian notion of social justice under an ecological approach to sustainable development. However, putting this to one side, it is not long before the question of valuation methodology and appraisal techniques surface again over the measurement of environmental damage. Here attention focuses on the distinction between direct and indirect valuation methodologies. The measurement of willingness to pay under the former and adoption of hedonic pricing, contingency techniques and travel cost methodologies available for such purposes. Some reference is also made to the idea of willingness to accept. It appears the investment techniques have been left to Steer and Wade-Gerry (1993) and Harou, Daly and Goodland (1994). Under the heading of project evaluation attention turns towards what Steer and Wade-Gerry (1993) refer to as the tough conceptual issues of the discount rate for proper valuation methodology and the investment techniques required to bring about a sustainable yield. They propose that the evaluation of a project should include the profile of income, capital expenditure and cost-outgoings associated with the life cycle of the project in question. However, while reintroducing an NAR type model into the debate, it should be noted that the points which they make in connection with the discount rate and idea of proper valuation methodology are a little vague. Little is said about how to calculate the social rate of time preference, nothing is


mentioned about the valuation of property, the appraisal of investment or the effect land use and building programmes have upon the environment of cities and with regards to the willingness to pay issue of hedonic pricing, contingency techniques etc, it is merely pointed out that: “The valuation of benefits and costs remains a difficult matter that often needs to be complemented or substituted by consultative approaches. The participation of people directly affected by the project is important. Impacted people’s willingness to pay, or to receive compensation can be determined through direct consultation, participation or negotiation. The result of this process can eventually be used to deduce some implicit values for some of the project’s inputs and outputs. Participation can also be used to choose the most acceptable project design if cost and benefit estimates are difficult to make”. (Harou, Daly and Goodland, 1994 p. 17) The projects in question relate to the valuation of natural capital depletion and here it is proposed that cost-outgoings should include the setting up of a yield to cover the depreciation and replacement of the income from the land use, plus any ancillary building programmes. In certain respects the reference to the willingness to pay, or receive compensation have a great deal in common with the property rights tradition of the income based property approach to valuation and investment appraisal. The reference to participation, consultation and negotiation in particular appear to draw upon this tradition, with perhaps the important, if not critical provision that government failure in dealing with welfare improvements, environmental damage and poverty should not be dealt with by a return to the economics of the market, but, rather, by a shift towards a framework for analysis which can operate within the real world of market imperfections, failures and regulative regimes surrounding land use and building programmes. 5 THE CONTRADICTIONS It is proposed that there exist a number of contradictions in the proenvironmentalist, sustainability lobby’s critique of the discounting principle which lies behind the valuation of property and appraisal of investments. The contradictions in question take a number of forms. The following will highlight three of them. First factual inaccuracies regarding the discounting principle, property valuation and investment appraisal. Secondly, the tendency to abandon NAR type models of property valuation, investment appraisal and their measure of technical and economic efficiency and welfare, without any suitable replacement. Thirdly, the tendency to bracket questions of efficiency and welfare improvements within a given distribution of income in favour of matters concerning equity.


If we refer back to Rydin’s (1992) criticism of the discounting principle which lies behind the valuation of property and appraisal of investment (and that which underlies land use and building programmes) it is represented as being at odds with, or working against the possibility of a redevelopment process whose impact on the environment of cities is ever going to be as capable of meeting the sustainability requirement. This being because the long term costs associated with the design, engineering, production and subsequent management of land uses and building programmes with low carbon fossil fuel content do not provide any short to medium term direct income benefit. In Rydin’s (1992) mind this is seen to be a matter of particular significance, for it brings about a situation whereby additional cost expenditures tend to outweigh the income benefits in the form of extra rent or lower yield. In short, it is seen to bring about a situation which inhibits improvements and refurbishments aimed at lengthening the timehorizons of land uses and building programmes in more compact spatial configurations, leads to higher repair, maintenance and overall running costs, negates the possibility of offsetting deterioration, obsolescence and depreciation and results in the persistent downloading of costs. A set of circumstances which in her view calls for a downward adjustment to the discount rate. To support this line of reason she draws upon the critique of the discounting principle advanced by Pearce and Turner (1990). In particular the criticisms they put forward regarding the lack of due consideration given to the marginal efficiency of capital, social time preference, uncertainty, risk and growth. What, however, is most noticeable is that Pearce and Turner (1990) do not agree with the arguments put forward to support a discount rate adjustment, but instead focus attention on what they refer to as the sustainability requirement of property valuation and investment appraisal. Based on this there can be no simple assumption (as Rydin (1992) appears to make) that the possible benefits of environmentally friendly, green land uses and building programmes call for downward adjustments to discount rates, increases in capital value to offset additional expenditure on longer time-horizons and more compact spatial configurations. Something which somehow and in some way, is seen to bring about a situation where the marginal productivity of capital in terms of income return over cost, yields a rate of interest that equates private individual with social time preference. However, even putting this to one side, it is evident that Pearce and Turner’s (1990) criticisms do not take into account the significant advances which have been made with regards to property valuation and investment appraisal in the contemporary era. You only have to look at the Fisher inspired formula for the initial yield of Baum (1991) and Baum and MacGregor (1992) to see that in the contemporary era property valuation and investment appraisal does take uncertainty and risk into consideration and also acknowledges that growth is another component in the rate of interest. Indeed if we follow this line of reason, it soon becomes clear that any downward adjustment to the rate of discount is based on the assumption the valuation of property and appraisal of investments will give rise to land uses and


building programmes which are not only more efficient in both technical and economic terms, or bring about a welfare improvement, but a level of risk and growth sufficient enough (relative to depreciation) to sustain the yield as a rate of interest on the capital in question. It in fact assumes a lower level of risk and high rate of growth, a situation that tends to draw additional, not fewer, scarce, fixed and finite resources into the redevelopment process. It is perhaps for this reason that Pearce and Turner (1990) draw the conclusion that the criticism of the discounting principle indicates there is something amiss with the rates of return selected, but does not add up to much and choose instead to focus attention on the sustainability requirement. The problem with this is that it tends to put all the questions associated with the discounting principle, valuation of property and appraisal of investment to one side and looks at hedonic pricing and contingency models of the impact land use and building programmes have upon the environment of cities. That is, it tends to turn away from the pricing of resources in the use of land and a programme of building and towards more open-ended, as yet ill-defined questions about the environment. Or, put in slightly different terms, it appears that Pearce and Turner (1990) have taken a line of enquiry which drives a wedge between the underlying economics of discounting, property valuation, investment appraisal and the environment. One that is no doubt intended to show the gaping holes in the logic of welfare economics and how this has led to the persistent failure of government policy to give the environment the attention it deserves, but, one, it has to be said, which appears to be content to leave the nature of the relationship up in the air and do little to reconcile the differences between the economy and environment. It appears as though Pearce and Turner (1990) are quite happy to put the NAR type model to one side and give the impression that it is of little use in the assessment of the impact land use and building programmes have on the environment. The outcome of this, of course, is that they have little, if anything to say about land use in general, building programmes in particular and it appears as if they are prepared to go a long way to avoid any questions about time-horizons, or spatial configurations. It is Steer and Wade-Gerry (1993) who have attempted to confront such issues under the heading of project evaluation. Unfortunately, even here, little detail is provided on matters to do with the economics of discounting, valuation methodology, of investment techniques and in many ways their comments on the environment tend to leave the matter even more open ended. 6 TOWARDS A FRAMEWORK FOR ANALYSIS So far it has been suggested that the debate over economic theory and its application in the principle of discounting, property valuation and investment appraisal (obsolescence and depreciation also) has tended to become separated


from issues concerning the use of land, programme of building and the impact the redevelopment process has on the environment of cities. It has also been argued that any attempts to progress the matter should be firmly grounded in the former and draw upon what is understood about valuation methodology, investment techniques etc to advance our knowledge of the latter. In view of this it is proposed that any framework for analysis should focus on the former and concentrate on what it can tell us about the latter. It is for this reason the paper proposes that a framework for analysis should be grounded in a form of welfare economics which provides the opportunity for a detailed examination of meaningful relationships between obsolescence, depreciation and expenditure. That is, of how depreciation reacts back on repairs, maintenance, improvements etc or, from the NAR model’s point of view, the relationships between (l+r) and O. The relationship Rydin (1992) is critical of and appears to be of particular interest to Vale (1993). If we accept that Rydin’s criticisms and call for downward adjustments to r are not supported by Pearce and Turner (1990) and, indeed, if anything, they leave the whole question wide open, it is possible to argue the best way to further any common interest in the sustainability debate is through a closer examination of the relationship between O and (l+r)i. In terms of the NAR notion of net income, it is only possible at this stage to qualify the (l+r) component of the equation so that r represents K in terms of:

and while this will be common for both the P and C formulae, it will also affect Ri and Oi due to the fact r will be net of obsolescence and depreciation. While the modifications appear minor and perhaps insignificant, it is proposed that thentrue value lies in the fact the adjusted NAR model addresses many of the criticisms made about the discounting principle, draws particular attention to both risk and growth and, in so doing, identifies a number of causal factors which enter into the process of depreciation. It is also perhaps worth noting that the methodology by which obsolescence is shown to be the cause of depreciation is hedonic in nature and makes use of a rank-weighting technique. As such it goes some way to establishing what effect depreciation has on the valuation of property and providing the investment appraisal required to explain the relationship in technical terms. Where, from this paper’s point of view, it perhaps falls short is in its inability to provide a better understanding of the economics— not so much behind the principle of discounting, valuation of property and appraisal of investment in the NAR model of the redevelopment process, but underlying the time-horizons of land uses and spatial configuration of their associated building programmes. The following lists the potential benefits of any such examination:


• it would focus attention on the nature of the relationships between O and (l+r) i in the NAR model. • it would build upon the advances of contemporary property valuation and investment appraisals not only in terms of the income approach to risk and growth, but the cost based thesis on outgoings associated with capital expenditure on repairs, maintenance, improvements and refurbishments. • the collection of information on such expenditure would augment our understanding of depreciation. • it would also make it possible for the benefits of contemporary property valuation and investment appraisal to be formally integrated into the field of development analysis—something it may be difficult to believe has not yet been delivered. • such data would also allow life cycle exercises to be undertaken in the valuation of property, appraisal of investments, obsolescence and depreciation and also be capable of incorporating hedonic and contingency dimensions into the measurement of any impact land use redevelopment and the building programmes have on the environment of cities. • such a schedule of costing would provide information on the initial capital and subsequent revenue expenditures in terms of outgoing costs associated with clean air technologies. The effect of this on R (occupational demand) for land uses and building programmes and r, or initial yield K (demand for property due to its value as an investment) could be analysed. • the with/without logic of comparative analysis could also be drawn upon to establish not so much the potential, but real effects of introducing such technologies. This would identify what value the market puts on such technologies. That is, what price, both users and investors are willing to pay for the income-benefits of such attributes. It would also demonstrate the cost of not taking such a course of action. A price measured in terms of the different present values of those properties with and without the technologies in question. Of course, this does not account for the spillover, or externality costs benefits associated with such a course of action. In order to satisfy this, some form of hedonic and contingency property valuation exercises would need to be carried out to establish willingness to accept. The effect this has on the appraisal of investments will also need to be placed under examination. • RFR+r gives an indication of the parameters i.e. upper and lower levels of the discount rate, r or initial yield K, whereas g provides an indication of anticipated growth. The significance being that they are both linked into the capital markets of the economy and provide the opportunity to estimate the effect any change in the relationship between O and r will have on the nation as a whole. The same is true for the C formula, but here the effect also extends into D and B. Here again the effect the cost of introducing such new technologies into an alternative land use and building programme could be


analysed to establish at what point redevelopment becomes efficient in both technical and economic terms. It will no doubt be appreciated that the aforementioned refers to the time-horizons of land uses and building programmes and says little about the impact the introduction of such new technologies might have in terms of spatial configuration. The problem previously highlighted in terms of the expansion of the central business district into the inner city and impact this process of redevelopment has upon the environment of cities. In its present state the NAR model does not have the capacity to deal with the spatial dimension to the redevelopment of land use and building programmes other than by the assumption of an automatic transfer of land to what is termed the best use. As the previous examinations have shown this is naive. One way it might be possible to overcome this is by focusing attention on the speculative dimension of the redevelopment process. That is by looking at the assumptions of risk and growth in the C formula and identify whether it is unrealistic assumptions regarding both these components which causes the deterioration and environmental damage of cities referred to earlier. This will allow the formulation of what is termed an environmental index of the impact land use redevelopment and building programmes have on cities. It will lend itself towards a factor-weighting of the technologies which improve air quality, reduce pollution, contamination, identify the capital expenditures associated with the cost of reducing such outputs and analyse the effect they have on the price of such investment opportunities. It should also be possible to draw upon this index as a basis to establish whether, or to be more precise, under what conditions such experimental designs pay in terms of higher marginal private benefits and lower social costs. Whether the pay-back be in the form of lower rates of obsolescence, the offsetting of depreciation, or the impact it has on g, r and K, as the rate of interest. This list of considerations does not of course exhaust all the issues in question, it merely sets out a framework for analysis that makes it possible to circumvent many of the criticisms made about the discounting principle which underlies the NAR model. What it does is to take the criticisms into consideration and advance a framework for an adjusted NAR model of property valuation and investment appraisal. One, that is, which makes it possible to base an assessment of the impact the redevelopment process has on an economic evaluation of the effects land use, building obsolescence and depreciation have on the environment of cities. 7 CONCLUSIONS This paper has examined the critique of the discounting principle the proenvironmentalist, sustainability lobby, have made in relation to property


valuation investment appraisal and its application in the income based NAR model of land use time horizons and the spatial configuration of building programmes. In particular it has looked at the link made between the selection of a discount rate, the valuation of property, appraisal of investment and the intergeneration downloading of costs associated with the use of land, repair, maintenance and refurbishment of buildings. In examining this debate it has found the criticism wanting and has sought to expose some of the contradictions within the argument that it is this downloading of cost which works against the introduction of experimental designs aimed at environmentally friendly, green land uses and building programmes. In doing so the paper has sought to demonstrate the connection made between the discounting principle, valuation of property appraisal of investment and downloading of costs is tenuous and open to question. What it has sought to show is that many of the criticisms put forward by the pro-environmentalist, sustainability lobby about the discounting principle have already been addressed by academics and practitioners responsible for the valuation of property and appraisal of investments. In view of this it has proposed that any assessment of the impact which the redevelopment process has on the environment of cities should be based upon an understanding of how best to apply the principle in the valuation of property and appraisal of investment within an adjusted NAR model of land use time-horizons and the spatial configuration of building programmes. It is for this reason the paper has sought to move towards a framework for such an analysis of the redevelopment process under the heading of an economic evaluation and appraisal of the effects land use, building obsolescence and depreciation have on the environment of cities. BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

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Sustainability and the built environment: tourism impacts S.S.Allwinkle* and C.E.Speed** *Department of Building and Surveying, Napier University, Edinburgh EH10 5DT, UK **Hospitality and Tourism Management, Napier University, Edinburgh EH10 5DT, UK ABSTRACT A major issue relating to sustainability of the built environment is the impact of tourism on the infrastructure and superstructure of cities. An increase in the volume of tourism on a global level is reflected in the level of tourist arrivals in cities. This increase has also led to a recognition of the need to identify the impacts of tourism in a number of disciplines. Limited research has taken place into the sustainability of the built environment within cities and methods are now required to prescribe measures for analysis and management of sustainable development in association with tourism development. As a preliminary step the relationship between an increase in the volume of tourism and its impact on the built environment needs to be established. This paper presents the concept of sustainability from a tourism perspective and the factors that need to be considered of the impact of tourism and tourist destinations on the built environment. Keywords: Assessment, built environment, impact of tourism, sustainability. 1 INTRODUCTION The relationship between the built environment and tourism represents a relatively new area of study and it is only recently that tourism is beginning to be recognised as a discipline in its own right. In the past tourism impacts [1] have been identified with other disciplines: geography, economics, marketing, management, sociology with the built environment very rarely featuring. From the perspective of the built environment, tourism is normally associated with coastal development or theme parks with little attention given to tourist impacts on cultural cities. In particular, the negative impact of 9.5 million tourists per annum on Scotland is given a low profile against a resident population of 5 million and the ability of the existing superstructure and infrastructure to support


this transient population. The positive aspects of economics and income generation are often highlighted as against the environmental degradation and the resultant reduction of quality of life of the resident population. However the continuing ability of the built environment to consume materials and assimilate waste is being increasingly drawn into question with developers being identified as generally uncaring, singular and profit seeking. Buildings and their supporting infrastructure shape a long term pattern of resource consumption both in terms of operation and maintenance yet there is little evidence to suggest that strategies are being used to determine long term performance and adaptability. Although the concept of sustainability of the built environment is now being debated and research agendas are being established there is a propensity for projects to relate to new development, materials and processes, yet approximately 95% of the buildings in the UK are existing. There will in the future be a greater demand to adapt and reuse existing buildings for different purposes and tourism will be one of the drivers for this change specifically relating to the cultural or historic city. Cultural or historic cities are more complex environments than individual heritage sites and cater for many kinds of people, including visitors and residents. This makes it difficult to disentangle the pressures caused from visitors from pressures caused by other groups and few cities have carried out a detailed analysis to enable this to be done. There is clearly a need to establish a framework for analysing the effect of tourism on the built environment with particular reference to the carrying capacity of a cultural city. This framework should include tourist flows in and out of the city system in terms of volume, velocity and frequency. This paper therefore seeks to identify the tourism issues that impact on the sustainability of cultural cities. 2 THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND TOURISM 2.1 Superstructure The development of buildings in the urban environment have happened over time from a basic requirement of providing shelter to satisfying complex multifunctional requirements. A shelter provides protection from the elements and its function is to enclose space so that a satisfactory internal environment may be created relative to the purpose of a particular building. The space within the building must therefore provide conditions appropriate to the activities that take place within it and to satisfy the comfort and safety of any occupants. Thus the space will be designed in terms of size and shape and in terms of environmental factors such as weather and noise exclusion, and the


provision of adequate heat, light and air. The fabric of building must therefore be designed to ensure that these standards are achieved. Consequently the building fabric can be seen as the means by which the natural or external environment may be modified to produce a satisfactory internal environment. In fulfilling this function the building and its parts must satisfy certain requirements related to the environmental factors on which the design of the spaces within it are based. These functional requirements are the provision of adequate weather resistance, thermal insulation, sound insulation, light and air quality. In addition adequate strength and stability must be provided together with adequate safety for the occupants, contents and fabric of the building. The importance of any of these will vary with the particular part of the building and with its primary function. When considering the environmental function of a building it should be noted that the average population in the western world spend 90% of their lives in buildings. It is therefore not surprising that internal comfort is high on the agenda. The constituent parts of the superstructure of the urban environment are formed from the various purpose groups of buildings, being broadly residential, commercial and industrial. The loadings of the buildings are normally based on the existing primary use with consideration given to the supporting infrastructure. However the change of use of buildings and the frequency of use and how this impacts on the sustainability of the environment needs to be addressed. In particular the influence of tourism and the resultant change of use of buildings in cultural cities needs to be evaluated. 2.2 Infrastructure In contrast, the transportation systems that exist in the urban environment are mainly utilised by the general population for a small part of the day yet can cause discomfort and distress. In particular the impact of a tourist population on a cultural city can often result in saturation of the urban environment. Tourism involves the movement of people and in consequence the relationship between transportation and tourism development is vital as an adequate infrastructure is one of the most important prerequisites for the development of a destination. The term sustainability often proves difficult to define but equally so is tourism as it is a multi-dimensional activity which influences many social and economic activities dependent upon a sustainable infrastructure. The urban environment is primarily formed from the infrastructural components. The infrastructure being the roads, rail systems, airports, the utility services of gas, electricity, water, drainage and communication systems that form the transportation medium within cities. The carrying capacity of these systems is often established within different time frames and consequently different factors are applied. In certain parts of the infrastructure it is recognised when a system is reaching a maximum carrying capacity. This normally falls


within the domain of the utility services as there is a direct linkage between a system overload and potential life threatening situation. However when considering road, rail and air transportation systems the overload is tolerated although the quality of life and social well being of the residents is often being adversely affected. 2.3 A cultural city An example of a cultural city is Edinburgh, Scotland which needs to achieve a more sustainable environment. It is both a cultural and an historic city and therefore is a major tourist attraction in the UK. During the summer months it hosts an International Festival with a plethora of events providing a wonderful atmosphere. However a negative aspect is that it attracts 600,000 visitors by car during the three week festival period and this effectively doubles the resident population. In parallel during the period 1981–1991 Edinburgh has had the fastest growing car ownership in the UK, being a 56% increase which is double the UK average. The city is a victim of its own success, with tourism realising an economic growth rate of one of the highest in Europe during the last decade. If Edinburgh is to continue to prosper and sustain an environment that provides for both tourist and resident then it must address the built environment issues and the impacts of tourism with particular emphasis on transportation. 2.4 Tourism flows Cultural cities have had a significant influence on tourism flows, but the nature of the urban environment as a centre for population, government, business, cultural activities and transportation means that urban centres are used significantly by residents as well as tourists. This implies an inherent barrier to the disaggregation of statistics and the establishment of baseline data, which has caused problems for researchers wishing to isolate tourist impacts [2]. When considering urban centres from a built environment perspective the maximum carrying capacity that a building development, or infrastructure could sustain is based on the total number of users in terms of residents and visitors. When planning for the performance and maintenance of the built environment, the number of users must be taken into account as tourism swells the local population significantly. As a first step it is necessary to consider the definition of the word tourism as there are a number of popular misconceptions surrounding this word as tourists are not just people on holiday. Government agencies tend to use the general term visitor defined by the United Nations as any person visiting a country other than that in which he has his usual place of residence, for any reason other than following an occupation remunerated from within the


country visited [3]. This definition implies the inclusion of leisure, holiday and business visitors. A common definition of tourism has been developed from this statement and is widely used. Tourism is the temporary movement to destinations outside the normal home and workplace, the activities undertaken during the stay and the facilities created to cater for the needs of tourists [4]. This definition has three components: the tourists themselves, their movement and transit from home and the destination itself incorporating facilities for tourists. The facilities required for tourism will be dependent upon the type of tourists, their mode of travel and their needs which will vary with the type of destination. For the purposes of this paper, however, the essential nature of tourism contains two major elements that impact on the sustainability of the built environment, being; the journey and mode of transport relating to the infrastructure and the stay including activities at the destination. The difficulty of incorporating tourism into the sustainability model is that it is inherently volatile and seasonal. Central to the concept of sustainability is the issue of carrying capacity and as such simply relates to the ability of a cultural city to absorb tourists without an unacceptable alteration to the environment and without decline in the quality of life and social well being of the resident population and visitors. As both sustainability and carrying capacity have their roots in resource management it is particularly important in a cultural city where finite resources are under growing pressure from users. In essence both the infrastructural and superstructural needs must be set against the physical, psychological, biological and social framework of a cultural city together with its business and other activities to identify the sustainability methods. 3 TYPOLOGY OF DESTINATIONS The definition of tourism is purposely non-specific and all-embracing. In order to be able to identify the effect of tourists on the built environment two key factors must be identified. The nature or typology of the destination comprising the built environment and the nature or typology of tourists, to enable an understanding to be gained of their needs and the parts of the built environment they impact upon. Tourism destinations have been classified under a number of headings as a necessary step towards their analysis. In developed countries the following have been identified [1]: Coastal tourism, Ski-field development, Rural tourism, Urban tourism. The focus of this paper is on urban areas and it has been suggested that there are three important features of urban areas [5]. Urban areas are heterogeneous in nature and have many differences such as size, location, function. Urban areas are complex and often large-scale, carrying out a number of functions. The functions of urban areas which supply the needs of tourists often overlap with the needs of residents. Urban tourism has been


relatively neglected by tourism researchers [1]. However, recent work by Page [6] has highlighted different forms of urban tourism: • Capital cities (e.g. London, Paris and New York) and cultural capitals (e.g. Rome, Edinburgh); • Metropolitan centres and walled historic cities (e.g. Canterbury and York) and small fortress cities; • Large historic cities (e.g. Oxford, Cambridge, Venice and Edinburgh); • Inner city areas (Manchester); • Revitalised waterfront areas (e.g. London Docklands and Sydney Darling Harbour); • Industrial cities (e.g. nineteenth century Bradford); • Seaside resorts and winter sports resorts (e.g. Lillehammer); • Purpose-built integrated tourist resorts; • Tourist-entertainment complexes (e.g. Disneyland and Las Vegas); • Specialised tourist service centres (e.g. spas and pilgrimage destinations, e.g. Lourdes); • Cultural/art cities (e.g. Florence, Edinburgh) 4 TYPOLOGY OF CITIES 4.1 Data sources Cultural and historic cities within urban areas can attract domestic and international visitors which includes holiday makers as well as those on business or attending conferences and these users will have different needs and use different parts of the built environment. Given the scale of most urban areas, it is difficult to conduct primary research in this area, therefore sources of secondary data are identified. The measurement of tourism and the collecting of statistics in a systematic way is a relatively recent activity. There tends to be a lack of uniformity between countries, and the paucity of international statistics makes studies associated with tourism difficult. Using the UK as an example, measures can be made at a number of levels. 4.2 International data It is possible to quantify the total number of tourist arrivals to countries and to specific city destinations using WTO (World Tourism Organisation) [7] and OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) sources [8].


4.3 National data At a national level, governments carry out a variety of tourism statistical surveys. In the United Kingdom the IPS (International Passenger Survey) [9] measures both incoming and outgoing tourism flows. The UKTS (United Kingdom Tourism Survey) [9] measures tourism by residents in terms of volume (trips taken, nights spent away from home) and value (expenditure). It also collects details of the trips taken by residents of any age, tourism for any purpose on a monthly basis and the findings published on an annual basis. The UKDVS (UK Day Visits Survey) [9] is produced every two years to provide measures of UK residents’ day visits in terms of the number of trips and associated expenditure. From these the separate UK tourist boards extrapolate their own statistics. For example, the STB (Scottish Tourist Board) produces the British Tourism in Scotland and Overseas Visitors to Scotland Factsheets. 4.4 Destination data It is common for destinations to perform their own surveys or to extrapolate destination information from national surveys for example the Edinburgh Tourist Board combine UKTS, UKDVS, STB and local government statistics to produce a profile of visitors to Edinburgh. 4.5 Sector data Specific surveys are carried out for different sectors of the tourism industry. For example in Scotland, there is the Accommodation Occupancy Survey on a monthly and annual basis and the Visitor Attractions Survey published annually. Additionally the STB carries out specific research projects, for example the ‘Scottish Leisure Day Trip Survey’, and the ‘Conference and Exhibition Market in Scotland’. 4.6 Unit level data Tourism is measured at a unit level by a variety of agencies and organisations, for example the National Trust for Scotland, Historic Scotland, and by commercial organisations for example hotel groups.


4.7 Visitor classification From the available statistics it is possible to identify a simple taxonomy of tourists which would include VFR (visiting friends and relatives), business travellers, conference and exhibition visitors, educational tourists, culture and heritage visitors, religious travellers, hallmark event visitors, leisure shoppers, day visitors. In addition, because of the multifunctional nature of cities, demand from residents would be added. A useful distinction has been drawn between intentional users, those motivated to visit by the character of the city, e.g. holiday tourists, day visitors, and incidental users, that is, those who see the character of the city as irrelevant to their use, e.g. business visitor, VFR, residents [10]. For the purposes of this paper, it can be seen that statistics are required at destination, sector and unit level. The focus is on: volume of visitors; origin of visitors; purpose of visit; activities during visit; length of stay; quarter of visit; transportation used and accommodations used. These data identify the type of destination (cultural, historic city) and the profile of the visitors’ needs at the destination. This could be used to establish the usage patterns of the destination facilities. 5 IDENTIFICATION OF THE IMPACTS OF TOURISM 5.1 Impact categories Traditionally, governments have emphasised the economic benefits of tourism, such as the ability to generate foreign exchange earnings, taxation revenue, job creation and regional development, but they are now beginning to focus on the ability of tourism to improve the quality of life and social well-being [11]. Generically, the impacts of tourism have been well documented [4]. They fall into three main categories; economic, physical, socio-cultural. For the purposes of this paper the focus is on environmental impact, though sustainable development cannot be studied in isolation and environmental impacts on the built environment have economic and social consequences. The impact of tourism on an area is dependent on the level of development, type of tourist, type of tourism, degree to which goods and services are produced locally, the physical resilience of the destination and the seasonal distribution of visitors.


5.2 Economic impacts of tourism A crude measure of the economic impact of tourism is the total expenditure by tourists, for example, at a global level tourism is said to account for £205.7 billion of expenditure on foreign tourism. Some 258 million people worldwide took holidays abroad in 1994 [12]. Tourism in urban area is thought to have a range of impacts; employment, income and sales generation; and regeneration and redevelopment of urban areas. Attempts have been made to study employment, income and sales generation of tourists through the use of multiplier studies which aim to show the effect of expenditure on a local economy [13]. A full analysis of the inherent difficulties in attempting to calculate employment, income and sales multipliers reflects the benefit of tourism to the economy. The more that is produced locally, the less the multiplier will be affected by ‘leakages’ in the form of cost of imports [14]. 5.3 Social impacts An in-depth analysis of social impacts of tourism can be found in the work of Smith [15]. In the context of this paper, focus is on social well-being and social amenity, and is largely related to tourism generating demand for improved social facilities and the effect on residents’ social well-being if their use of facilities is impeded by tourist congestion. 5.4 Environment impacts Research on the environmental impacts of tourism has concentrated on areas of natural resources, e.g. rural areas, coastlines, mountain areas. Urban areas have been considered less susceptible and in fact tourism has been seen as a means of enhancing environmental quality [16]. Four main positive conservation influences of tourism have been noted [4]: • • • •

The rehabilitation of existing buildings and historic sites. The transformation of old buildings to new uses. Conservation of natural resources. The introduction of planning procedures and controls to ensure good management of the environment.

The corollary to this can be put forward and negative influences include:


• Permanent environmental restructuring, for example the building of a new airport or major road. Besides the various physical effects on the natural environment, such developments result in the removal of large quantities of land from primary agricultural production or from its undeveloped status as a natural habitat. • Generation of waste products, e.g. effects on water and air quality. • ‘Stressor’ activities of tourists, e.g. wearing of footpaths. • Changes in population. There is evidence that tourism has been used as a vehicle for urban regeneration, particularly in decaying industrial inner cities and dockland areas, for example, Liverpool, Cardiff and London Docklands in the UK. In heritage cities however, tourism is often perceived as causing problems associated with congestion, reduction in amenity, pressure in infrastructure, for example Bath, Chester, York, Edinburgh. In Cambridge measures have been put in place to limit the number of tourists to the city centre, because of impacts such as inadequate parking, traffic congestion, concentration of tourists at major heritage sites, saturation of the high street, gradual erosion of the fabric of the city. 6 MEANS OF QUANTIFICATION OF TOURIST IMPACT 6.1 Measurement The measurement of tourist supply is essentially a three-stage process: the identification of relevant resources; the recording of existing levels of tourist usage; and the derivation of measure of ‘acceptable’ usage to compare with existing or projected future levels of usage. The purpose of this section is to firstly identify those measures used in tourism to quantify the volume of visitors to a destination and which impinge on the built environment, and secondly to make a critical appraisal of the applicability of this to the concept of sustainability in the built environment. It has been observed that some users of cities are influenced by the character of the city, and from the point of view of social well-being it is important that cultural cities maintain their unique character. From the perspective of economic well-being, which impinges directly on residents and local businesses, there is a need for cultural cities to maintain their character not only for socio-cultural reasons, but because declining quality of the environment is linked to a decline in tourist demand and therefore a reduction in income (economic benefit). In this way the need for sustainable development in the built environment and city’s ability to attract tourists are inextricably linked.


6.2 Carrying capacity The concept of carrying capacity is a technique used to establish an acceptable limit to the number of users, at a site or destination level. A definition of carrying capacity as ‘the maximum number of people who can use a site [or area] without an unacceptable alteration in the physical environment and without an unacceptable decline in the quality of the experience gained by visitors’ is offered [17]. Carrying capacity analysis is a basic technique being widely applied in tourism and recreation planning to systematically determine the upper limits of development and visitor use, and the optimum utilisation of tourism resources [7]. Carrying capacity is difficult to calculate as it depends upon the underlying assumptions made. It is generally developed from destinations which are becoming concerned with their capacity levels which use carrying capacity measures. It is suggested that it is easier to calculate capacity measures for specific developments or areas rather than at a national level. There are four main types of carrying capacities: • Physical capacity: the maximum level of tourist use, in terms of numbers and activities that can be sustained for the purposes for which the resource in questions was designed. • Ecological/environmental capacity: the maximum level of tourist use, in terms of numbers and activities, that can be sustained before an unacceptable decline in ecological/environmental values take place. • Economic capacity: the maximum level of tourist use, in terms of numbers and activities, that can be sustained before an unacceptable level is reached. • Perceptual capacity: the maximum level of tourist use, in terms of numbers and activities, above which an unacceptable decline in the recreation experience take place from the point of view of the tourist themselves. The problems experienced with operationalising the capacity concept lie in the calculation of the carrying capacity. For individual sites, capacity measures are difficult to establish. It is possible that any one type of capacity may produce more than one measure, e.g. in relation to perceptual capacity a large number of measures are possible since different users have different views of the perceptual capacity. It is likely that for each type of capacity there will be different upper use limits. In a recent study [18] it was found that tourism carrying capacity is influenced by the tourists characteristics, destination area characteristics and local population characteristics. Tourists are not a uniform mass and tourist destinations are equally complex and tourism carrying capacity must reflect these factors.


7 CONCLUSION Carrying capacity is a notion which recognises that both natural and man-made attractions have upper limits in their capacity to absorb visitors, above which a deterioration of the resource itself takes place. This is a simple concept, but the application is complex because of the problems in measuring changes. Establishing tourism carrying capacities is based on the concept of maintaining a level of development and use that will not result in serious environmental deterioration, socio-cultural or economic problems, or be perceived by tourists as depreciating their enjoyment and appreciation of the area. Any development engenders some changes and carrying capacity analysis typically is based on not exceeding the levels of acceptability. Many tourism areas in the world show evidence of having exceeded their carrying capacities and this has resulted in environmental, social and sometimes economic problems, with a decrease in visitor satisfaction and consequent marketing problems. In practice, determining carrying capacities is often not simple or precise. It depends considerably on the assumptions that are made. Carrying capacities may also change through time. However, it remains a very useful technique in guiding planning for a sustainable level of development. It is often developed destinations which are experiencing some problems of overdevelopment, which have become concerned about their capacity levels. Carrying capacities can best be calculated for specific development regions or areas based on environmental and socio-economic analysis. The progress towards addressing the issues relating to sustainability is often impeded by the debate surrounding its definition. However, for the purposes of this paper the International Union for the conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) definition proposed in 1991 states that sustainability relates to the improvement of the quality of life within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems. As the construction industry relates to the improvement of the quality of life and tourism is associated with carrying capacity it is a reasonable working definition when considering the impacts of tourism on the built environment. Finally, the increase in awareness of sustainability has led to a need for the benefits derived from tourism development to be balanced against the negative impacts of tourism on the built environment. These factors must be fully assessed if sustainability is to be achieved. Tourism activity requires production from a diverse range of industries and the environmental impact associated from this output must also be included in the evaluation process. In particular as tourism activity increases there is a propensity for more hotels and other types of structure being produced by the construction industry and this major impact on the built environment must also be included as part of the analysis framework. Techniques of impact assessment in these areas need to be developed as there are generally no accepted models for analysis.


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Pearce, D.G. (1989) Tourist Development, Longman, Harlow and Wiley, New York Ashworth, G.J. (1992) Is there an urban tourism?, Tourism Recreation Research, 17 (2):3–8 United Nations (1963) U.N. Conference on Travel and Tourism, U.N., Rome Mathieson, A., and Wall, G. (1982) Tourism: Economic, Physical and Social Impacts, London: Longman Shaw, G. and Williams, A. (1994) Critical Issues in Tourism: A Geographical Perspective, Oxford: Blackwell Page, S. (1995) Urban Tourism, Routledge, London WTO (1994) National and Regional Tourism Planning, Routledge, London OECD (1994) Tourism Policy and International Tourism in OECD Member Countries, OECD, Paris The Tourism Society (1993) Tourism Statistics Seminar: Methodologies and Statistics:Volume 2 Scottish Tourist Board. Ashworth, G.J. and Tunbridge, J. (1990) The Tourist-Historic City, Bellhaven, London Akehurst, G. Bland, N. and Nevin, M. (1994) Successful tourism policies in the European Union, Journal of Vacation Marketing 1, 1; 11–27 WTO (1994) World Travel and Tourism Statistics, WTO, Madrid Archer, B.H. (1982) ‘The Value of Multipliers and Their Policy Implications’ Tourism Management 3(2):236–41 Fletcher, J.E. and Archer, B.H. (1991) ‘The Development and Application of Multiplier Analysis’ in Cooper, C.P. (ed) Progress in Tourism Recreation and Hospitality Management Vol. 3, Bellhaven, London Smith, V.L. (ed) (1989) Hosts and Guests: The Anthropology of Tourism, University of Pennsylavannia Press, 2nd Edition Department of the Environment (1990) Tourism and the Inner City: An Evaluation of the Impact of Grant Assisted Projects, HMSO, London Cooper, C. Fletcher, J. et al. (1993) Tourism Principles and Practice, Pitman, London Commission of the European Community (1994) ‘Approaches to carrying capacity and visitor management in areas of cultural heritage in Europe’ (executive summary of report to Tourism Unit, DGXXXIII), in Tourism Management 15:5 p388

The economic and social value of the conservation of historic buildings and areas: economics of conservation C.Brooks, P.Cheshire, A.Evans and M.Stabler Department of Economics, Faculty of Urban and Regional Studies, The University of Reading, Reading RG6 2AW, UK

ABSTRACT The paper discusses the two meanings of conservation, ‘passive’ or ‘static’ meaning conserved unchanged, ‘active’ or ‘dynamic’ meaning leading to positive change. The planning instruments available in Britain for conservation purposes are discussed. Methods of attributing a social and economic valuation to a conservable building are reviewed. A theory explaining the way in which conservation might lead to urban regeneration is set out. Finally the paper sets out a research agenda. Keywords: Conservation, historic buildings, cost benefit analysis. 1 INTRODUCTION In October 1994 the University of Reading was commissioned by English Heritage, the Department of National Heritage and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors to carry out a survey of the literature relating to the economic and social valuation of historic buildings. This work was to be carried out jointly with the firm of chartered surveyors DTZ Debenham Thorpe. The allocation of responsibility in the work was that the University would look at the academic literature whilst Debenham Thorpe would survey material on the operation of the property market. As work went on we realised that this obvious allocation of responsibilities actually represented something more fundamental, a difference between two meanings of the term conservation. The term conservation is used by many people in a somewhat ambiguous way and they tend to switch between two meanings. We have come to call them the passive or static and the active or dynamic uses of the term. The passive use of the term ‘conservation’ is that historic buildings and areas should be maintained for future generations, that they should not be allowed to be changed in a way which would reduce their cultural or historic or architectural value. The active use of the term ‘conservation’ refers to the physical improvement of buildings or areas in order to better conserve them. This latter meaning of conservation


obviously implies some expenditure of money, whether private or public. This meaning we have come to call the active or dynamic, because conservation in this sense is promoting change whilst in the first sense it is maintaining, so far as possible, the status quo. Therefore, in the division of labour, as far as the research is concerned, between the University of Reading and DTZ Debenham Thorpe, it came about that the University was concerned with the value of conservation in the first sense, what is the value to society of a historic building or a building with architectural merit, whilst DTZ Debenham Thorpe became concerned with conservation in the second sense, the way in which the conservation of a building or an area can result in its regeneration, the way in which conservation can be an active ingredient in promoting improvement of an area, certainly in the physical sense, possibly in an economic sense. The boundary between the work of the two groups of researchers was not, of course, completely determined, however, and work was carried out by each group relevant to the passive or active uses of the term conservation. In this paper we will primarily consider the passive use of the term conservation and summarise the work of the University of Reading in surveying the literature as far as concerned with the valuation of historic buildings and areas. In the last part of the paper, however, we will suggest an economic analysis of the active use, that is the process of conservation and regeneration and the way in which the conservation of historic buildings could lead to the regeneration of an area. 2 CONSERVATION AND THE MARKET Adam Smith’s remarks regarding the way in which, in a market economy, there is a hidden hand causing individuals’ actions to lead to maximum efficiency are well known. Less well known has been the work of numerous, less famous, economists in the ensuing two hundred years to specify carefully the conditions under which Smith’s argument holds, and the conditions under which it does not. Some were known to, and remarked on, by Smith himself; for example, the dangers of monopolies and industrial cartels. Some have become clearer over the years. In the context of the value of urban conservation, the important point is this. A market will only work efficiently to maximise welfare if the price paid for a good is an accurate representation of the value of the good to society. This would certainly be true in situations where the good being purchased is to be wholly owned by, and consumed by, a person who is the sole beneficiary of its particular attributes. Of course in many cases purchase and consumption is organised within a group, the clearest and most frequent example of this being the family, and the purchase of items for family consumption. A subscription to cable television, for example, presumes that the total value of the good to all members of the family


together is equal to the price paid. Once again, in these circumstances, the market economy works to achieve maximum efficiency. However, it has to be recognised that there may be things which have to be consumed by groups for which there is no voluntary mechanism, such as a family, to ensure that the price equal to the collective valuation is paid. In these circumstances, in theory, to maximise efficiency, the price paid for the good should be equal to the total estimate of its value by all those affected by its consumption. Of course in most cases the effects for those other than the owner may be minimal and can safely be ignored. For example, the flowers in a household’s front garden may give pleasure to passers-by, but it is unlikely that any contribution that they might make to the household growing the flowers would alter, other than marginally, what was grown. The price they would pay for the pleasure they enjoyed would simply not be big enough. In other cases these ‘external’ effects may be deliberately minimised—for example, a person’s record player may voluntarily be played at a level which does not disturb other people (and, if it is not, sanctions of one kind or another may be imposed to ensure that it is). Nevertheless, in some circumstances these external effects may be important, and if they are ignored, markets left to operate without any form of policy intervention will not achieve the level of efficiency which Smith perceived. Economists have long referred to this problem by the technical term of market failure. This is particularly so in the case of land and buildings. Those who pass by a house or through an area cannot be made blind to its attractiveness (or ugliness) nor—entirely—to its historical associations. Architecture, by its nature, cannot be made into an art form which is only for private consumption, like painting or music. It must affect the welfare of those other than the owner. Sometimes this effect is deliberate; a building may be designed to make a statement about the character of the owner—Buckingham Palace, for example, or Versailles—or, in the case of churches such as York Minster or St Peter’s, Rome, the implied owner. Sometimes, however, the effect is almost accidental, as in the case of almost any Cotswold village, Castle Combe for example, and the value of the buildings to those who do not own the buildings is unintended by the owners, but still substantial. In these circumstances the market price, for maximum welfare—for Adam Smith’s invisible hand to work efficiently—should, as has already been indicated, be equal to the sum of the value put on the existence of the building or buildings by all those who have any interest (including, of course, the owner and/ or occupier). The problem is that the value attached by those other than the owner or occupier may be substantial and so cannot be neglected as being insignificant. Of course others with an interest are both many and difficult to identify, but sometimes institutions can participate in the market on their behalf. The most important of these in the private sector in Britain is the National Trust, which seeks through voluntary effort and financing, to buy or own and preserve buildings on behalf of all those who have an interest, both now or in the future.


In most circumstances, however, the market participation of institutions such as the National Trust is difficult or unlikely, both because its resources are not great enough and because the value of the building to those other than the owner, although significant, is not of national importance. In these circumstances various facets of the town planning system can be used to try to ensure that the actions of the owner do not reduce the welfare of others. Town planning controls may be used to preserve what are regarded as buildings and areas of aesthetic importance, whose use or alteration would significantly affect others, sometimes neighbours, sometimes those not resident in the area. In this way the valuations put on the continued use and maintenance of a particular area or building by these others may be taken into account in determining its form of existence. 3 PLANNING INSTRUMENTS 3.1 Listing and designation The instruments available in Britain for the conservation of areas are of different types. The first of these is the process of ‘listing’ buildings. Buildings can be listed as of architectural or historic merit and they can be graded as Grade 1 or Grade 2. This is done at a national level, and this listing means that planning permission has to be obtained to alter the building in any way, in particular to demolish it. It may also be that in some areas local authorities may carry out what is called ‘local listing’. This has no national implication but it indicates that the building is regarded as worth preserving by the local authority and that planning permission for changes in it are unlikely to be granted without extremely careful consideration. The effect of listing is, of course, to impose a constraint on the behaviour of the owners of the building. One would expect that this would result in a reduction in the value of the building and certainly the evidence would appear to bear this out. Of course, in some circumstances the fact that a building is listed may, however, be regarded as a positive merit by the owner, like the ownership of a valuable painting and so this labelling may possibly also increase value. But, certainly in economic terms, one would expect the constraint to reduce the value of the building, and the evidence, particularly with respect to commercial buildings, is that this is what happens. The other main planning instrument that is available in Britain is the designation of areas as conservation areas. This means that a whole group of buildings is regarded as worthy of, if not preservation, conservation. Once again, permission has to be obtained for demolition as well as permission to construct whatever may be planned on the site by the developer. Permission may also have to be obtained for changes in detailing on the buildings, depending upon the


nature of the designation of the conservation area. Some areas are so called ‘Article 4’ conservation areas in which, say, window frames or other details may not be changed without obtaining planning permission. Once again, one would expect that this constraint on the ability of the owner to change, alter, or extend a building, would reduce the value of the building, but of course one would also expect that the designation of a conservation area may have a positive effect on the value of the buildings in it because, whilst designation constrains the ability of the owner of one building to change that building, it also imposes a constraint on the ability of all the other owners to change their buildings. Thus if a person buying a building in a conservation area is buying not only the building, but the environment, designation of a conservation area ensures that that environment is less likely to be changed. It follows that designation as a conservation area makes the investment—the higher price that has to be paid for a building in the area—somewhat more secure. There is less risk of the environment changing, and hence the value of the buildings in the area are likely to be increased by this increased security. Whether the prices of buildings increase or decrease, whether the negative or positive effects dominate, is of course something which will vary from area to area. The third instrument which is available is the expenditure on conservation. This may be expenditure by private individuals or firms on property to maintain it or improve it but it may also be expenditure which comes from the public purse to maintain or improve buildings. There may be grants available, in some cases, for the improvement or maintenance of buildings. If, for example, a listed building requires a particular type of gutter which is no longer made, and which will be extremely expensive to replace, then a grant may be obtained to assist in its replacement. There are also some tax benefits available to the owners of listed buildings. Expenditure on maintenance may be relieved of liability for VAT, so the cost of maintenance is reduced to that extent. Of course, this is not a benefit to a commercial firm since it can set off VAT on purchases against VAT which would otherwise have to be paid in respect of sales. And there may, of course, be public expenditure on improvements resulting from policy decisions that certain areas should be improved and promoted. The expenditure in the London Docklands is of this character, although most of that area was not, of course, a conservation area. The effect of expenditure on conservation should be positive. Expenditure should increase the value of buildings and of course the effect of expenditure on one or two buildings in an area should have spillover effects in increasing the value of other buildings in the area. These are the architectural externalities that we have mentioned before.


3.2 Areal differences The effects of these planning instruments on the value of buildings in an area are likely to differ with respect to the character of the area and the nature of buildings in the area. In a residential conservation area, for example, one would expect that generally the designation of an area as a conservation area would increase the value of the buildings. The constraint on the behaviour of the owners can be regarded as having a minimal effect whilst the increased security of the investment in the property which is represented by the value of the surrounding area is enhanced. Indeed we often see instances where the residents of an area have promoted the designation of their area as a conservation area. Most residents clearly favour designation. Of course this does not mean that all owners will find that their properties will increase in value. In an area such as the area in which one of the authors lives, which is a relatively low density residential area recently designated as a conservation area, some owners will find that the value of their property is enhanced. Perhaps it could not be extended or increased in size and such an increase in size would be regarded as reducing the greenness of the area and so would be likely to be opposed anyway. Others, on the other hand, with large areas of land surrounding their houses on which additional houses could have been built, will find that quite possibly the value of their property will have been reduced by designation as a conservation area because they can now no longer expect, with confidence, that they could obtain permission for an extension to their house or for new houses to be built on the land which they own. With respect to commercial areas, designation as a conservation area, or listing of buildings, is unlikely to increase the value of the properties in the area. There seems in general no reason why the increase in the certainty that the surrounding area will not change its character should result in an increase in the value of commercial properties, whilst the reduction in the ability to alter a property due to its designation, is likely to have a negative effect. Of course, there will be some types of use where designation may have a positive effect. For example some retail trades, in say, a residential conservation area—the tea shops or hotels in a Cotswold village or town for example—these will benefit from the fact that their surroundings are unlikely to change. This is because they are catering to tourists who are visiting the village or town in order to see the surrounding area. Another case which springs to mind is that of architects who frequently are to be found in British cities at least, located in the small areas just outside the centre of town which have some architectural merit and which are therefore likely to be listed or designated as conservation areas. This presumably arises from the architects’ views that they gain some merit from their choice of location. So far as industrial buildings are concerned it seems unlikely that in general the designation of a conservation area will increase the value of an industrial building. In this case the constraint on the owner’s ability to change the character


of the building is likely to be the most noticeable effect. One of the more notorious events in British planning history in recent years has been the demolition, the day before it was due to be listed, of an Art Deco factory to the west of London. It was deliberately demolished before it was listed in order to ensure that it did not have to be preserved, in effect at the expense of the owner. Of course once again there may be instances where industrial buildings will attract people. There are some locations in older industrial areas where craft workshops have been grouped together in an environment which has some architectural merit, and so the environment appears to be seen by these groups as having merit and being of some advantage to them. 4 VALUING THE URBAN ENVIRONMENT 4.1 Methods of evaluation A number of approaches have been suggested for, in some way, ensuring that the best choices are made in making decisions in the public domain, where pure financial considerations are little help because no charges may be levied, and no profits made, but the benefits which accrue to one group of people outweigh the costs which may often be borne by a somewhat different group. From an economic viewpoint, these benefits and these costs can, in principle, be valued, and in later sections ways will be indicated in which this may be done. There are, however, problems with this approach if it is intended to be useful as a tool to guide the decision making process, before the event, as to the best of the alternatives available. In the first place, the cost of finding the right prices and of then evaluating each alternative will usually be too great to make the process feasible. In the second place a project which imposes costs on one group and awards benefits to another has redistributional effects which may be politically unacceptable. For both these reasons methods other than cost-benefit analysis have been refined in order to provide cheaper, more useful, alternatives. The closest to cost benefit analysis is the planning balance sheet analysis (PBSA). Lichfield [20] further develops this approach, originally put forward in 1956 [21], into a Community Impact Analysis (CIA) or Community Impact Evaluation (CIE). The PBSA was explicitly devised to overcome the fact that many social costs and benefits are not easily measured in money terms, so that the results of any social cost benefit analysis was, and is, always liable to objections that some costs or benefits are incorrectly valued. Thus the approach stopped short of assigning values to many costs or benefits, simply indicating where they should be placed on the balance sheet, either as assets or liabilities. CIA further indicates which sections of the community are likely to gain or lose from a planning, or, in this


case conservation, decision, so taking the distributional effects into account as well as what might be called the efficiency effects. Another type of approach is the multicriteria analysis developed by Nijkamp and others (Nijkamp [27], [28]; Paelinck [30]; Voogd [37]). Here the various alternatives are ranked according to criteria thought to be relevant and the ‘best’ chosen through calculating the extent to which it outranks others on average. The problem, as Buckley [3] points out in an exchange with Voogd [37] is that unless the best alternative outweighs the others on all criteria, a weight, explicit or implicit, is being attributed to the relative attainment of each criterion of each alternative, and this weighting is, to some extent, subjective. An even more mathematical approach to decision making between alternatives in the absence of full information is the analytic hierarchy process developed by Saaty [34], see Zahedi [43], and which has been suggested for the evaluation of alternative approaches to conservation and restoration by Lombardi and Sirchia [23] and Roscelli and Zorzi [32] in Italy. But this too is designed to formalise the process of choosing between alternatives, in the absence of full information. In the research reported here, we were asked to report on what was known as to the value of conservation. The question at issue is not what is probably the best thing to do in the circumstances, but what is known, and this implies an attempt to answer the question, after a policy has been carried out, as to what was the value of its effects. In these circumstances, since the desire is to reach generalisable conclusions, it seemed necessary to take a CBA approach. This has the powerful attractions that it is at least broadly grounded in economic theory and, perhaps even more crucial, it resolves the weighting problem in an objective way. Ultimately the importance (or weight) attached to specific outcomes in the above approaches may be to some extent subjective. By expressing outcomes in money terms and attempting to estimate those values directly or indirectly from the observed behaviour or stated preferences of people, CBA derives weights in a systematic way. It is also a technique which makes it much easier to avoid double counting (i.e. counting the same outcome more than once). It continues to be the favoured framework of analysis as demonstrated by, for example, Greffe [13], and it would seem to be the most appropriate in the present context. Urban conservation involves both costs and benefits. The remit of this study is to analyse ways in which the benefits can be evaluated but it is, nevertheless, appropriate at least to summarise the main elements of cost. These fall into two main categories: direct costs and indirect costs. Most cost is almost certainly direct. The incidence of these is in both the private and public sector. Individual property owners (including non-public agencies such as the National Trust) undertake expenditures and, as a result of listing or other regulations, have additional costs imposed on them. Furthermore, public funds are used directly in conservation of historic buildings and the administration of conservation consumes real resources. There are also indirect costs of conservation: most obviously the foregone values of redevelopment. The concern here, however, is with the benefits of conservation and, in a CBA framework, it is easy to


understand why, as has already been argued, the benefits are to a very significant extent indirect and so not (adequately) reflected in market prices. It is on the benefits that the discussion now focuses. The general problem of how to place a monetary valuation on ‘nontraded’ goods, i.e. those which are not bought and sold in the market place, but from which consumers nonetheless derive positive benefits, has been addressed at length in the literature relating to the natural environment. There are numerous articles addressing the issue of how to value environmental quality or the amount that consumers would be willing to pay to preserve a forest or canal. There is, however, surprisingly little evidence relating to the appraisal of the benefits which consumers derive from the preservation of historic buildings, and much of that which does exist is purely anecdotal and not economically rigorous (see, for example, Owen and Hendon [29]). The aim of this section is to outline the main methods which have been developed to place a value on environmental attributes, and which could be applied to the valuation of our built heritage. These methods are hedonic pricing, travel cost, contingent valuation and production function. In addition some reference is made to more qualitative approaches, such as the Delphi technique. They can be classified according to whether they seek to place a value on the good or attribute directly, by asking respondents their willingness to pay for an improvement or their willingness to accept a degradation, or indirectly, by using prices from a related market which does exist. Contingent valuation is an example of the former, while hedonic pricing, travel cost and production function approaches are all examples of the latter. Each will be outlined below, together with examples of applications and actual valuations where appropriate. 4.2 The hedonic pricing method 4.2.1 Introduction The hedonic pricing methodology (HPM) was developed by Rosen [33], based on earlier consumer theory work of Lancaster [19]. It aims to determine the relationship between the attributes of a good and its price, and is arguably the most theoretically rigorous of the valuation methods. It is strongly rooted in microeconomic consumer theory, and takes as its starting point that any differentiated product unit can be viewed as a bundle of characteristics, each with their own implicit or shadow price. For example, in the case of housing, the characteristics may be structural, such as the number of bedrooms, size of plot, presence or absence of a garage, or of an environmental benefit, for instance air quality, the presence of views, noise levels, crime rate, proximity to shops or schools. Accordingly the difference between two houses, identical in every


respect except that one has double glazing, should accurately reflect consumers’ valuation of the double glazing. Likewise in the context of the listing of historic buildings, or the designation of conservation areas, it is possible to attribute the impact of such listing or designation for properties by observing the difference in value between two identical buildings, one of which is in a conservation area, and the other of which is not. Thus the price of a given property can be viewed as the sum of the shadow prices of its characteristics. 4.2.2 Applications A large number of similar hedonic studies considering the effect of environmental and neighbourhood variables on house prices have been undertaken in recent years. With the exception of that by Hough and Kratz [18] there have, however, been very few papers concerned with commercial buildings. Typically, these applications test the effect of proximity to, for example, a forest or Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) on local house prices. Garrod and Willis [10] use hedonic pricing to explore the impact of various types of forest in the vicinity on house prices. They find that the presence of forestry may have a large positive impact. A similar result is observed in the case of location near waterways (Willis and Garrod [40]). Garrod and Willis [11] use hedonic pricing to determine the effect of countryside characteristics on surrounding properties. They observe that the presence of a canal or river raises the value of a property by an average of 4.9%, while the proximity of at least 20% woodland cover raises it by 7.1% above that of an identical property without these features. Maani and Kask [25] and Pennington et al. [31] estimate house purchasers’ willingness to pay (WTP) to avoid being close to a high pressure gas pipeline and an aircraft flight path respectively, as reflected in the additional expenditure they are willing to make on a comparable property outside the area. Both find only small WTP to avoid proximity to a negative environmental attribute. Cheshire and Sheppard [4] use locational as well as structural characteristics in a hedonic price regression study of the price of housing in Reading and Darlington, which allows for the estimation of how the value of location-specific attributes are capitalised into land prices if they are not included as independent variables. Amongst the variables included are local amenities provided through the land use planning system. There also exists a significant body of research into the impact of architectural style and historic zone designation on property valuation. Asabere et al. [1], for example, show that architectural style has a strong impact on residential property valuation in their sample of 500 properties sold in Newport, Mass., USA, between 1983 and 1985, with older styles of architecture commanding significant premiums. Certain types of architecture were particularly valued (e.g. Victorian (20% premium), Garrison (21% premium), Federal (20% premium)). A similar result is found by Moorhouse and Smith [26], in their study of 19th


century terraced houses in Boston, who also find that individuality of any style commands a higher price. Hough and Kratz [18] argue that architecture has certain public good characteristics which may be undervalued in the market. Based on a study of office rents they find that tenants are prepared to pay a premium for new buildings with high values of architectural quality but not for old buildings of comparable architectural stature. Ford [8] evaluates the effect of Historic District designation on the prices of properties sold in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, between 1980 and 1985. Designation is found to have a positive but insignificant impact. This result is corroborated by Asabere et al. [1] and also by Shaeffer and Millerick [35] in their study of the prices of 252 properties prior to and after designation in Chicago. 4.3 The travel cost method 4.3.1 Introduction The travel cost method (TCM) was developed by Clawson and Knetsch [5]. The method is based on the premise that the cost of travel to recreational sites can be used as a measure of visitors’ willingness to pay and thus their valuation of those sites. The real costs of travelling to a site are taken as a proxy for the price of the product. Thus, even if visitors do not pay to use a site, they may have incurred expenditure either implicitly or explicitly in travelling to it, which could be used as a measure of (or at least as a lower bound to) their valuation of that site. Time can be perceived as an implicit cost while explicit costs are petrol or public transport fares. Whether on-site and travelling time should be incorporated into the estimate of total cost is a point of debate in the literature. For sites to which the majority of visitors walk, valuing the time they take is the only measure which can feasibly be used (Harrison and Stabler [17]). This might suggest that on-site time should be the true focus of the debate. If it is decided to include on-site or travelling time, it may be difficult to assign a value to it. The opportunity cost in terms of foregone earnings or leisure time which could have been spent doing something else might be taken. 4.3.2 Applications The volume of studies employing the travel cost method is considerably smaller than that for other two main valuation methods, and almost exclusively consists of the estimation of consumer surplus for visits to, mainly rural, recreational sites such as forests or canals. These applications can be categorised according to


whether they use an individual, zonal, or hedonic formulation of the travel cost model, or a combination of all three. Englin and Mendelsohn [7] for example, estimate the value of alterations in the quality of forest sites using a hedonic travel cost model. They find that certain site attributes, such as “dirt tracks” and alpine fir trees have certain saturation levels, below which they are an economic good, but above which they are a bad. Hanley and Ruffel [16] use the travel cost method to evaluate consumer surplus across different types of forestry, each with different physical characteristics. The study shows a strong relationship between visits per year and the mean height of trees, reason for visit, length of stay and importance of visit. Most forest characteristics were insignificant in the regression, and this was attributed to poor measurement. Willis and Garrod [41] compare estimates of consumer surplus for visits to various forest sites using both ITCM and ZTCM. They find that the individual method results in considerably smaller consumer surplus estimates as do Garrod and Willis [11]. In a study of the Lancaster and Montgomery Canals (Willis, Garrod and Dobbs [42]) and another of four botanic gardens (Garrod, Pickering and Willis [9]) find that consumer surplus valuations are estimated to be significantly lower than the financial operating loss. In the latter application, the average actual valuations of the botanic gardens per trip were found to vary between £1.03 and £11.39 for the four gardens studied. Applications to the valuation of the quality of fishing (Smith et al. [36]) and deer-hunting sites (Loomis et al. [24]), have also been considered. 4.4 The contingent valuation method 4.4.1 Introduction In contrast with hedonic pricing and the travel cost method, which are indirect methods of eliciting valuations from consumers by considering their revealed consumption in related markets which exist, the contingent valuation method (CVM) directly questions consumers on their stated willingness to pay (WTP) for, say, an environmental improvement or their willingness to accept (WTA) compensation for a fall in the quality of the environment. Since respondents are questioned directly, it is possible to ask them whether they would be willing to pay, for example, to preserve a recreational site or even a tropical rain forest of which they are not users. Thus an advantage of the method over others is that it is possible to obtain, at least in principle, option and existence valuations as well as user values.


4.4.2 Applications A rapid growth in the number of applications of some form of CVM has taken place in the last decade or so. This may be partly attributed to the potential ability of the method to value option and existence values. The option value of various Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) was found to be between 10% and 20% of the total site valuation (Willis [38]). Bateman, Willis and Garrod [2] establish that visitors are willing to pay an average of £22.12 and residents £26. 03 per person per year to preserve the existing landscape. In the same study, they also find that consumers are willing to pay an average of approximately £80 per person per year to preserve the Norfolk Broads. Lockwood et al. [22] use a CVM survey in order to assess WTP to preserve national parks in Victoria, Australia. They use a dichotomous choice approach and estimate the probability of being prepared to pay according to various explanatory variables using a logit regression model. The survey highlighted the relative importance of existence and bequest values, which constituted 35% and 36% of the total valuation respectively. The sample WTP estimate is aggregated to the whole population, adjusting for differences in socio-economic characteristics between the sample average and population to yield a valuation for the whole population of Victoria of $14m. Non-use value is found to be over three times that of usage value in a survey of the Somerset levels and moors Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) scheme (Garrod, Willis and Saunders [12]). Other related areas of application of contingent valuation have included a ban on the burning of straw (Hanley [14]), the benefits of canals (Willis and Garrod [40]), and forestry characteristics (Hanley and Ruffel [16] and [15]). In the last study, visitors are found to be willing to pay an average of £0.93 per person per visit in the form of an entrance fee. In a paper most closely related to the present study, Willis, Beale, Calder and Freer [39] assess the usefulness of the CVM for estimating willingness to pay to gain access to Durham Cathedral. They consider CVM to be a “constant, robust and efficient estimator of WTP”, which at approximately £0.80 per person per visit is found to be almost twice the average contribution paid, although non-use value was not measured since only those actually visiting the cathedral were questioned. The aggregate valuation of the cathedral is around £388, 125 per year. 4.5 Conclusions Although together HPM, TCM and CVM account for the vast majority of practical applications, other methods of valuation do exist—production function methods, dose response functions, avoided cost methods, and the Delphi


technique—they are of less relevance to the question at issue than the three main methods discussed above. These three methods have their strengths and their weaknesses, however. Hedonic pricing embodies the values that consumers place on environmental attributes only in so far as they are capitalised into property prices. Thus the technique is not suitable for the consideration of option, existence or bequest values, nor does it incorporate valuations by visitors. 5 THE DYNAMICS OF CONSERVATION: CONSERVATION AND REGENERATION As we said at the beginning of this paper, one of the things that we found in carrying out this research, was that the term “conservation” tended to be used in two different ways. There was the use of the term in a static or passive sense— conservation involved the preservation of existing buildings or areas for future generations, maintaining them and, if possible, enhancing them for future ages. But there was also the use of the term conservation in a dynamic or active sense implying that conservation itself generated an environmental improvement. Conservation would certainly result in the physical improvement of the area which was being conserved but might result, not only in the improvement of the buildings which were being conserved, but also in the regeneration of the surrounding area. Now there is much anecdotal evidence but very little concrete evidence as to whether the conservation of buildings can indeed result in the regeneration of an area. In the course of our studies we came upon numerous examples in the literature with respect to British cities, German cities, French cities, Italian cities, etcetera, all discussing the way in which areas had been regenerated and the way in which this was caused by the “conservation” of part of an area. But this evidence was anecdotal. There was no concrete evidence either that conservation was a necessary, or that it was a sufficient, condition for regeneration or a demonstration of the way in which conservation would result in regeneration. Indeed it is obvious that conservation cannot be either a sufficient condition for regeneration because it is known there are areas where conservation has occurred and the area has not been regenerated, nor can it be a necessary condition because areas have been regenerated without any conservation measures. So the anecdotal evidence simply indicates that there may be an association between conservation and regeneration. We have noted, of course, that there may be positive and negative effects of the designation of buildings or areas as worthy of conservation. The negative effects occur because the owners of buildings cannot alter them or are less likely to be able to alter them in ways that they might want to in order to make them more profitable. The positive effects occur because the surrounding area is now


likely to be preserved and so to the extent that the owner of the building is investing in the environment then this investment is more secure. But we noted that not only are there these positive and negative effects of designation but there are, in addition, the positive effects of any expenditure that occurs and it would appear to us that much of the discussion relating conservation to regeneration in fact relates to the positive effects of expenditure in improving and refurbishing buildings in order to enhance them and the possible spillover effects affecting the surrounding area. 6 A THEORY OF REGENERATION It seemed to us that one could suggest a theoretical explanation for the way in which expenditure on conservation could result in the regeneration of urban areas. And for this we start with a theory which has been used to analyse the decline of particular urban areas, in particular the creation of areas of slum housing. This theoretical explanation was due to two American economists, Davis and Whinston [6]. They put forward an explanation for the fact that housing areas may go into decline and never seem to recover from this decline. (It should be noted that they were writing just before the gentrification of areas began to occur in the nineteen sixties.) Their theory is based on the game theory model of the prisoner’s dilemma. The argument was that the owner of any housing in a declining urban area never found it worthwhile spending money on improving the building because the rents obtainable for dwellings in the building were largely determined and held down by the state of the surrounding area. As a result, if the individual owner of a house spent money on improving that house he would not get an adequate return on his expenditure because the rent obtainable would not increase in line with this expenditure. On the other hand, Davis and Whinston argued, if a number of landlords got together and jointly improved their housing then, because the whole area would be improved, then rents would be able to be increased in line with the expenditure which had taken place. But of course landlords didn’t get together in this way and the result was that neighbourhoods went into decline and there was no way of getting them out of this situation, unless governments intervened to enforce collective action by carrying out urban renewal or slum clearance schemes. What we wish to suggest here is that we can turn round the Davis Whinston argument and state it in reverse. If a building is improved in some way—a building of some cultural merit or architectural merit—then the physical improvement of this building or buildings will result in an increase in the rents which may be obtainable for buildings in the surrounding area, and so this conservation may lead, through these spillover effects, to a regeneration of the surrounding area. Of course what has to happen is that the owners of this surrounding area find it worthwhile spending money on improving their buildings because they are able to obtain higher rents. We would suggest that a


necessary condition for this to be so is that the demand for the environment is in some sense income elastic—the wealthy are willing to pay more for a high quality environment than the poor, and areas that provide a high quality environment may be more attractive, other things being equal, to the wealthy than to the poor. What we would suggest, therefore, must occur for conservation to lead to regeneration is that the improvement in some building or buildings in an area, probably coupled with the fact that the area is designated as a conservation area, means that it becomes attractive to higher income groups who then can move into the area displacing the previous poorer residents. There is perceived to be some environmental merit in the area and designation as a conservation area indicates that if people invest in the area this investment will be more secure than it would have been without the assurance provided by the designation of it as a conservation area. The wealthy, or at least, the better off are likely to move into the area displacing the former residents, paying more for the buildings in the area, and, because they have more money to spend on the physical maintenance of their buildings, they will themselves improve the buildings into which they move. Of course this argument has been expressed in terms of the residential location of income groups which move into a residential area, but the same kind of changes could as well occur in a retail or commercial area as retailers catering to higher income groups find that the higher income groups are attracted to an area which has now become architecturally more attractive, a better environment to do shopping in, and so the kind of retailing activities in an area change. Anecdotal evidence for this is provided by the way pedestrianised streets change in character. There are certain conditions—indeed, it seems to us three conditions—for this theory to work. There has to be some perceived architectural quality to the buildings in the area so that the area becomes attractive to the middle classes, so that they are willing to move into the area. There has to be some possibility of gentrification for locational reasons, that is the area has to be an area which the middle class might move to because it is not too far from places of work, etc., and, thirdly, there has to be some expenditure on the improvement of some of the buildings in the area, whether this expenditure is from the public or from the private purse is immaterial. Certainly the impression is that this is what has happened in the process of regeneration through conservation. There are, of course, certain implications which are that the regeneration of an area may mean the displacement of the existing poorer residents as the wealthier residents move in and this raises the question as to whether from a social cost benefit point of view the net effect may be much smaller than the effect in the area in which the conservation occurs. If the poorer move into another area which then declines in architectural quality, then the net effect may be zero or even negative. It also implies that the process of regeneration actually is dependent upon the middle classes making more use of the area. It is an interpretation of regeneration which is not equitable, implying some income redistribution of welfare towards the middle classes.


7 A RESEARCH AGENDA One of the purposes of the research—the literature survey—which we were asked to carry out was to identify further research, and of course we can divide this further research into research into our static interpretation of conservation and our dynamic interpretation of conservation. A research agenda relating to the static use of the term is fairly simple to state. Relatively little research has actually been carried out into the value of urban conservation. A lot of work has been done on the natural environment, but relatively little on urban conservation. In particular whilst the contingent valuation method has been used to value the natural environment, it has been very little used to value the urban environment— indeed we can find very few examples and only one major study. We would suggest that there should be a number of studies using the contingent valuation method to provide some sort of social valuation of conservation areas or buildings which are thought to be worth preserving. Of course some of these studies will find that there is little value attributed to these areas or buildings by the general public, some will find that they are much valued. In the case of residential conservation areas there are one or two studies in the United States using house price methods to try and value conservation areas, historic districts as they are called there. We would suggest that in the United Kingdom, and maybe elsewhere, house price methods could be used to find out the value which people place on residential areas thought to be worthy of conservation. With respect to the dynamic usage of the term conservation we have a much longer research agenda because it seems to us that this is much less studied. The ways in which one might research the whole topic are much more difficult to state. In the first place we would suggest that there should be studies of successful and unsuccessful cases of conservation and regeneration. English Heritage in the United Kingdom is likely to monitor some areas where it is making grants for the sake of conservation, in other words to carry out these case studies. These studies both of successful and unsuccessful cases should provide some understanding of the economic impact of conservation initiatives in terms of changes in the environment, movement of the population, changes in the character of the economic activities in the conservation area—generally what happens in an area in which conservation, and hopefully regeneration, are going on. Thirdly, and this kind of study is not possible in England although it is possible in Scotland, it would be useful to study the changes in the prices of properties over time in areas where it is thought that successful conservation has been carried out. It is not possible in England because the property prices are not available to the general public, but in Scotland they are through the Register of Sasines. Fourthly, we need a framework to try and measure the net dynamic benefits. We indicated earlier that changes in areas that are being regenerated may be positive so far as that area is concerned, but they may be negative so far


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Environmental regeneration as a motor for development: the evaluation problem Almerico Realfonzo Dipartimento per la Conservazione dei Beni Architettonici e Ambientali, Scuola di Specializzazione in Restauro dei Monumenti, Università di Napoli “Federico II”, Naples, Italy

ABSTRACT Italian policies dealing with the environmental values and paradigms for development essentially refer to statements of those policies rather than to their outcomes. This is the case, for instance, in the latest Southern Italian policies considering the enhancement of environmental quality as a necessary condition for development. The hiatus between political theory and its practice, i.e. between ideological and conceptual apparatus and its application, represents a constant factor in the Italian scenario. There exists an antithesis between a very advanced theory, and a practice that it is constantly behind time because of administrative inadequacies, political immorality, bureaucratic inactivity. This antithesis is magnified by the historical tradition of misgovernment, e.g. in the Southern Italian situation, it comes from the historical contrast between intellectuals and misgovernment of institutions. This situation can be read also in environmental planning. In fact, the Southern planning policy of the Italian Government tries to hide mistakes, contradictions and administrative inefficiency under ideological cover-up, In the context of the Italian situation, therefore, the proposition that environmental regeneration is a motor for development is usually limited to a conceptual dimension of planning remaining a merely abstract principle, which does not influence the land management, nor the administrative routine procedures. Keywords: sustainable development, urban regeration, development, evaluation, sustainability, maladministration


1 INTRODUCTION This chapter aims to discuss the interaction between an enhancement of environmental quality and urban development in the Southern Italian situation, from a theoretical point of view. Southern Italy represents an extraordinary deposit of environmental values, arising from historical urban resources of archaeological, urban and architectonic evidence. The link between quality enhancement and development can play a fundamental role for the environmental regeneration of urban systems in Southern Italy if we consider the term environment as an organic set of natural, historical, anthropological, social and economic resources. It is necessary to refer to studies, dating back to the early eighties, which represent an advance on the previous decade in research of urban development in Italy. In particular, the study “La politica dei sistemi urbani del Mezzogiorno”[1] addresses many questions related to the present level of civil development in Southern Italy. It interprets the weakness of productive structure and the environmental deterioration as essentially urban problems. The chronic decline of Southern Italian cities is supposed to be caused by the historical outcasting of the context. It suggests a strategy for an extensive development of urban civilisation, based on both a reorganisation of the main urban centres, and an emancipation of the minor urban systems. This solution is clearly antagonistic to the one that proposes the role of the main urban areas as being prominent in the historical hierarchy of urban growth. According to the thesis of “urban systems”, the objective is to set up a suitable environment for development which provides incentives to the interest of firms in the market by means of the positive interactions between an equipped city infrastructure and productive locations. An important corollary of this proposition is the following: public intervention cannot be the only one which finances and produces social urban services, but it should also provide incentives, co-ordination and guarantees to private investors in that field. Further related studies, during the eighties, stress the “production based” approach to environmental regeneration. This is seen as a tool for economic development, because actions have to meet the social and economic needs of the town-planning level, in order to achieve economic advantage for productive investments. The most attractive consequence of this statement is that it radically changes previous land strategies which aimed to develop peripheral sites for industries and firms. However, it requires the setting up of three synergical, arduous, sectorial policies: • physical regeneration and performance enhancement for urban and natural resources;


• qualitative and quantitative improvement of services, both physical and not physical; • reorganisation of the urban economic basis, integrating productive systems, research and education. These are three arduous targets necessarily configured as long term strategies. An emblematic example of this way of planning can be seen in the preliminary Master Plan for Naples: a broader “Ecological Project” for the biggest metropolitan area in Southern Italy, one of largest in the country. 2 EFFECTS OF ENVIRONMENTAL REGENERATION In general terms, environmental balance has to be seen as a permanent “ethical rule” for development, that has been historically contradicted. Moreover the doctrine of so-called “sustainable development” is usually proposed as a transient moral and practical reaction to the environmental deterioration, on a world-wide level, caused by the strong development of industrialised countries. However a degeneration and other conformist tendencies of this doctrine need a critique. In particular, the following obsolete paradigm, either explicit or latent, should be rejected: the utopia that a “sustainable landscape” can be defined by itself. This is not meant to deny legitimacy to the systems of regulations, that can be helpful in controlling some of the effects of plans and projects, but to acknowledge supremacy to architecture and town-planning in shaping the landscape. In the context of an evaluation concerning large projects and plans for environmental regeneration, the high complexity of hermeneutic questions related to the nature of their intangible effects does not make suitable use of formalised techniques (e.g. “algorithmic”). Evidently, environmental regeneration yields relevant tangible effects (physical, functional, occupational, economic), as partially shown in Table 1. These can be measured and consistently handled by means of evaluation techniques. Extremely important are its intangible effects classifiable in the fields of: sensory perception (qualitative regeneration of urban and natural environment), aesthetics (recovery of the values of monuments and of historical city plots), social life (improved image and restoration of historical identity of communities, sense of membership of their individuals), public psychology (recreation of confidence, incitement to the sense of initiative in the local community, new or refreshed interest of the outside communities). They are all synergically concurrent to meet those requirements of civil order that the latest studies concerning Southern Italian problems consider distinctive in an environment suitable for development. The recognition and the “evaluation” of these effects and the strategic importance of determining them, are peculiarities of the hermeneutic circle historically introduced on large projects and plans, characterised, in the modern


approach, by the collective dimension of the analysis. The typical approaches of formalised techniques, on the contrary, apart from the use of hazardous expedients, appears to be unsuitable to handle consistently these effects. Table 1. Economic benefits to producers resulting from conservation activities (by beneficiary groups) [2] PRODUCERS BY GROUP: LOCAL, REGIONAL AND NATIONAL OWNERS OF LAND 9. Local Development Expenses 12. Land Value Spillovers LOCAL, REGIONAL AND NATIONAL PRODUCERS OF GOODS AND SERVICES 1. Tourism Prices Paid 9. Local Development Expenses 10. Local Tourism Impact 11. Net Incomes to Supply 14. Decreased Fire Costs 17. Reduced Energy Costs 18. Reduced Transport Costs 20. Stimulation of Private Investment 21. Business Formations 22. Lower Business Failures 23. Net Job Creation LOCAL CONSERVATION SITE OPERATORS 1. Tourism Prices Paid 2. Grants and Donations 3. Tax Levies 4. Passes 5. Memberships 6. Bequests 10. Local Tourism Impact 14. Decreased Fire Costs 17. Reduced Energy Costs 18. Reduced Transport Costs 23. Net Job Creation 24. Improved Aesthetics 26. Community Image 28. Educational Values 29. Heritage Values GOVERNMENTS: MUNICIPALITY, REGIONAL AND NATIONAL 13. Property Taxes and other Tax Revenues


2. 9. 10. 11. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 26. 28. 29.

Grants and Donations Local Development Expenses Local Tourism Impact Net Incomes to Supply Decreased Fire Costs Decreased Police Costs Other Crime Reductions Reduced Energy Costs Reduced Transport Costs Reduced Health Costs Stimulation of Private Investment Business Formation Lower Business Failures Net Job Creation Improved Aesthetics Community Image Educational Values Heritage Values


Ministere per gli interventi straordinari nel Mezzogiorno, (1983) La politico dei sistemi urbani del mezzogiorno. Lichfield, Hendon, Nijkamp, Realfonzo, Rostirolla (1992) Report on Cost Benefit Analysis for the Cultural Built Heritage, in Restauro, N. 122. pp 133.

Managing development at cultural heritage sites: conservation practice and sustainability D.R.Mason Centre for Conservation Studies, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK

ABSTRACT This paper will begin by defining cultural heritage in the built environment. It will go on to summarise the growth of sensitivity towards cultural heritage in post-war British Society within the context of changing political and economic trends, and will provide a description of the scope and framework of current conservation planning policy. The paper will consider the notion of conservation in its two aspects: as an expression of the need to identify with and preserve the outline of a developing cultural identity; and, as a corollary of this, the demand for sustainable economic growth, social focalization and sensitive environmental planning in and around sites of historic value. The paper will discuss the relationships between some of the principal parties involved in the protection of the built heritage and will look at the principles and problems of drafting an integrated policy, at national and local level, to deal with preservation without impeding change. Methods and criteria of quality assessment, and techniques for admitting and controlling such change in the context of a programme of sustainable resource management will be considered. Keywords: Conservation, conservation areas, cultural heritage, historic buildings, re-use.


1 CULTURAL HERITAGE IN BRITAIN 1.1 Heritage and the environment In Policy Appraisal and the Environment the UK Government published a checklist of the main indices which form part of the physical environment and which are to be taken into consideration in the planning process [1]. In addition to air and water quality, flora and fauna, landscape, and human health and wellbeing, one of these indices is cultural heritage, defined as conservation areas, built heritage, historic and archaeological sites. This paper will show the extent to which recent government guidelines on the effective management of the historic environment in fact imply, and even specifically state, the close correlation which exists between cultural heritage and sustainability in environmental planning, and, in particular, the way in which that relationship has been cultivated in planning for the conservation of cultural heritage. Cultural heritage is a wide ranging concept. Statutory legislation gives only a rough indication of the range of monuments, buildings, groups of buildings, gardens, open spaces and environments, moveable and immovable objects, historic records and museum collections which are encompassed in the term. In the present paper the focus will be on the built environment. Present legislation [2] provides, essentially, for the conservation of three types of structure: Listed Buildings, Conservation Areas, and Scheduled Ancient Monuments. There is a slightly different set of procedures for protecting historic churches, and Crown Buildings are technically exempt from conservation legislation, but in practice the Government has undertaken to act as if they were, and normal monitoring procedures apply. 1.2 Listed Buildings Listed Buildings are buildings which appear on the statutory list prepared by the Secretary of State for the Environment. Buildings are usually added to the list either in the course of a re-survey conducted by English Heritage, or as a result of a request from a local authority, amenity society or other interested party. There are about 460,000 listed buildings at the present time, divided into three grades, based on an assessment of their importance: grade 1 (about 2%); grade 2* (about 4%); and grade 2 (by far the largest number, at least 94%).


1.3 Conservation Areas Conservation Areas are designated by individual local planning authorities, and vary greatly in size and character. There are well over 8,000 conservation areas in England. They may contain large numbers of listed buildings, or none at all. The purpose behind the conservation area is to provide an additional tier of legislation, based on the system employed for listed buildings, which is designed to protect the character of an area by controlling unsympathetic alteration and development, and also enhance its quality with small-scale improvements in such areas as traffic management, building restoration, and careful re-use of redundant sites and spaces. 1.4 Scheduled Ancient Monuments Scheduled Ancient Monuments are principally monuments and sites of archaeological value. There are some 18,000 of these, and controls over repairs and alterations and development of adjacent land are more stringent. 1.5 World Heritage Sites World Heritage Sites form a separate category, protected under the terms of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention of 1972, which was ratified in the UK in 1984. There are at present 10 such sites in Great Britain, and they include some of the nations greatest architectural treasures, such as Durham Cathedral and Castle, Westminster Abbey and the Palace of Westminster, Hadrian’s Wall, Stonehenge and associated archaeological sites, the city of Bath, and Blenheim Palace. 1.6 Other forms of cultural heritage Historic parks, gardens and landscapes do not yet have any statutory protection in the form of a list, but a Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England has been published in stages since the mid-1980s and now covers all of England with separate but similar publications for Wales and Scotland, and this affords a mechanism for protection. The register is at present undergoing an extensive review, with the probability that the number of entries will rise from the present 1300 to around 1500. There are plans for a similar register of historic battlefields.


2 GROWTH OF SENSITIVITY TOWARDS CULTURAL HERITAGE IN POST-WAR SOCIETY Protective legislation to control development at historic sites had existed in England since 1882, but it was only in the twentieth century, during the immediate pre-war era that conservation planning policies applied to occupied buildings in ordinary, daily use began to be formulated. The Ancient Monuments Act (1931) and the Town & Country Planning Act (1932) introduced the concept of the conservation of minor ensembles of buildings and spaces which nevertheless contribute greatly to townscape or rural character, as well as of great castles, abbeys and country houses of national significance. Measures for the introduction of a system of statutory lists, of buildings to which no alterations or demolitions could be carried out without the approval of the then Ministry of Town and Country Planning, were provided for in the Town & Country Planning Acts of 1944 and 1947. At this time the first national survey of historic buildings took place, running parallel with the work of the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, established by royal decree in 1908, with the purpose of recording buildings and constructions of cultural and historical importance. In 1946 the National Land Fund was set up to provide funds for conservation. Some £50 million was made available, mostly allocated to the acquisition of country houses by the State. In post-war Britain, the public spirit of national renewal combined with a searching desire for continued sensitivity towards the heritage. Even before the ending of hostilities the architect W.H.Godfrey had contemplated the value of historic buildings in providing an infrastructure for the rehabilitation of existing housing stock, the revival of craftsmanship and good design, and the revitalisation of historic towns [3]. The next significant step—the Gowers report of 1950 and the abolition of death duties in respect of the hereditary transfer of large country house estates from one generation to the next—enabled more funds to be diverted to maintenance and upkeep of these buildings. Following this, in 1953, the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act set out provisions for grant aid from central government for repairs to listed buildings, to be administered on the advice of the newly formed Historic Buildings Councils (which took over the duties of the Ancient Monuments Boards). The same Act made funds available for the purchase of buildings of historic interest by local authorities. These provisions were subsequently extended to include unlisted buildings of local importance, and churches. By the late 1960s a framework of effective legislation was in place, but the Wilson administration presided over a positive transformation in government attitudes which went beyond the anonymous provision of legal machinery. With the Four Towns Reports and publication in 1970 of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government report, Preservation & Change, highlighting the rate of


disappearance of historic fabric, the government showed itself to be taking a more pro-active role. The Civic Amenities Act, introduced as a private member’s bill in 1967, tightened control, introducing the modern idea of statutory Conservation Areas. In these designated areas, approval of the local planning authority had to be sought for all significant alterations and demolitions in respect of both listed and non-listed structures. The Town & Country Planning Act (1968) introduced spot-listing, gave official authorisation for establishment of an RCHM archive of buildings by the Royal Commissions on Historical Monuments for England, Scotland and Wales, and granted consultative powers to a list of ‘amenity societies’, these being the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, the Ancient Monuments Society, the Georgian Group, the Victorian Society, and the Council for British Archaeology. The official participation of the voluntary amenity societies in the consultative process represented the logical outcome of decades of dedication on the part of countless groups of enthusiasts who were the backbone of the conservation movement. The first effective private organisation, and the ancestor of all modern preservation societies was the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. Founded in 1877 by William Morris it quickly became a vital player, not by virtue of numbers (it boasted only a few hundred members in 1900) but by virtue of a fierce and unremitting campaign waged in the pages of leading newspapers such as the Times and professional journals such as The Builder, against ‘restoration’. In 1889–90 some 150 cases involving proposed alterations or demolitions were brought to the Society’s attention by a network of regional activists. The 1968 act also toughened up penalties for infringement, and introduced the concept of the Conservation Area Advisory Committee, an instrument which promoted local consultation and participation in the planning process. A torrent of legislation followed in the period 1967–75, during which the first Conservation Officers were appointed, following government encouragement (Local Government Act 1972: Circular 46/73). The establishment of a rolling fund for repairs and renewal, the Architectural Heritage Fund, gave added impetus to a mood of economic revitalisation achieved through effective conservation and re-use of historic fabric [4]. With SAVE Britain’s Heritage adding its voice to that of a growing corpus of voluntary and independent societies, special interest groups and lobbying organisations, conservation was in its ascendancy. Success stories included award-winning Conservation Area enhancement schemes in Alcester (Malt Mill Lane) and Norwich (Friars Quay) as well as, more predictably, renewal schemes in Bath and York. In 1978 the Civic Trust (formed in 1957) embarked on a ten year project to halt spiralling decay and to regenerate Wirksworth, a small textile town in Derbyshire. However, development proposals still often posed a threat, particularly in respect of the recycling of redundant industrial buildings, where techniques and principles were not yet so advanced and casualties, such as Old


Billingsgate fish market in London, still often featured in the pages of the architectural press where, however, conservation issues were beginning to be seen as less of an obstacle and more of a challenge to creative design. Training courses for architects appeared in response to pleas from senior members of the profession and distinguished supporters of conservation. The Conference on Training for Architects in Conservation was set up in 1970 as a steering group to oversee the establishment of a reliable and effective framework of professional development. During Michael Heseltine’s tenure at the Department of the Environment in the early 1980s significant successes were scored for the conservation movement, notably the spot-listing of several buildings at the centre of a debate over demolition. He authorised and funded a major national review of the list of protected buildings which by 1988 had increased numbers protected by almost 100%. In 1983 the National Heritage Act created a new public body, English Heritage, in place of the old Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission. 1984 was the year in which the Prince of Wales made his controversial début in planning and architectural issues, prompting a heightening of public debate with reference to the insertion of new buildings in old contexts, and planning and design on a human scale. In 1987 a ‘Thirty Year Rule’ was established for listing, bringing buildings of post-war date into the fold. The first post-war buildings were listed soon after. They now include James Stirling’s Leicester University Engineering Building, Alison and Peter Smithson’s Economist Building in London, the Faber Dumas building in Ipswich, by Sir Norman Foster, and Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral by Frederick Gibberd. These are some of the events which have denoted a growing consciousness as to the value of the historic environment, by government and public alike, as well as widening understanding of the nature of that environment in its many manifestations. 3 THE IDEA OF CONSERVATION 3.1 Conservation and sustainable development In recent years, the Department of the Environment, the Department of National Heritage and various other bodies have begun to recognise a close correlation between the aims of conservation and growing pressures from environmental and social policy research organisations for sustainability in the planning and utilisation of economic, cultural and environmental resources. Planning Policy Guidance Document 15 (PPG 15), the most recent general guidance booklet released by the Department of the Environment on heritage planning, issued in September 1994, has stated in clear terms that “conservation and sustainable


economic growth are complementary objectives” [5], and is at pains to point out that planning policy as a whole is now crafted in such a way as to meet those two objectives, and adopts as a primary aim the reconciliation of the need for economic growth with the protection of the natural and historic environment. In issuing the document PPG 15, central government has signalled its desire to see local planning authorities adopt measures which are most likely to bring these objectives into ever closer union, and to incorporate those measures in its planning strategy. In this way the Unitary Development Plan, a document prepared by each county, borough or metropolitan district planning authority, is seen as an essential instrument in the control and management of historical and natural resources, a kind of manifesto in which the relationship between sustainable economic development at a national level and conservation planning in regions and districts is clearly demonstrated. PPG 15 contains guidelines for planning authorities on the drafting of Unitary Development Plans and, on a more detailed level, of local plans for individual areas within the authority’s sphere of control. These guidelines emphasise two important functions of the planning process. Firstly, it is expected that Plans will “set out clearly the planning authority’s policies for the preservation and enhancement of the historic environment in their area, and the factors that will be taken into account in assessing different types of planning application”. Secondly, “Plans should also include a strategy for the economic regeneration of rundown areas, and in particular to seek to identify the opportunities which the historic fabric of an area can offer as a focus for regeneration” [6] In practice, the government’s guidelines on how planners are to arrive at an integrated policy, one which unites the preservation of historic fabric with the implementation of strategies to support a healthy economic infrastructure in the context of historic urban areas, focuses on an important criterion, one that is central to the modern idea of conservation, the concept of use. 3.2 Re-use as an instrument of sustainable resource management Buildings and areas of historic value are most likely to be preserved if they are in use, either for the purpose for which they were built, or for other purposes. It is only when they become redundant or obsolete that redevelopment pressures become harder to resist. Since the early 1980s, this essential fact has been a cornerstone of central government philosophy in its efforts to guide individual


planning authorities [7], though the value of re-use as a means of ensuring healthy survival was understood in the nineteenth century. Taking this as a premise, PPG 15 sets out a series of measures which are available to guarantee that historic buildings and areas are, first and foremost, kept in beneficial use. In a climate of rapid and continual economic change this invariably means adaptation of existing stock to fulfil the changing demands of business, commerce, leisure and lifestyle. A fundamental principle however, is that, in advance of any planning permission or listed building or conservation area consent being granted, the full range of possible new uses must be taken into consideration, and the eventual damage to or disappearance of historically and culturally important fabric be guarded against [8]. It is convenient at this point to consider listed buildings and conservation areas separately. 3.3 Listed Buildings In respect of listed buildings, one of the recommendations which is given in PPG 15 is that, concerning alterations and extensions, for which Listed Building Consent is necessary, reasonable flexibility be shown by architects, including an imaginative approach to changes of use. If, for example, a former industrial building is to be converted to residential use, it will be appropriate to retain those external fittings and fixtures which give the building its special architectural character. Fenestration patterns on principal fronts, and nonstandard floor-to-ceiling heights, both of which are features which lend the building both historical identity and visual character, may present awkward technical problems, but a non-damaging solution will usually be possible if imagination is brought to bear on the matter. Similarly, in a timber framed building to be converted to office use, attention should be paid to the structural limitations imposed, and to the limitations of building materials. This will be an instance in which Building and Fire Precautions Regulations will need to be flexibly interpreted, and provisions have been made for such flexibility in the legislation. For example, a more advanced warning and detection system in place of cumbersome and intrusive fire doors and means of escape, or the use of fire resistant coatings or linings for building parts which do not compromise historic decoration. In this sense there is an implicit recognition in conservation of the need for good design, modern technology and flexible planning to co-exist. This emphasis on flexibility, and the degree to which conventional safety, planning and building regulations can be relaxed in the case of a listed building, are to be seen as providing tools for sympathetic conversion and refurbishment which enables the building to be kept in beneficial use without compromising its historic identity.


3.4 Conservation Areas In the context of conservation areas, there is a similar emphasis on careful preliminary assessment of the character of the area prior to a) designation, and b) developing a policy for its use in social and economic terms. Conservation Areas are defined in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as “areas of special architectural or historic interest the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance.” Local authorities have a duty under the act not only to identify and designate new conservation areas, but to review the existing situation and extend conservation area boundaries, where appropriate, or deregister (in the case of a conservation area which has lost the essential character which justified its original designation). In this process the authority must consult with local residents, businesses and other interest groups. Once a conservation area is declared, the essential controls which the planning authority has at its disposition, over and above those relating to individual listed buildings and ancient monuments, are: 1. Controls against demolition of unlisted buildings in a conservation area, for which conservation area consent is required. Where consent is granted (i.e. the building does not make a significant contribution to the historic character and appearance of the area), detailed plans of proposed redevelopment of the site must be approved, and conditions may be imposed to ensure that the site is duly redeveloped within a certain period of time. 2. Controls against unsympathetic advertising in the form of signage, hoardings, etc. 3. Controls in respect of minor development, such as the installation of satellite dishes, small extensions, dormer windows, even the type and colour of such features as windows and doors, railings and other external fixtures. This provision is particularly helpful in preserving historic character in those conservation areas where group value, e.g. of a planned terrace or square, depends on uniformity. 4. Controls against the felling, topping or lopping of trees in conservation areas, for which six weeks notice is required to be given to the authority to give it time to issue a tree preservation order, if so determined. It is assumed that the authority will ensure that residents are sufficiently informed of what constitutes the area’s essential character or appearance by virtue of public education and information. The planning authority is also expected to collaborate with other local authority departments and public utilities, in order to devise a workable integrated policy for the area which takes account not merely of buildings and groups of buildings, but also the spaces between buildings, street furniture and surfaces, green space, transport provision, land use and so on.


3.5 Re-use and regeneration One of the initiatives of recent years highlights the degree to which conservation planning and sustainable development are closely linked. This relates to the movement in favour of bringing into beneficial use the upper floors of commercial premises: Bringing vacant upper floors back into use, particularly residential use, not only provides additional income and security for the shop owner, bur also helps to ensure that what are often important townscape buildings are kept in good repair. It meets a widespread need for small housing units and helps to sustain activity in town centres after working hours [9]. A rapidly changing economy has caused many town centre shops to suffer, with unhappy consequences not only for business, but for the community life of towns and cities as a whole, a trend which it is hoped can be reversed by promoting this kind of strategy at local level. But the problem of economic regeneration in towns and cities in an age of popularity for out-of-town shopping malls and supermarkets extends beyond the mere provision of residential accommodation in the heart of the old commercial town centre. It must also confront the question of providing small-scale business opportunities. It must address the legacy of twentieth-century town planning, which has sought to differentiate urban spaces, assigning to each its own functional characteristics, and transposing services such as schools, hospitals, leisure facilities and housing to the periphery, rather than integrating all these elements into a homogenous and self-sustaining neighbourhood. Historic buildings will often provide the necessary physical framework for this and, imaginatively re-used, will become a vital component in the drive to achieve a sustainable pattern of living where leisure, business, small industry, tourism, housing and cultural heritage are closely bound together as part of a wider social and environmental organism, servicing the needs of inhabitants as well as visitors. In the City of London the situation is atypical, but a good indication, on a large scale, of the potential difficulties of balancing changing economic practices with conservation of historic building stock and the maintenance of historic character. With banking practices experiencing a revolution during the 1980s, many historic banks and insurance company offices are now redundant. Fine banking halls in particular, which cannot easily be subdivided to conform to modern standards of office layout and comfort, face an uncertain future. Between 1986 and 1989 eight million square feet of floorspace were cleared in the City, and 21.5 million square feet of office space created, an indication of the degree of development pressure which has been experienced as the City continues to thrive as a world financial centre [10].


The City Corporation has attempted to encourage small commercial units and a mixed economy in the area without, however, suppressing necessary growth in the finance sector. In terms of historic buildings and cityscape—retention of important interior fixtures and facades of nineteenth-century commercial properties, not to mention the preservation of the local character of Smithfield, London’s largest meat market, and the area around St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, with its ancient street pattern and small cottage dwellings—the problems are legion. Spiralling land prices have forced out many of the residents and left the old working class districts of the City open to redevelopment. The Corporation, conscious of the fact that primary financial and related activities now constitute 70% of the City’s workforce, has signalled its intention to look favourably on those planning applications which will directly contribute to enhancing the historic character of the area—re-use of redundant churches as meeting rooms or music venues, retention of small commercial units, provision of housing and theatres/cinemas in keeping with the demands of a sustainable urban organism. Such a policy will provide opportunities for social, leisure, small business and services which are necessary if the historic City of London urban area is to be successfully re-used without loss of important historical character. 3.6 Architectural conservation and the building crafts Active encouragement and support for the building crafts has been a consistent theme in the evolution of the modern idea of conservation. John Ruskin, in many ways the prophet of conservation, was among those to observe the tragic effects of mechanisation on the workforce in the mid-nineteenth century—the decline of art, the monotony and drudgery of the manufacturing process, and their effects on the visual and artistic character of buildings and towns. During the late twentieth-century the construction industry has become increasingly mechanised and the labour market has responded to the need for a more mobile but comparatively unskilled workforce capable of working quickly to erect prefabricated components, with the result that skilled tradesmen working with traditional materials and processes have become in short supply, forced into obsolescence as a result of technological advances achieved in the wake of the building booms of the 1950s and 1960s. A similar effect may be observed in the training of architects and designers in recent decades. Experience of and contact with the materials and forms of traditional construction have been sacrificed in favour of modern design and hitech construction. In this sense, training for conservation, which began to develop in the mid-1970s, plays a key role in restoring and preserving traditional crafts. These crafts are themselves a valuable cultural resource, and often rely heavily on traditions of building in local materials and using labour intensive technologies. Thus preservation and development of crafts for conservation, whether for the


production of lime mortars by traditional slaking of chalk and limestone, knapping of flints for decorative walling, thatching in long straw or reed, and casting of lead sheet for traditional roof covering, will often entail the sustainable exploitation of locally available resources, for small scale production and consumption, and the management of local labour for the acquisition of specialist skills, so that not only the physical character of an area is retained over time, but also its local working traditions. 4 SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS As demonstrated in the brief survey above, conservation practice in present-day planning policy now finds itself able to draw from an armoury of legal and protective measures. In addition, with the ‘greening’ of central government, it has become easier for the principle of conservation to be seen as part of a wide range of broader initiatives in planning: encouraging small businesses in historic centres; seeking means of providing residential accommodation in areas of historic value in the heart of towns; promoting the refurbishment of disused building types for leisure and the arts, as awareness of the need for planning in towns and cities for sustainability has evolved [11]. The process of identifying and protecting the built heritage enables a continuous assessment to be made of the impact of proposed or likely development strategies on one particular aspect of the environment—its built heritage. At the same time, that process enables some control to be exercised over the form, scale, and social and economic effects any such development might entail. With a wide-spread consultative base drawing on the voluntary and public sectors, and a requirement to work in partnership with other local authority officers in a range of departments, conservation staff at local level are actively involved in generating local strategies which do indeed harmonise the parallel objectives of historic preservation and sustainable re-use and management of existing physical resources. This represents a significant advance in terms of policy. But the experience of historic towns coming to terms with their historicity and their function has been ambiguous. The idea of conservation has moved away from its early preoccupation with the mothballing of historic relics as though their worthiness lay in their value as permanent records, as specimens in a vast open-air museum. But there is still some way to go in terms of clarifying our understanding of the purpose and value of conservation in a world increasingly plagued by a concern for the effects of mass consumption, the motor vehicle and non-sustainable technological processes. As Roy Worskett noted in 1982, a clear distinction must be made between the cultural/historic value of the city—the complex set of meanings and associations it presents as a reflection of a unique urban identity—and the practical necessities which are suggested by the continued exploitation of physical and


environmental resources in city centres [12]. While it is possible to retain a semblance of historic ‘character’ by retaining facades and demolishing the fabric behind to accommodate new uses, this is to misconstrue the challenge of conservation. It has been recognised for some decades that historic buildings and areas must be effectively and sympathetically meshed into the urban tissue so that their contribution to cultural well-being and a sense of history and ‘place’ is properly expressed. This means adaptation and change, responsiveness to flexible patterns of work and living in the modern city. Mere stabilisation, preservationism which confuses these needs with an image of the historic city which is entirely static and circumscribed, a place where the echoes of history resonate so deeply that any transfiguration of the city’s outward aspect will be regarded as a tragic betrayal of the past, is a confutation of the real issues which the city must address. It is not unrealistic to propose that planning for sustainability through conservation, through the systematic recycling of existing building stock combined with an ever-deepening appreciation of the many layers of history and meaning which the city, a mirror of changing aspirations and anticipations, presents, may offer the basis of an ethic for integrated planning in historic cities. In so doing, it will enable us to redefine our perception of the city, in Worskett’s words, “wresting that perception away from an emotional reaction against the twentieth century to a more positive and considered approach on a sound philosophical basis.”[13] REFERENCES 1.

2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

8. 9. 10. 11.

Department of the Environment. (1991) Policy Appraisal and the Environment, HMSO, London. Quoted in Glasson, J. Therivel, R., Chadwick, A. (1994) Introduction to Environmental Impact Assessment, UCL Press, London, pp 16–17. Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. Godfrey, W.H. (1944) Our Building Inheritance, Faber & Faber, London. Ross, Michael (1991) Planning and the Heritage, E & F.N. Spon, London, p.23, et seq. Department of the Environment. (1994) Planning Policy Guidance: Planning and the Historic Environment, HMSO, London, p.1. Ibid. p.4. cf. Report of the Working Party on the alternative uses of historic buildings. (1981) Britain’s Historic Buildings: a policy for their future use, British Tourist Authority, London; see also Department of the Environment. (1987) Reusing Redundant Buildings: good practice in urban regeneration, HMSO, London. Department of the Environment, cit. (1994), p.8. Ibid. p.17. Corporation of London. (1990) City of London Unitary Development Plan, London, p.41. Department of the Environment. (1994) Sustainable Development: the UK Strategy Summary Report, HMSO, London.


12. 13.

Worskett, R. (1982) New Buildings in Historic Areas, I. Conservation, the missing ethic. Monumentum, Vol. 25, No.2. pp. 129–54. Ibid. p. 51.

Economic development and environmental gloss: a new structure plan for Lancashire S.Davoudi* Centre For Research In European Urban Environments, Department of Town and Country Planning, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK

ABSTRACT This chapter examines the making of a new structure plan for the county of Lancashire in the North West Region of England. It aims to illustrate the continuing tensions between the economic development objectives and the concern for environmental sustainability within the planning system. This account focuses on the process of strategic spatial planning, with regards to its institutional relations and its substantive issues, and the ways in which the process is shaped by the wider socio-economic and environmental context in an urban region. It attempts to examine how far the new environmental agenda has achieved a real leverage over economic discourse at the level of planning policies and practices. Keywords: Economic development, environmental sustainability, institutional relations, Lancashire Structure Plan, strategic spatial policy, regional alliance.

1 INTRODUCTION The post-war history of the British planning system is an account of the interplay of economic priorities, social values and environmental concerns in relation to regulation of landuse and development. The conceptions of and the relations between these issues have been given different political emphases in different times and places. Whilst the system has always been preoccupied with the care for environment the meaning given to and the relative significance of * A different version of this paper was presented jointly by Patsy Healey, Angela Hull and the author at the Innovation in Development Plan-making in Europe Workshop in January 1995 in Leuven.


environmental issues as compared to development priorities have fluctuated over time [1], The system has often experienced the sidelining of the social distribution and environmental interests in favour of economic considerations. The history of the post-war planning system in Britain is also of “periodic rediscovery of the importance of plans” [1]. In theory, the development plans play a strategic, coordinating and integrating role, in practice, however, the emphasis on these roles has shifted. The system consists of advisory development plans and regulatory decisions on development applications. These are governed by administrative discretion rather than legal rule. Whilst the decision making procedure is tightly defined by legislation there is little specification as to substance [2]. Local planning authorities are not bound to the national policy, which is provided to guide the substantive content. This distinctive discretionary form of the British planning system has made it possible for the government politicians and officials to shift the emphases of the policies without the need for fundamental reorganisation [3]. In the late 1980s, both plan-making and environmental issues have been given a new salience in the planning system. After a decade of market-driven, projectbased approach characterised by a diminished status of plans and strategic planning policies [4], a legislative change moved the plan into the centre stage. As regards environmental issues, 1990 marked a major shift in the climate of thinking of British government. With the publication of This Common Inheritance central government committed itself to the new environmental agenda and began to develop its implications in all areas of government policy. After many years of restricting the scope of the planning system to the landuse issues only [5], a flow of the emerging national Planning Policy Guidance Notes legitimatized the role of landuse planning in sustainable development. Planners were urged “to reflect newer environmental concerns…in the analysis of policies that form part of plan preparation” [6]. This dramatic swing in government attitude towards planning and environmental issues was, to a large extent, a belated response to the growing interests in spatial development and urban environment within the European Community (EC). The shift of emphasis gave the innovative local authorities the opportunity to re-think their approach to strategic planning and environmental issues and to develop their ideas more vigorously. The key players in many urban regions are now experiencing the challenges of the building up of transsectoral consensus on strategic spatial policy which could bind together economic development objectives with concern for environmental sustainability. This is a particularly difficult task given firstly, the continuing tensions of central-local relations in which the national government plays a dominating role in defining the agenda and, secondly, the absence of an established regional institutional arena in many areas. This chapter is an account of the Lancashire County’s way of facing up to these challenges in the making of a new structure plan. It draws on a study of innovation in development plan-making in Europe, and uses some of the


interviews carried out for the study of development plans and the regulatory form of the planning system.* 2 CONTEXT With a population of 7 million, the North West Region extends from an industrial and commercial heartland in the South around Greater Manchester and Merseyside, to the holiday coasts along the Irish Sea in the West, the old textile towns to the East and the edge of the Lake District in Cumbria to the North. It is predominantly an urbanised region with the great bulk of its industry and population lying in the southern part which is often called the Mersey Belt. The Region is an example of extremes of prosperity, mainly in Cumbria, and deprivation, mainly in Merseyside. Its overall Gross Domestic Product per capita was 6% lower than the EC average in 1988/90 [7] with most of the region having EC Objectives 1, 2 or 5b status. The region which was one of the cradles of the Industrial Revolution is now suffering from its economic and environmental legacy. Lancashire County forms the central and northern part of the region. Having coped with a major restructuring in the textile industry, the county is now facing the shrinkage of the defence sector, and in particular the aerospace industry, on which Lancashire as well as the region have been highly dependent. Within the county, there is a high degree of environmental diversity ranging from a strong core of growth in the south with two New Towns initiated in the 1960s to the attractive upland landscape in the North and the East. The coastal line in the West has experienced extensive tourist activities, nuclear power installations and a chemical industry. At the same time substantial stretches of countryside, with small towns and villages, have been well protected from development by agricultural and planning policies. Population decline hit Lancashire as a whole in the 1980s with only the north of the county experiencing growth. In 1993, Lancashire had a population of 1.4 million. Despite growth around some southern part of the county, the North West has a vulnerable, slow growing economy reflecting weaknesses in its industrial structure [8]. As a result, capturing national and EC subsidy and creating jobs are continuing preoccupations of all public sector and local economic actors.

* This is an ongoing ESRC funded project undertaken by P.Healey, S.Davoudi, A.Hull, T.Show and G.Vigar of Newcastle University.


3 NEW INSTITUTIONAL ARENAS Lancashire County Council has responsibility for strategic planning, transport, waste and minerals planning in its area, as well as social services and education. It has been in control of the Labour Party for many years. Until 1990, the county steered an independent path with respect to the neighbouring authorities and remained unsympathetic to the regional planning [9]. During the 1980s, however, the county’s development and financial powers were substantially reduced by central government policy. The county’s position was also affected by the assertion of autonomy by the district councils following the 1974 local government reorganisation. The economic function of the county was transferred into a separate semi-public agency which in 1989 became a privatised company: Lancashire Enterprise Plc. As regards the North West, it remained a fragmented region throughout the 1980s. In the early 1990s, Lancashire’s autonomous attitude started to change. Senior Labour politicians in the county and the neighbouring metropolitan authorities took on a strong regional orientation. Early in 1992, the North West Regional Association (NWRA) was established comprising 27 representations of the region’s three counties and larger number of district councils. Five committees were initially set up to pursue the North West’s interests in planning guidance, transportation, economic development, Europe and bidding for the Olympic Games. This dramatic swing in favour of regional collaboration was triggered by two main factors. Firstly, the European Union had made it clear that without a coherent regional voice it would be very difficult to secure EC funding for economic development projects. Secondly, with the growing prospect of a Labour Government in 1992 it was anticipated that the county councils would be replaced with a regional assembly which an association could foreshadow [9]. The establishment of the Regional Association was also a response to the emergence of the new regional groupings within the business community. In 1989, the North West Business Leadership Team (NWBLT) was created, representing a consortium of 30 top business leaders responsible for over 350, 000 employees in the region. The former Director of the Lancashire Enterprise Ltd was a key player in the formation of the Team. The Team is now supported by the North West Business Leadership Forum whose membership is wider and open to any interested individual or organisation. The NWBLT who were desperate to get a coherent voice from the local authorities sought an alliance with them and actively encouraged the establishment of the Regional Association. Competition for UK and European funding on the one hand and preparation for a possible regional devolution on the other hand pushed previous differences aside and led to the construction of new regional alliance. This was mainly clustered around economic development objectives with, as it is discussed below, a touch of environmental gloss.


Early in 1993, the Association with the financial support of the EC and NWBLT sponsored PIEDA (a firm of consultants) to prepare a Regional Economic Strategy as well as advice to central government on the content of the emerging Regional Guidance for development plan preparation. After 20 years of the neglect of a “commonly approved regional framework” a long-term strategy for the region was prepared “echoing its predecessor, the Strategic Plan of 1973” [9]. Its emphasis was on how: investment could be attracted to the region from Westminster, Brussels and private sources; the region’s external connections could be improved; the region’s environmental issues could be tackled and the region’s image could be polished. The Strategy was in effect the product of a complex bargaining between the interests of the various parties. Conflicts arose over some key issues notably the promotion of Manchester Airport, as opposed to Liverpool Airport, as the region’s primary international link. Also, in order to “continue Lancashire’s revived enthusiasm for regional cooperation” compromises have probably been made, in relation to the switch of emphasis of growth from the east-west corridor of industry and transport between Manchester and Liverpool to the region’s north-south spine of the M6 Motorway and mainline rail route [9]. Nevertheless, within a year, lost time was rapidly made up. A Transport and an Environmental Strategy followed the economic one. As a result of the emerging environmental debates in a number of authorities, and in particular Lancashire, the ideas about economic strategy were wrapped up in the vocabularies of sustainable development which, by then, had achieved government backing. In 1993, both organisations (NWRA and NWBLT) launched, in Brussels, a united vision of the North West as: “a world-class centre for the production of high quality goods and services; a green and pleasant region; and a region of first-class links to the rest of Europe and the world” [10]. In late 1994, the two organisations launched yet another layer of networks at the level of the region: The North West Partnership which includes senior representatives from the public, private, voluntary, and academic sector. Parallel to and overlapping with the emerging regional groupings focused around economic development and business strategy, another institutional arena and policy discourse started to form with an emphasis on environmental issues. In 1989, the Lancashire Environmental Forum involving 90 organisations was set up by Lancashire County’s Environmental Unit which itself was newly created in the county’s Planning Department. National and local stakeholders including local government, semi-public agencies, utility companies, large businesses, voluntary and environmental organisations were brought together to build a discursive consensus on the parameters of sustainable development. The catalyst for this initiative was concern over the deterioration of the quality of the bathing water due to the discharge of the untreated sewage to the sea. None of Lancashire’s 11 designated bathing waters complied with the EC standards. For a county with a tourist coastline, this was a major political as well


as environmental issue. A low cost solution recommended by the water company, to simply extend the length of the sewage outfall pipe without treating sewage, was strongly opposed by the county. By using proactively its regulatory power, the county won the battle and a scheme of full treatment was eventually submitted. However, the process highlighted two main shortcomings. Firstly, the fragmented nature of the available data on the state of the environment and the need for their amalgamation and dissemination, and secondly, the recognition of the need for a wider political consensus on environmental standards than could be achieved through the adversarial planning system. Consequently, in 1989, an environmental audit was set up by the newly created county’s Environmental Unit. Their brief was to collate the existing data on environmental components and their interaction. Carrying the task thoroughly and cost-effectively required co-operation from a diverse array of key players. Hence, the Lancashire Environmental Forum was set up. Following discussion, a comprehensive ‘state of the environment’ report entitled the Green Audit, was published in 1991. The information from the audit was then prioritized by the Forum and channelled into the Lancashire Environmental Action Programme (LEAP) which was subsequently published in March 1993. This outlines a framework and mechanism for the Forum partners to monitor progress towards sustainable development in their various fields. LEAP is a 325-page document and contains 203 proposals categorised by timescale for implementation and the lead implementation body. Issues that had failed to gain consensus among the Forum partners were deferred for further discussion. The way information was gathered and channelled into the report created an informational and organisational structure which were then used to support a consensus building process on action. To summarise, the building up of the horizontal relationship has led to the development of parallel and overlapping institutional arenas and policy discourses which are focused around regional economic priorities on the one hand and a county-based environmental action programme on the other. Review of the 1980s structure plan which coincided with these processes provided another arena for the development of horizontal policy networks around the spatial planning issues. Given the formally hierarchical relations of the British planning system, the translation of this into the formal policy device of a structure plan, however, has been a difficult task. 4 THE PLAN-MAKING EXERCISE The history of structure planning in Lancashire, as in many other counties, goes back to the early 1970s when local government was re-organised into county and district. Since then counties have been required to prepare structure plans and review them every five years. These together with more detailed local plans, which are prepared by districts, provide the framework within which the criteria


for making regulatory decisions over the use and development of land are established. Formally, the key arenas of plan-making are the local planning office, the consultation and the inquiry processes. Throughout, local authority decisions are made by local politicians advised by their planning staff. Although they appear to have a powerful position in this process, central government plays a strong role by its bureaucratic checking of all policy statements, by making objection to the plans and by overriding local planning decisions if they are challenged and appealed. The pressure from central government is to force the system into a hierarchical relationship in which local authorities act as mere agents of central government policy. The plan itself is typically structured around topics and sectors, with little integration between them. Similarly, plan-making is an amalgam of different relationships clustered around these topics. This in part reflects the sectoral organisation typical of central and local government in Britain, with each sector having its own relational networks. The format and agenda for discussion on many of these topics are structured by government policy which itself is highly influenced by the structural driving forces of our times [11]. Hence, there is little room for local innovation and where there are such opportunities these are often undermined by the local political priorities. The resulting policies are the product of a complex interplay between the plan-preparers, key institutional networks which are clustered around each sector, and the evolving national policy and legal judgements. The Lancashire Structure plan exercise attempts to break with these traditions by its efforts to build up and work with local and regional policy alliances, and by the use of an overall strategy to link the various topics, notably development land allocations, transport and environmental quality [12]. However, the extent to which these efforts have gone beyond the rhetoric of planning and the change in policy talk of the plan has been translated into regulatory and investment actions is very limited. 5 THE NEW STRUCTURE PLAN The early stages of the structure plan review coincided with the publication of the Green Audit which was used as background information for the review of the plan. As the plan is progressing through the consultation period, the recommendations from LEAP are also being fed back into it. The environmental aspects of the new plan, which carries the title: Greening the Red Rose County, were therefore underpinned by the growing enthusiasms for the contemporary environmental agenda, orchestrated by the county. Similarly, the economic aspects of the plan was strongly influenced by the ideas emerged from the Regional Economic Strategy. These two parallel and often conflicting forces shaped the plan rhetoric which was dominated by the discourses of two


metaphors of the economic positioning within Europe and the environmental sustainability. A key critical issue for both was the relation with transport which along with policies for mineral extraction proved to be one of the key arenas within which the conflict between economic development and environmental objectives was particularly acute. What conceptions of environmental and economic concerns have been developed in the plan and what type of reconciliation have been reached between them? The next two subsections attempt to address these issues. 5.1 Environmental concerns The care for environment has always been a preoccupation of the planning system in Britain. But, its interpretation and its relative importance as compared with economic concerns have fluctuated. The new structure plan for Lancashire presents both continuity and innovation in the ways in which environmental consideration have been addressed. Whilst some of the environmental discourses were carried through from the earlier plans, others were new challenges flowed into the plan by the growing concerns over sustainability. Among the ‘old ideas’ is the “aesthetic utilitarian” approach which sees the environment as “functional resources” to be conserved, and as amenities to be enhanced, yet for human enjoyment and exploitation [1]. One of the “guiding principles” for “countryside protection and enhancement” in the new structure plan is that “the countryside will be protected for its own sake, but, land will be needed to meet long term development needs of the county” and “the requirements of minerals industry must be addressed” [13]. Open spaces are seen as “important green lungs” in the built up areas. Reconciling the tension between these conservationist concerns and accommodating the demand for development can be traced as far back as 1952 in the Preliminary Plan for Lancashire which was preoccupied with “development needs and land resources” and in particular with “managing the land consuming tide of house building” [14]. The treatment of the environment as a set of “services” [15] which provides facilities for recreation is clearly reflected in the new structure plan. Another of the Plan’s guiding principle for “rural development and countryside protection” is “meeting and managing the recreational needs of the town” [16]. The second persistent concept is “the moral and aesthetic notion of the environment as backcloth and setting. The moral dimension of this conception” advocated by pioneering planners such as Abercrombie in the 1940s, however, has been “sidelined into a narrow view of conservation” [1]. One of the most obvious examples of this approach can be found in the Outline Plan prepared by the consultant in order to establish a development strategy for the Central Lancashire New Town in 1974. The plan states that: “we need to establish a clearly defined visual division between the urban and rural areas…No


development should take place without a carefully designed landscape framework to hold it together… The function of the framework will vary… Sometimes it will act as a screen, sometimes as a backcloth” [17]. This is a clear manifestation of the architect-planning culture of the time combined with the adoption of Abercrombie’s sharp contrast between town and country and the idea of accommodating growth within a framework of open spaces and environmental setting. In the new structure plan, the distinction between rural and urban is not as explicit as it is in the 1970s plan. However, the plan is still firmly committed to protect the rural areas from urban sprawl. It states that: “there is a need to protect the intrinsic environment and visual qualities of the countryside” [18], and “the location and design of any development must be such that agricultural land is not wastefully used” [19]. The idea of the environment as a framework, however, has been combined with the “marketized utilitarian” approach of the 1980s [1]. The environment is treated as a commodity, a stock of assets which can be priced and traded [20]. Environmental quality is packaged with other local assets and offered to the potential investors. This conception of the environment has been widely used throughout the new structure plan as part of the plan’s strategy for ‘image improvement’ and ‘place marketing’. The plan states that: “congestion and pollution are not only environmentally damaging but they are also signs of inefficiency which creates an unattractive image and discourage investment” [21]. Elsewhere, the plan states: “improvement will upgrade the appearance and image of many urban areas, making them attractive to private sector investment and increase the town’s tourism potential” [22]. This emphasis on the environment as tradeable assets is also the dominant environmental discourse of the Regional Economic Strategy which states: “As well as the natural and manmade physical environment, the region’s ‘cultural’ environment is an important part of the package needed to attract and retain industry and talent in the region. This element of the vision is about image as well as substance. The ‘cloth cap’ and ‘smoke-stacks’ image of the North West is outmoded. The region needs to portray a new image emphasising the many positive aspects of its environment” [23]. However, there is some conceptual development in the new structure plan. This is due to the fact that the county planners had to develop their own understanding of environmental issues during the process of preparing the Green Audit and the LEAP document. The plan shows an explicit awareness of sustainability issues and acknowledges the environment as a “system” which can be damaged by “environmentally harmful inefficiencies and excesses” [24]. The new vocabularies such as “protection of non-renewable resources for use by future generations” [25] appear in the plan but remain at the level of rhetoric rather than substance. Attempt to track these concepts through into specific policies and proposals have been “watered down” as a result of the seven districts’ and the Department of the Environment’s (DoE) challenges during the consultation stage of the draft plan.


Moreover, the plan’s conception of environmental sustainability, which is similar to that promoted by the British government, is a technicist rather than radical one. The distinction between the two lies in conceptions of the environment as stock of assets and those emphasising on capacities and limits within the context of ecological relations [26]. But, unlike environmental economics which allows for trade-offs to be calculated and quantified [27], the plan draws on the judgemental nature of the British planning system and aims to strike a balance between economic growth and environmental sustainability and to mitigate the adverse environmental impact of the economic action by planning policy criteria. However, as it is experienced in the past [1], this political balancing serves to limit the extent to which environmental considerations can constrain the economic objectives of both national and local interests. Further, there is a lack of integration between the various sectors in the plan. The policies and proposals under different topics aim to achieve conflicting interests. Therefore, whilst the plan-making exercise in Lancashire reflects a strong attempt to integrate the key sectors around a central focus on sustainable development, the key integrative links (such as the impact of infrastructure schemes on mineral extraction) are either omitted or based on fragile assumptions about powers and resources. If the plan policies are to have any leverage over subsequent events the county will have to persuade other key players, such as transport agencies and developers, of their merit. 5.2 Economic objectives With respect to economic development, there is a major shift in policy discourses of the plan from an emphasis on positioning the county in relation to the rest of the region to a focus on locating the county on the European map. The county’s economic future is now seen to depend on how it positions itself in relation to global investment, European markets and EC subsidy opportunities. This is a direct reflection of the vision pursued by the Regional Economic Strategy which promotes the North West as “a region of first class links to the rest of Europe and the World” [28]. So, the emphasis has shifted from building up links between Manchester and Liverpool to developing the region’s north-south axis, from Scotland to the south east and the Channel Tunnel [9]. The manifestation of this vision in the plan is an emphasis on a new north-south transport corridors and on policies for strategic development locations. Environmental policies are intertwined with this economic strategy to set limits to their impact yet not to manage and/or limit the demand for them. The ambiguities of the challenge of sustainability and growth are most acute in the approach to transport. On the one hand, there is an emphasis on improving public transport routes across the county and encouraging the shift of freight from road to rail. On the other, policies are encouraging the upgrading of the national and regional road network to increase the region’s accessibility to its suppliers


and markets. This conflict was picked up by some of the objectors to the plan during the consultation period. It was later symbolised in the action of the “tree people” who occupied the trees which were due to be cleared to allow for a motorway improvement. In objection to the deposit plan at the public inquiry in May 1995, they marched into the venue holding the branches of the cut down trees. The ambiguity is also found in the discussion of strategic development sites. Part of the “Regional Business Location” policy includes a greenfield site of not less than 50 hectares near the proposed junction of the M6 and M65. This proposal was objected by one of the districts on the ground of availability of an old industrial site for such purposes. Finally, some areas, notably mineral extraction, have been largely unaffected by the shift in policy discourse. Neither the opportunity for shifting mineral transport from route to rail are mentioned, nor the demand management conceptions are tracked through consistently. The conflict between sustainability and economic growth has clearly come out of the environmental appraisal of both the 1980s and the new structure plan. 5.3 Environmental appraisal of the plan Lancashire is one of the pioneering local authorities in Britain which have undertaken an environmental appraisal of their plans. The appraisal was part of the review exercise and was carried out to feed into the discussion of strategic issues in the new plan. The technique used in the appraisal was based on the government guidance [29]. This involved a use of matrix to identify the impact of individual policies of the plan on environmental resources. Structure Plan policies form one axis of the matrix and the components of the environment that may be affected by these form the other axis. The 164 policies were, therefore, numerically scored, by a single environmental scientist in a fairly rudimentary manner, according to their impact on the environmental variables. 46 policies, mainly covering minerals, transport and waste disposal, received negative aggregated scores. Other areas with “low sustainability scores” were health, social services, education, public utilities, employment and shopping policies. Conversely, those with “high sustainability scores” were policies on agricultural land, Green Belt, environmental measures and rural landscape [30], i.e. those for which there has been a long-standing conservationist tradition in the British planning system. The extent to which the result of this exercise was taken into account in the discussions of strategic issues in the new plan can be examined by looking at the results of a similar exercise undertaken to appraise the deposit version of the new structure plan in 1994. The methodology utilised for this was similar to the previous one. However, in the light of the new government guidance [31] a symbols-based rather than a numerical one was adapted focusing on the


assessment of the direction of predicted impact in terms of neutral, adverse or beneficial. Further, a team approach as against an individual one was adapted using the range of expertise held by the county’s Environmental Unit. 10 policies scored as having a “significant number of adverse impact” [32], These are mainly related to the national and regional transport policies and provision for future development. Negative impacts are also identified in policies for: location of development, retailing, business and industrial development, minerals and waste developments and energy creation. Policies with beneficial impact include: restraint of development, improving and enhancing the environment, local transport, housing, tourism and recreation, and telecommunication. Whilst the reduction in the proportion of adverse impacts from the previous plan is partly “a result of the more focused strategy with its emphasis on sustainability” (as concluded by the appraisers), it is also an outcome of using different methodologies for the two assessments. Overall, the results of the environmental appraisal of the plan reinforce the discussions in the earlier parts of the paper that the plan’s main economic development objectives are not compatible with the principles of environmental sustainability. Whilst the environmental discourses are slowly opening their way into the plan’s policy agenda, there is no doubt that they are still being sidelined and compromised by the more pressing economic concerns. 6 CONCLUSION Over the past few years, Lancashire County Council has been actively involved in building up new alliances and new arenas for the discussion of economic development strategy on the one hand and developing an operational understanding of environmental sustainability on the other. Parallel to this, the county has also been involved in a strategic plan-making exercise based on the review of the 1980s structure plan. These processes grew out of different concerns. The regional groupings and the development of a regional economic strategy were mainly pursued as a means of gaining access to the UK and European funding. The establishment of an environmental forum and the production of the LEAP document, however, was a response to the local political leverage of environmental issues backed by the shift in government thinking. Finally, review of the 1980s structure plan was mainly encouraged by the emergence of a plan-led approach to development regulation and to some extent the county’s intention to “leave a mark” had the current local government reorganisation replace the two-tier system by the unitary authorities. Despite these variations, however, the driving forces behind these informal institutional innovations shared a common concern and that was a re-assertion of strategic direction. This strategic focus along with the creation of new arenas and involvement of new players has undoubtedly underpinned the process of plan-


making in Lancashire both in terms of its institutional relations and its substantive content. However, in its reflexion of these processes and in its articulation of the strategic issues, the plan-making exercise has been strongly influenced by the dominant power relations focused around economic objectives. The plan’s strategy is mainly driven by the support of two powerful interest groups: an alliance of business interests seeking to market the investment opportunities of the region and attract subsidy, and a dominant elected members’ preoccupation with job creation. ‘Clinging’ onto this is a growing environmental consciousness among some county officers and a few key politicians. Whilst the plan’s spatial policies present a clear translation of the dominant economic discourses, their articulation of the contemporary Environmental agenda is either ambiguous or based on fragile assumptions about powers and resources. Further, the plan’s conception of the environmental issues are still dominated by the marketized utilitarian approach combined with heritage conservation. The main reasons for this are: firstly the fact that the regional economic priorities have ‘crowded-out’ the radical environmental considerations; secondly, the limits set by central government on what is considered to be appropriate for a broad document such as structure plan and thirdly, the specific sectoral nature of the planning system in Britain. Hence, despite a number of innovative attempts in various aspects of planmaking exercise in Lancashire, the new structure plan did not fully endorse the dynamic forces which, outside the direct remit of planning system, led to both a consensus-building approach in development of the Environmental Forum and the awareness-raising nature of the Green Audit and the LEAP. However, the environmental momentum is still gaining strength in Lancashire. The county’s pioneering work on new environmental issues is now receiving international recognition. The Toronto-based International Council for Local Environmental Initiative has recognised Lancashire as a model community for Local Agenda 21 and the county will be the UK’s sole representative at next year’s Habitat II conference in Istanbul [33]. A review of Forum partners’ progress with the LEAP is due for publication in 1995. This aims to show the implementation of the LEAP’S proposals since its launch in 1993. The county is hoping to involve a broader cross-section of the public in its first update of the Green Audit, adopting the findings of a recently published research study on public perceptions of sustainability in Lancashire [34]. Given these dynamic processes, it will not be too optimistic, perhaps, to conclude that the next review of the structure plan in Lancashire will be more responsive to the wider context in which it operates and will move further along the line from rhetoric to substance in adopting the principles of sustainable development.



2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.

13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29.

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30. 31. 32. 33. 34.

Lancashire County Council (1993) Technical Report 13: Environmental Appraisal of the 1986–1996 Structure Plan. Department of the Environment (1993) Environmental Appraisal of Development Plans; A Good Practice Guide, London, HMSO. Lancashire County Council (1994) Technical Report 19: Environmental Appraisal of the 1991–2006 Structure Plan. Pritchard, S. (1995) Greening Roses, Planning Week, Vol 3, No 24, p.17 Macnaghten, P., Grove-White, R., Jacobs, M. Wynne, B. (1995) Public Perceptions and Sustainability in Lancashire, Lancashire County Council

Evaluation and planning process: methodological dimension Abdul Khakee Department of Political Science, Umeå University, S-901 87 Umeå, Sweden

ABSTRACT Two important developments in planning research and planning practice imply significant changes in theory and methods of evaluation. The first development relates to planning methodology. The rational planning model focused almost exclusively on a set of analytical and appraisal techniques related to specific planning phases including goal-making, goals-means analysis, design of alternative plans, evaluation of alternative plans, implementation and feedback. The last two phases were either neglected or deemphasized since the planning process was often regarded as the preparation of a plan document. Today planning methods include, in addition to analytical and appraisal techniques, forms of presentation of planning material, rhetorical ability, and openness and clarity in argumentation. In short, communicative aspects of the planning process are regarded as important as the analytical ones. The other development is the shift in emphasis from the plan as a source of policy formulation to the planning process during which policy commitments are made. It is no longer the plan as a document but the process which results in the preparation of the plan that is central to the decision-making process. Plans often represent a compromise about a set of broad policy outlines, whereas the planning process informs us about the actual negotiations on how and with what resources policies will be implemented. This paper accounts for the methods used during the first round of structure planning in Sweden. It analyses the impact of this choice of methods on the results of the planning process. Keywords: planning, evaluation, methodology, communication


1 ASSESSMENT OF PLANNING PROCESS Evaluation of planning or policy process poses a conceptual problem. Can the term ‘evaluation’ be used at all in judging or investigating such a process? A common thread in many of the definitions of ‘evaluation’ is the consistency between goals and performance. As such the concept cannot be applied to investigate the process leading to the preparation of a plan. In an earlier paper [1] it was proposed to use the term ‘assessment’ for this purpose. In his conceptual framework for evaluating planning efforts, Reade [2] distinguishes between ‘monitoring’, ‘review’ and ‘evaluation’. None of the terms are used to judge a policy or planning process. The nearest Reade comes to process evaluation is in his term ‘review’ which he defines as the “investigation of the changes in the environment in which the policy is being put into effect”. Minnery et al. [3] add a fourth term namely ‘assessment’ but they apply this term to ex ante evaluation in the planning process which they describe as “formulative activity…(involving) …second-guessing what might happen if alternative proposals were implemented”. According to them process evaluation is primarily concerned with “the extent to which a particular policy or programme is implemented according to its stated guidelines or intent”. Thus process is limited to implementation and not the entire plan-making exercise. The term ‘process evaluation’ is also used in another context namely evaluation of a substantive activity e.g. education, health care, etc. There is therefore a terminological confusion with regard to evaluative activities in and about planning. In the case of process assessment, it may be difficult to determine the consistency between objectives and performance until and unless the objective is a trivial one namely, the preparation of a plan. On the other hand the analysis of why the resulting plan did not live up to the intentions of the planning legislators and/or decision-makers is an important issue in the assessment of the planning process. In earlier papers [1, 4] the author raised the question as to why there is hardly any research about the assessment of planning process per se. This is especially astonishing as the emphasis, both in research and practice, has shifted from the plan to the process. Of course there is extremely valuable literature on planning practice carried out by the communicative action theorists [5, 6, 7]. Useful as this literature is about behavioural approaches, social learning, discourse arenas and rhetorical practice, it does not provide a systematic framework for investigating individual policy-making process. For example, the evaluation of the Cleveland planning experience by Krumholz and Forester [8], however useful, is limited to the role of planners, the consequences of their work and the qualities of their actions and judgements. Referring to a paper by Reade [2], they feel that there is a danger that methods of evaluating planning efforts are either “epistemologically promising” but “naively unrealistic” or “dubiously instructive but pragmatically apt”. A coherent theory and model(s) are, however, necessary


because it is during such a process that political commitments are made, conflicts exposed, alternative storylines made, relationships and alliances formed and reformed, strategies consolidated, collective preferences and individual values identified [see, for example 9]. Plans, however dialogical and communicative they may be, tend to present a dominating discourse rather than a discourse diversity. The analysis of the communicative work of plans is thus “only one part of the more general analysis of the discourse and ‘discourse making’” involved in the plan-making exercise [10]. The demise of the rational comprehensive planning model makes the evaluation of the planning process a difficult one. Current competitive orientations in planning theory—extending from the substantivist approach on the one hand and the rhetorical on the other—makes the task even more difficult. In an earlier paper [1], the author proposed an assessment model which covers a wide range of aspects of the planning process classified in normative, methodological and organizational dimensions of planning. The aim of this paper is to present only one dimension of the model namely the methodological one and illustrate its application in assessing the structure planning process as has been carried out by Swedish municipalities following the enactment of the Planning and Building Act and the Natural Resources Act in 1987. Besides this introduction, the paper consists of four sections. In the next section, the theoretical framework of the model as related to the methodological aspects of the planning process is discussed. The third section contains the application of the model to assess structure planning process. In the fourth section the relevance of the model for environmental impact assessment is addressed. The concluding section puts forward ideas about improving planning process with the help of process assessment. 2 METHODOLOGICAL ASPECTS Generically planning method means the application of knowledge to actions (decisions and policy measures), which takes into consideration the intertemporal requirements of the plan. Assessment of a planning process involves an investigation about how and why the actual process deviated from a standard recipe, if such a recipe exists. The rational comprehensive planning model provided a standard exposition of a planning method which consists of a number of procedures starting with problem identification and setting objectives and ending up with implementation, monitoring, feedback and review [see, for example 3, 11, 12]. An assessment of the procedural features of the planning process provides insight into the impact of the rational model on planning practice but also the impact of the various methodological criticisms against the rational model (e.g. incrementalism, value pluralism, planning-implementation dichotomy).


An increasing recognition about the prevalence of ‘wicked’ problems in the face of growing uncertainty, the inventors of the Strategic Choice methodology (also called the ‘IOR School’) [13, 14] presented a problem-structuring approach which has shifted attention from plan-making to decision-making. The IOR model emphasizes the cyclic nature of the planning process made up of four modes of activities—shaping, designing, comparing and choosing. An important message of this model is commitments rather than plans in the face of uncertainty. An assessment of the planning process with the Strategic Choice model in mind would be to find out to what extent uncertainty handling has compelled the planning process to divert from earlier planning procedures. As opposed to the comprehensive rational model, the IOR model rejects the notion of linearity between different procedures in planning. Working with cyclicity means that process assessment amounts to investigating a large number of subprocesses. We are still looking at the planning process from the lens of what Innes [15] calls “systematic thinking”. The communicative action theory de-emphasizes or even discards the procedural notion of a well-ordered set of events in favour of what its proponents describe as a “messy” planning process. However messy a planning process is, it nevertheless brings into play “knowing, understanding, appreciating, experiencing, and judging” [10] and the planning process takes place in a large number of formal and informal arenas. Moreover, traditions die hard. In the planning world there is still a tendency to start somewhere and end the process somewhere else. Assessment of the planning process should explain in what way were the different dimensions of knowing, understanding, etc. brought into play and why was that so. So the procedural aspect raises several questions: In what way did the planning procedure differ from the various stages of the rational comprehensive model? To what extent was planning incremental? To what extent planning addresses questions of implementation? What lessons were learned in the procedure adopted? To what extent was planning a professional exercise? How did the discourse(s) act as a means of coordinating diverse actors in the plan-making process? How did the arenas of plan-making evolve? How did they facilitate different steps in developing policy ideas and consensus? In short, what were the significant features of the planning procedure? Another methodological aspect is the use of knowledge in the planning process. According to [16] the rational comprehensive model rested on four propositions, “first, that factual questions can be easily distinguished from questions of value; second, that the methods of science can be used to resolve empirical questions of fact without relying in any way on individual values; third, that values are matters of personal taste or preference that cannot be empirically supported or rationally defended; and finally, that public officials in a representative democracy…have no right to impose their subjective personal values, goals or ideals on the public at large”. To these can be added a fifth proposition that planning primarily makes use of “processed knowledge” based


on “other people’s measurement and systematic observations” and does not use “personal knowledge” based on “the experience of the knower with the facts at hand” [17]. Not only are these assumptions false but also that planning practice is value-permeated, manipulative (rigorous scientific techniques are used to get support of a preferred set of values) and personal-knowledge biased [see, for example 8, 6, 15, 18]. This poses a formidable challenge in assessing knowledge- and value-related issues in the plan-making process. What was the role of processed and personal knowledge? How did planners combine facts and values? How was technical information transformed into action-oriented discourse of politics? What array of language tools were used in reporting, evaluating, recommending and so on? How was processed knowledge made available to and used by actors in the planning process? How were planning tools such as survey research, forecasting and projections used? To what extent were these tools used to discover facts? And to what extent were they used as “rhetorical tropes”? In short, how was planning as a communicative process structured epistemologically? A third methodological aspect includes substantive, spatial and temporal relationships which a plan covers. No plan can be purely physical, economic or social. A physical plan has invariably political and economic dimensions. Likewise, economic and social plans have spatial and physical impacts [8]. Spatial coverage is determined by the nature of the plan e.g. a city plan covers a city geographically. Likewise a county plan covers the entire county territory. A more underlining aspect of spatial coverage relates to the extent of attention paid to urban and non-urban (rural, agriculture, parks, etc.) components of the city or region under question. De Fano and Grittani [19] point out that the latter are often treated as “residual elements” in plans. Finally, there is the relationship between knowledge and intertemporarily arranged actions. Uncertainty is a crucial feature in developing a policy agenda which takes into consideration the impact of current and impending policies on future policies. According to the instrumental planning perspective uncertainty can be resolved by means of forecasts, projections and predictions [20]. According to the IOR School, there are three broad types of uncertainty pertaining to the working environment, guiding values and related decision areas. These different categories of uncertainty require different kinds of response. Above all, uncertainty management requires “structuring complex problems” and “learning to co-exist” with uncertainty [21]. The communicative planning approach emphasizes the ways in which language, discourse, and rhetoric construct substantive, spatial and temporal relationships [18]. The questions we must ask here are: How did the planners coordinate physical, economic and social dimensions of planning? How did they coordinate different departments’ planning efforts? What common planning premises were developed? How were the sectoral interests treated during the planning process? To what extent was attention paid to the non-urban elements of the plan? What was the trade-off between territorial and functional aspects of planning? How did


the planner perceive the temporal dimensions of the planning process? How did the consideration of the temporal dimension differ in the current planning efforts with earlier long-term planning? What degree of confidence did they place in different types of projections and forecasts? How did they manage uncertainty? Did planning efforts change during the planning process—from solving problems to structuring them? If so, what was its impact on the planning process? 3 ASSESSMENT RESULTS In 1987, the Swedish Parliament enacted two legislations which may in the longrun change the nature and contents of municipal planning. They are a part of the decentralization of policy responsibility from the central to the local governments. The Planning and Building Act requires each municipality to prepare a structure plan (“översiktsplan”) outlining future urban growth and the use of land and water resources within its physical boundary. The Act rescinds the requirement of obtaining approval of the final draft of the plan from the county and central government. The structure plan has to be approved by the municipal council. Its function is advisory except when and if parts of the plan are included in development plans (“detaljplaner”). The Act emphasizes local democracy by requiring the municipal government to consult municipal citizens and interest groups as well as neighbouring municipalities (in the case of intermunicipal issues). The Act places no restrictions on the municipalities with regards to the contents of the plan as long as the structure plan accounts for national interests as enumerated in the Natural Resources Act. The latter extends local government’s planning responsibilities beyond their traditional bounds of controlling urban growth and renewal to nature conservation and environmental management. Methodologically the assessment of the planning process should provide interesting insight into the implications of these developments. Three sets of studies were designed for this purpose: examination of structure plans in order to find out how they reflect the planning process, questionnaire survey among planners and politicians responsible for plan-making, and in-depth interviews with planners and decision-makers in five municipalities. 3.1 Procedural features The plans provide very little information about the procedure followed in planmaking. Only 11 per cent of the plans present a rough outline of the process but hardly any plan discusses the methods used in various stages of the planning process. Two phases, however, receive some attention, namely the goal-means analysis and implementation. The former is discussed in relation to the


legislative requirement, namely that the structure plans should delineate national interests. As opposed to operative plans, the function of strategic plans is to provide guidelines for the subsidiary plans. A majority of the plans contained some observations about how the intentions of the structure plans would be translated in subsidiary plans. The procedural planning theory has had considerable impact on Swedish urban planners. It was not surprising to note that 65 per cent of the interviewed planners replied that the structure planning process more or less followed the procedural model, starting with goal-formulation and ending up with implementation and feedback. However, 35 per cent of the respondents contended that the plan-making process differed from the theoretical model. It was much more complicated owing to extensive negotiations within and outside the local government. Significant in this context is the fact that over two-thirds of the respondents said that regardless of the procedure followed, plan-making was very much an incremental process in the sense that structure planning did not imply a drastic departure from previous development commitments. Proposed changes were marginal and in very few cases planning involved lofty ideas or grand scenarios of the future. The research shows a considerable, lingering faith in the rational planning thinking defined in terms of goals-means analysis, the choice of the best possible (!) set of policies with the help of evaluation methods. However, very few of the interviewed planners could elaborate upon this faith. Moreover, there were contradictions in the answers to subsequent questions. A majority of the planners felt that there was very little discussion about alternatives. The design of and choice among alternatives being an important aspect of the rational model. What did the planning procedure look like in practice? The following two excerpts come from in-depth interviews with two planners; one a local government official and another a consultant responsible for coordinating and preparing the plan proposal. The local government official describes the procedure as follows: Planning involved officials from different departments presenting basic data, other type of information and our own ideas on various issues which the consultant had outlined. On some occasions we got together in a group to discuss an issue at hand and than prepared our written statements. The consultant prepared a draft which we then discussed together. The consultant then revised the draft. Plan-making was very much a question of a dialogue. We naturally carried out a dialogue in our department. I experienced a kind of change in my perceptions about different issues. It is difficult to describe the change in one’s role. The process very much depended on the persons involved. In a small municipality like ours, it is easy to get on with people. We met over a cup of coffee and many other informal occasions. The dialogue continued with other people from other departments. We kept on building


our knowledge as well as compromising on policy proposals. Negotiations continued as long as we had a clear conscience to accept certain proposals. We stopped negotiating internally and let external interests negotiate with us when we had stretched as far as our conscience allowed us. The consultant’s description resembles that of the local government official but she emphasizes the coordination aspects: The planning process was a step-by-step process. As the consultant responsible for preparing the structure plan I talked to local government officials on different topics. I then prepared a rough draft of each issue. I sent the draft to the departments concerned. It was a kind of-miniconsultation (“mini-remiss”). They had a week or at the most a fortnight to come up with suggestions and comments. I made changes according to these. In case of contradictory suggestions, we had a meeting to resolve these contradictions. I then prepared an amended draft which was sent to a special planning committee (made up of leading politicians plus members of certain boards—my comment). I had a general runthrough of each draft with these politicians. They took the draft to discuss with their party colleagues before coming up with amendments and suggestions. I must say that there was a surprisingly large line-up of the politicians. Often the comments meant small adjustments in the draft. In a few cases, extensive amendments were called for. Political conflicts were few. There seemed to exist some kind of a consensus which has existed in the municipality for a long time. There is a strong planning tradition which meant that nearly all politicians saw the need for long-term planning. The previous generations of planners had about the same conception of planmaking as that of building a house. The result of plan-making was a map with a survey of various issues necessary for carrying out development according to the map, just as the drawing of the house was considered adequate to set about building it. To-day the planners and decision-makers have a different approach to plan-making and the role of a structure plan. Plan-making is seen as a discourse and the plan as a means to aid the discourse. But customs die hard. There is still a lingering belief among planners that plans have an automatic power of accomplishment. It is no wonder that responses from the planners and politicians were contradictory. Nearly two thirds of the respondents said that the plan was a technocratic product (prepared by professional planners or consultants) with planning drafts discussed by the municipal executive board or a special planning committee at the end of the process. Plans were documents for ‘internal use’. Nearly half of the respondents said that the plans were not easily accessible to the general public and that plans should include less of legal and technical matter and more good maps and illustrations, appealing summaries and generally more readable


contents. The lack of accessibility to the plan and plan-making also affected the extent to which plans were revised as a result of public comments and suggestions. 82 per cent of the interviewed planners said that public comments had very little or no impact on the final draft of the plan! On the whole there was poor interest on the part of the public in plan-making since it was not an open discourse. The only popular movements which were able to participate at some stages of the discourse were the environmental organizations and to a lesser extent tenants associations and local folklore societies. These sentiments are echoed in the following two statements by two leading planners in two municipalities with an above-average record of public participation: Structure plans should as far as possible aim to inform the public about how the community shall be developed. We have not succeeded in involving the public in the plan-making process. In fact a very tiny portion of the population knows what a structure plan is. People react only when they find out on the map that there is another colour for the land they own. At several public meetings in large urban places members of the public were as many as the public officials. But in some places, especially smaller rural centres, public participation was quite high and there was some heated public discussion. Perhaps structure planning touches the real situation out there. Some municipalities appointed reference groups made up of representatives of popular movements and neighbourhoods. Municipalities selected such people; which was not democratic. Often when the plans were put on public display, small boring notices were published in the local newspapers. Copies of the plan were placed in the public libraries where very few people read them. Plans were often sent to a large number of public associations. It created an impression that there was a great degree of participation but often there was one person who represented several associations. What appeared to be comments by several organizations were often comments by one and the same person. The following comes from our second leading planner: We have talked for the last 20 years that the public should come into the planning-process at an earlier stage. I have as yet not discovered an attractive approach for doing this. How many people are interested in structure planning? Less than 1 per cent of the population. How many more can we reach? Structure plans should be prepared in a completely different way than they are prepared today. We are bound by conventions in preparing and presenting plans. We present a few maps, some illustrations and so on. We should actually forget all these and think in terms of completely new types of information for the public. Perhaps we need journalists to help us with this. Some municipalities have succeeded


better but on the whole planners as a profession are not good at making their work accessible. We are used to negotiation with state agencies and specialist interests. We have a particular language for discourse. We can communicate with political parties. We know how the politicians talk. But how do we go about engaging people who are not politically interested? Plan-making should be more than a professional or a political process, it should be a popular process. Structure planning processes were carried out during economic boom. Despite that many of those involved in the process were aware of the uncertainty facing the Swedish economy. Moreover there were a large number of major political and economic uncertainties e.g. the Swedish membership in the European Union (which was finally decided in the referendum in 1994), the impact of the disintegration of the Soviet Union, and the future of nuclear power. Nine out of ten municipalities made some efforts to manage uncertainty. On the other hand every other planner complained that too little time was devoted to problem structuring. Legislative requirements, too much emphasis on data collection, and the deadline for getting the plan ready were put forward as major reasons for this. Using the IOR-school’s classification of three types of uncertainty: uncertainty about the environment outside the planning system (UE), uncertainty about decisions in related decision areas (UR) and uncertainty about value judgements (UV), planners were asked to place uncertainty in order of intensity and name methods used to manage the uncertainty. UR was considered to be greatest and most of the respondents mentioned attempts to cooperate with county administration, neighbouring municipalities and local business associations during various phases of structure planning. UE was the next important type of uncertainty, which was best managed by projections, forecasts and investigations. UV was considered best managed with the help of alternative plans but this was seldom done. 3.2 Epistemological aspects Instrumental knowledge dominates planning processes. Even if we agree with Thorgmorton [7] in his contention that quantitative data, forecasts, projections, etc. are part and parcel of the rhetorical project, our findings show that planners and decision-makers still stick to this type of knowledge. There is, however, increasing weariness towards this type of knowledge. The economic crisis in the 1970s and the political crisis in the 1980s have decreased planners’ faith in forecasts and projections. There is an increasing recognition that strategic decision-making requires more than quantitative investigations. The following comments by a planner illustrate this situation:


In order to make strategic decisions, it is necessary to liberate oneself from basic data. My experience tells me that it is easy to get drowned in the collection and compilation of data. When one has worked through all the data, there is simply no energy left to develop strategies. Data collection should be issue-focused. Once we have decided on an issue for which we are to develop a strategy, we should concentrate facts and ideas about that issue and disregard other facts. Structure plans are essentially physical plans with emphasis on urban growth and nature conservation. Municipalities have interpreted the contents and the role of the plan in many different ways—from strategic development plans to purelyland-use maps. None of the plans have been developed with reference to detailed economic, political and social analysis. Social and economic issues were more implicit. Structure plans often gave information about the need of various social services without analysing how social conditions would change in the next ten years. Moreover, it was difficult to integrate such knowledge in the overall assessment of urban growth. Assessment of plans and plan-making shows that planners were not satisfied with the state of knowledge about social conditions. Many planners complained about the lack of adequate knowledge with regards to life style, living conditions and citizen preferences. Two different comments illustrate shortcomings in knowledge available for planning. One emphasized the difficulty in integrating different types of knowledge: When the Social Services Act came into force (in 1982—my comment), social welfare officers became actively involved in urban planning. Social considerations were to be taken into account in the planning of housing areas, industrial sites, etc. Many of the ambitions then were never accomplished. In the beginning of the structure planning process, I had difficulty in conceiving the whole menu of plans that would follow the work with structure planning. My misgivings turned out to be justified. It has been difficult to sew together conservation, social welfare, etc. in a small, concrete and legible plan. The other comment emphasized the under-representation of women as an important reason for epistemological shortcomings: Women are in a minority both among leading decision-makers as well as local government officials. Plan-making would have been different if women had stronger representation. Women find it easier to pay attention to ordinary people’s opinions. Too many men in a planning discourse tend to cherish technical suggestions. Women are prone to emphasize soft issues.


A majority of planners meant that processed knowledge tended to dominate the planning process. This often led to irritation and conflicts. The latter specially arose in cases where there were fundamental value conflicts e.g. road building versus environment protection, nature conservancy versus recreation. Six out of ten planners contended that conflicts were exposed and discussed during the planning process. The remainder meant that conflicts were suppressed in the good old Swedish tradition! A majority of the plans, however, do not present an account of conflicts between different goals and interests. This lack of conflict analysis can be explained by the ambition of most local governments to provide a final document which expressed a consensus among planners and policymakers. The following comments by a planner succinctly summarize the post-rational dilemma in the use of knowledge in the planning process: Planning meant making political judgements. There is a built-in conflict between professional planners’ assertions on technical knowledge and politicians who tended to refer to past experience. Professional knowledge tended to focus on certain preconceived solutions whereas political considerations required to leave the solutions more open. There was another conflict in the structure planning process. The municipality needed to show its intentions to the people, state agencies and other municipalities. On the other hand, uncertainty required flexibility. In presenting alternative future developments, we cannot at the same time express our determination to carry out certain intentions. What we really need is a process whereby we can present alternatives as well as intentions in specific policy areas. 3.3 Substantive, spatial and temporal relationships Structure planning was regarded by a majority of municipalities primarily as physical planning in the same fashion as earlier years’ master planning. Besides presenting the necessary background information about economic and social development, most of the plans did not contain any analysis of the social and economic impact of land use. Besides the legislative requirement, planners felt that the discussion of substantive relationships would imply conflicts and was best left to subsidiary plans. Quite a few municipalities had a ‘project approach’ where broad introductory and often superficial discussion of the context was followed by presentation of projects or planning items district by district. In several municipalities road-projects, however, gave rise to conflicts which compelled them to analyse these projects more comprehensively in order to get a picture of all the advantages and disadvantages. Otherwise most municipalities relied on the traditional Swedish approach for obtaining substantive relationships, namely, the organizational approach. In the


mid-1970s, the Swedish Association of Local Authorities (“Kommunförbundet”) launched the so-called GPF-model whereby all boards in the local government were to work on the same assumptions (common goals, data-bank, projections, etc.) with the municipal executive board (“kommunstyrelsen”) entrusted with co-ordinating functions. Not all municipalities have retained this model but those that have based their structure planning on the common planning premises have managed to make good use of the organizational approach. The following comments provide an ample description of attempts to coordinate different dimensions of planning: Structure planning has in one form or the other existed in the municipalities but it is actually the first time that knowledge from different sectors was put together during the plan-making process. In earlier planning, it was a matter of role-play—a kind of tennis match. In current plan-making, departments were able to provide both knowledge and opinion. It meant a changed status for the boards and departments. This partly gave greater opportunity to influence and that seems assuring. It also meant an interdepartmental negotiation about what kind of information would provide the greatest possible impact. Formerly sectorial participation meant saying yes or no to proposals. There is a difference between providing knowledge and just commenting on it. It implies a more active role. One is often compelled to examine what one’s own judgement involves and what one’s role is in the final draft of the plan. A more cautious comment came from another planner: Generally the work with structure planning was organised so that there were about 15 working groups with representation from nearly all municipal departments. The composition of each group depended on the planning issue under discussion. Those involved in the process became interested in planning and obtained a good appreciation of what structure planning was all about. It was in this way a relationship creating process. However, representatives from different departments showed different appreciation for structure planning. Certain departments, like the one dealing with social welfare had difficulties in getting into the planning process. Some departments think and argue in a different way and do not know which resources to use in order to fulfill planned objectives. What municipalities lack is not an organizational framework to achieve coordination but a theory and methodology to do that. A cautious attitude prevailed among municipalities with regards to the temporal relationship. A majority of the structure plans presented a time horizon but they also pointed out the need for revising the plan at shorter intervals. As mentioned above appreciation of different types of uncertainty made many planners


apprehensive of long-term planning. A small minority of the structure plans were ambitious enough to show the interplay between future opportunities for business development, building operations and investments in social capital. The aim was not to direct investments but to point out various options. One of the planners put the whole issue of temporal relationship in the following way: Structure plan is essentially a physical plan but various proposals for landuse have to be analysed in relation to some kind of economic investigation. However, the time span for municipal long-term budget has become shorter and shorter. In the 1970s attempts were made to harmonize economic and physical aspects. In reality it was difficult to link them together. What we have achieved is a kind of iterative process—we try to accommodate land-use decisions in relation to what we expect to happen in the economic context. It is a kind of dialogue. Now that we have to take into consideration the ecological dimension, we face a methodological and political challenge. Suddenly our previous problems with time horizons and temporal relationships appear to be minor ones in relation to what ecologically-based planning would require. 4 PROCESS EVALUATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has come into use in Sweden very recently. Although both the Planning and Building Act and the Natural Resources Act mention the advisability of using EIA yet it was first in 1991 that EIA became compulsory in conjunction with large development projects, especially those having large environmental impact. However, the Swedish environmental legislation does not provide any guidelines about what EIA should include. Moreover, since there is no uniform definition of EIA, different practices have evolved with regards to the application of EIA. In Sweden it has focused on physical aspects (water, air, land, noise and resource conservation) [22]. In practice, a distinction is made between EIA for projects and in plans. Environmental evaluation in plans is less directed towards a specific issue but deals with a complex system of intertemporarily related decisions. A more specific term “Strategic Environmental Assessment” is used in the latter case [23]. So far very few Swedish municipalities have developed a systematic way for integrating EIA in the planning process. Environmental questions have come into the planning process as sectoral issues [24]. Integration of EIA with structure planning involves several questions: What are the differences between the EIA process and the structure planning process? In what phase of the structure planning process should EIA be carried out? How should EIA be developed with


respect to various phases of the planning process? What are its implication for the role and organization of the municipal planning authority? The empirical studies by Hilding-Rydevik [24] and Balfors [22] provide some information which can be used in evaluating an integrated EIA/structure planning process. Procedural planning theory is of little guidance since integrated planning involves major changes in the conventional planning stages—goal setting, designing, choosing and implementation. EIA has to be initiated early in the planning process. It introduces difficulties in predicting consequences since the socioeconomic rationale comes into conflict with the ecological rationale. Moreover, there are epistemological restrictions in arriving at a proper trade-off between socioeconomic and ecological considerations. EIA emphasizes providing systematic knowledge about the “impact of an action on the biogeophysical environment” [25]. In some ways this emphasis on systematic provision of knowledge is not entirely in keeping with the negotiative/ communicative approach to planning. Citizen participation is not only considered to be a very important aspect in EIA but also that such participation should come at an early stage in the process. To be useful an integrated EIA/structure plan needs to be communicated in terms understandable by the public. Ecological considerations eke out all the three types of uncertainty. All these put added procedural requirements on the integrated EIA/ structure planning. An integrated EIA/structure planning approach poses several epistemological problems. Emphasis until now has been on the need of ecological competence and environmental data at the local level. At the same time many issues need a combination of both processed and personal knowledge. For example, ecological thinking in building and location require biogeophysical knowledge but also about what people consider is an acceptable level for ‘living ecologically’. The interplay between facts and values is important in all issues involving balanced decisions about growth and conservation. Use of processed knowledge is important in arriving at ecologically sound solutions but robust solutions also require a discourse with the public who in the end are important in implementing the solutions. There is a tendency to use some of the technical knowledge and methods to arrive at this knowledge as rhetorical tropes. However this is necessary in integrated planning. For example, the provision of green space is not only important for recreation and health of the community but also a part of the urban ecological system. Convincing the community at large requires persuasive devices. An integrated EIA/structure planning process involves quite different considerations of substantive, intertemporal and territorial relationships than the structure planning process carried out on its own. As mentioned above, Swedish municipalities have handled environmental issues from a sectoral stance. They lack an organization which can give environmental issues a central place in municipal decision-making. The environmental and health protection board does not have the same status as boards dealing with housing and construction,


infrastructure and economic matters. Integrated planning would need a holistic approach for achieving ecological balance. Such an approach would require centrally placed decision-makers and local government officials to manage ecological issues. Territorially, the conventional delimitation of areas corresponding to administrative regions does not correspond to the prevailing natural conditions. Ecological considerations would, for example, require territorial delimitation to correspond to outflow area or to some other aspects of the ecosystem. Likewise, integrated planning would have to be carried out within time constraints which are different from those needed if structure planning was carried on its own. Eventual difference in the time span for integrated planning has not only quantitative but also qualitative implications since long-term ecological considerations require different commitments from the society. 5 IMPROVING THE PLANNING PROCESS This paper presents a model for assessing the methodological dimension of the planning process and its application to the structure planning process in Sweden. It also briefly discusses additional aspects if structure planning with its urban growth bias was to be integrated with EIA. The model is based on a simple framework which includes major variables related to planning procedure, use of knowledge and values, and substantive, spatial and temporal relationships. The paper raises several questions. Is a systematic evaluation/assessment of the planning process important? If it is, how should one make it? How would such an assessment contribute towards the improvement of the process? Both post-modern and critical theory emphasize the communicative nature of the planning process. In fact the communicative approach has been advanced as the postrational planning theory replacing the rational model [15]. An important contribution towards a communicative theory of planning is to develop a set of criteria for evaluating the planning process. At an empirical level, the assessment throws light on some central methodological issues in the planning process. The well-defined planning procedure according to the rational comprehensive model is no longer relevant in the face of ‘wicked’ problems and the ‘messy’ nature of communicative planning. Our assessment shows that the Swedish structure planning pays inadequate attention to problem structuring and uncertainty management during the planning process. Nor do those involved in the planning process fully appreciate the importance of rhetorical tropes and other communicative devices. Improving the planning process would require proper consideration of the uncertain nature as well as the persuasive character of the process. Although there is an increasing recognition that processed knowledge alone cannot be used to solve planning problems, personal knowledge is also


important. However, the former continues to dominate the planning discourse. This has to do with the subordinate role of community interests including politicians in relation to professional planners. It has also to do with the dearth of knowledge about every day life and aspirations of the people. Improving the planning process would require restructuring the planning process epistemologically. A major task of structure planning was to identify substantive, territorial and temporal relationships. This was not given prominence in the plan-making exercises. It may have to do with the strict interpretation given to structure planning as essentially land-use planning. It may also have to do with the routinelike consideration of these relationships. Furthermore, there was certain weariness about any kind of comprehensiveness in the planning effort. Whatever the reason, improving the planning process would require proper examination of the interplay between social, economic and environmental goals of planning in an appropriate time and spatial context. REFERENCES 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

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Khakee, A. (1994) A methodology for assessing structure planning process. Environment and Planning B, Vol. 21, pp. 441–51. Reade, E. (1983) Monitoring in planning, in Evaluating Urban Planning Efforts, (ed. I. Masser), Gower, Aldershot, pp. 223–38. Minnery, J. et al. (1993) Evaluation in urban planning. Australian Planner, Vol. 31, pp. 8–13. Khakee, A. (1995) Politics, methods and planning culture, in Remaking the Welfare State, (eds. A.Khakee, I.Elander and S.Sunesson), Avebury, Aldershot, pp. 275–96. Forester, J. (1989) Planning in the Face of Power, University of California Press, Berkeley. Healey, P. (1992) Planning through debate: the communicative turn in planning theory. Town Planning Review, Vol. 63, No. 2, pp. 143–62. Thorgmorton, J.A. (1993) Survey research as rhetorical trope: electric power planning arguments in Chicago, in The Argumentative Turn in Policy Analysis and Planning, (eds. F. Fischer and J. Forester), Duke University Press, London, pp. 117–44. Krumholz, N. and Forester, J. (1990) Making Equity Planning Work, Temple University Press, Philadelphia. Forester, J. (1993) Learning from practice stories: the priority of practical judgement, in The Argumentative Turn in Policy Analysis and Planning, op.cit., pp. 186–209. Healey, P. (1993) The communicative work of development plans, in Process & Policy Evaluation in Structure Planning, (eds. A.Khakee and K.Eckerberg), Swedish Council for Building Research, Stockholm, pp. 30–62. Faludi, A. (1973) Planning Theory, Pergamon Press, Oxford. Khakee, A. (1983) Municipal Planning: Restrictions, Methods and Organizational Problems, Swedish Council for Building Research, Stockholm.


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Faludi, A. (1987) A Decision-Centred View of Environmental Planning, Pergamon Press, Oxford. Friend, J. and Hickling, A. (1987) Planning Under Pressure: The Strategic Choice Approach, Pergamon Press, Oxford. Innes, J. (1994) Planning theory’s emerging paradigm: communicative action and interactive practice. Journal of Planning Education and Research, forthcoming. Klosterman, R.E. (1983) Fact and value in planning. Journal of the American Institute of Planners, Vol. 49, pp. 216–25. Friedmann, J. (1973) Retracking America: A Theory of Transactive Planning, Doubleday Anchor, Garden City (NY). Thorgmorton, J.A. (1991) The rhetorics of policy analysis. Policy Sciences, Vol. 24, pp. 153–79. De Fano, G. and Grittani, G. (1993) Evaluation of urban-rural areas. Paper for the workshop on Evaluating Theory-Practice & Urban-Rural Interplay in Planning held at the International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies, Valenzano (BA). Rosenhead, J. (1989) Rational Analysis for a Problematic World, Wiley, Chichester. Hickling, A. (1989) Gambling with frozen fire? in Rational Analysis for a Problematic World, (ed. J.Rosenhead), Wiley, London, pp. 159–92. Balfors, B. (1994) Miljökonsekvensbeskrivning i arbetet med fördjupad översiktsplan (Environmental Impact Assessment in Detailed Structure Plans), Swedish Council for Building Research, Stockholm. Verheem, R. (1992) Environmental assessment at the strategic level in the Netherlands. Project Appraisal, Vol. 7, pp. 150–6. Hilding-Rydevik, T. (1990) Miljökonsekvensbeskrivning i kommunal planering: förutsättningar samt fîrslag till arbetsmetodik (Environmental Impact Assessment for Municipal Planning: Requirements and Proposals for Two EIA-Procedures) Department of Land and Water Resources, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm. Munn, R.E. (1975) Environmental Impact Assessment. Principles and Procedures, Wiley, Chichester.

Environmental assessment in land use planning: a rhetorical approach Alberico Zeppetella Turin Polytechnic, Turin, Italy

ABSTRACT Environmental Impact Assessment is usually applied to specific development proposals. This incremental approach seems to be realistic; nevertheless, it will meet some difficulties in facing cumulative effects and irreversibility problems. The paper discusses if and on what conditions a plan can be assessed by a technique like EIA. After defining these conditions, the paper tries to verify their appropriateness in practice, by discussing the EIA of the land-use plan of Aosta, Italy. The sketch of the more relevant issues of the impact study illustrates the central hypotheses proposed by the paper: (i) assessment methodologies, as decision-aid tools, are problem-setting rather than problem-solving techniques; (ii) their form is rather argumentative than demonstrative: being based on disputable judgments, searching a negotiated consensus between involved actors, they seem to belong to the field of rhetorics. Keywords: Environmental Impact Assessment, multicriteria analysis, land-use planning, decision-making, negotiation, rhetorics. 1 INTRODUCTION Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a part of the authorization procedure for projects which are expected to have a considerable effect on the environment. “Environment”, according to the various national regulations, means natural assets, or, in broader terms, the whole system of interactions between territorial (natural and constructed) resources and established human activities. The EIA is usually applied to major development proposals. The EEC directive too, in its preamble, states that the environmental impact assessment intends to consolidate the authorization procedures for public and private projects with considerable environmental impact (see EEC Directive of 27 June 1985).


On the contrary, the USA National Environmental Policy Act—which first introduced the EIA—establishes that “(…) policies, regulations and public laws” of the United States must be assessed from an environmental point of view; and that an environmental statement must be included “(…) in every recommendation or report on proposals for legislation and other major Federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment” (National Environmental Policy Act, PL 91–190, December 31, 1969, Section 102, subparagraph [C]). It should be mentioned that a Community directive defines the minimum field for application of the environmental assessment procedure. Annex I and II of the EEC Directive list the works where the EIA is to be considered either obligatory or optional respectively. Italian National legislation applies the EIA solely to large-scale works (see Ministerial Decree no. 377, August 10, 1988, and Ministerial Decree December 27, 1988), although, more recently, some Italian regions have developed regulations that include environmental assessment also for territorial and town planning. An example of these is the Regione Autonoma Valle d’Aosta to which the author refers as a case study (see Regional Law no. 6, March 4, 1991). The EEC is now discussing possibilities of issuing a new EIA directive, to update its present content. One theme under discussion is whether to extend the EIA to planning tools (energy or transport national or regional plans, structure or strategic plans, land use plans). The paper briefly discusses some of the main theoretical points concerning this issue. 2 THE THEORY: SOME MAIN POINTS 2.1 Incremental ism and assessment Limiting assessment to the larger development proposals seems coherent with the realistic decision-making approach of disjointed incrementalism. It is true, however, that this approach will encounter some difficulties. First, taking into account cumulative effects would be difficult. The marginal consequences of some actions may be singularly irrelevant, but they may, by synergy, produce quite serious results. For example, pollution produced by small agricultural or industrial companies. Many small transformations, jointly, can produce undesirable effects. This has been observed by several authors, even recognising the innovative nature of disjointed incrementalism (cf. for all, [1]). Another problem is presented in a well-known text written by C.E.Lindblom, the founder of incrementalism, and by A.O.Hirschman [2]. The only serious divergence between the two is with regard to the role that Hirschman attributes to the ex-ante assessment of the effects of decisions. For Hirschman, proceeding


by trial and error does not take into consideration the fact that many decisions produce consequences on subsequent options, restricting opportunities of future decision-makers. This last observation is particularly important when considering the environmental resources. Their evolutive dynamics are often very different from those of economical systems. On one hand, environmental phenomena have slower evolution rates. Processes such as eutrophication of a lake or pollution in a water stratum, for example, are usually noticed long after their occurrence. On the other, once these processes are underway, they are often irreversible. If not, they require a much longer time span to return to normal. Moreover, many environmental attributes are not renewable and cannot be substituted. This concerns the primary natural resources, and also works of art and historical heritage. In these cases subsequent attempts to rectify the damage may be useless, since changing course is impossible. Finally, an assessment made exclusively for the single project could produce duplicate studies, lateness, increase in costs and uncertainties. An assessment applied to general strategic choices may thus permit saving in both public and private costs and accelerate decision making times. If these considerations seem convincing, it would be worthwhile discovering if the impact assessment could be an integral part of decision making processes for plans, particularly those concerning land-use. 2.2 On what conditions can a plan be assessed? There are good reasons to be perplexed about applying the EIA to plans. After all, this is quite a radical novelty compared with the conventional approach of social appraisal. The scope of the latter is a technically definite development project. On the contrary, the lacking, or imprecise definition of specific actions, the imprecision about costs, the vagueness in timing, etc make assessments of plans quite difficult. Moreover, it is sometimes argued that many policies and guidelines included in plans are of a predominantly symbolic nature. Then, what are the conditions that make it possible to assess a set of intentions —such as a policy or a plan? It is suggested that the following items are required: 1 The actions that will make a set of intentions become fact should be defined; 2 The criteria assessing such actions should be explicit (by which the proposals can be justified); 3 The consequences of actions concerning these criteria should be formally analyzed; 4 The arguments as to why the consequences of the proposed actions are preferable to both the present situation as it stands, and to the consequences of other alternative actions, should be expressed and discussed.


An attempt will be made here to exemplify through a case study how, and in what measure, verifying the existence of the these four conditions in assessing a land-use plan is possible. First, however, a fundamental issue to give a sense to the previous points listed will be discussed. 2.3 Assessment and argument The theoretical approach to which this paper refers considers assessment as a presentation of reason for and against a proposal, and not as a demonstration. This means that it should not be considered as a process in which analysis of the effects are compared with rules of decisions already defined as absolute. In other words it means surpassing the still prevailing idea, that assessments belong to the classical paradigm of normal science (where the reference is of course to Kuhn [3]). Applying this paradigm to assessments means, first of all, dividing the facts from the values, and consequently basing judgement entirely on the former. It also means assuming that quantitative observations, the so-called objective data, are the only legitimate basis for the analysis, and therefore attempting to eliminate the qualitative and ambiguous aspects from the discussion. Assessments are consequently perceived as standardized procedures of verifiable empirical hypotheses (or at least falsifiable). Consequently, one presumes that the assessment can always prescribe decisions univocally based on observations treated with formal technical tools. The quality of predictive analysis produced by different sectors is decisive in an impact assessment, and at times it is possible to derive a decision rule from such an analysis. For example if foreseen effects are incompatible with a threshold defined by law, or if they make a serious and certain threat to human health and safety. But situations are not usually so clear-cut. As a rule, choices are based on preferences, values and interests, on which there is no complete agreement between involved institutional and social actors. Opposition between demonstration and argument can be defined as follows ([4], pp 22–23): (i) demonstration is based on a formal system of axioms and rules of inference; while argument starts from opinion, convictions, values and viewpoints, it uses dialectics, but is not confined to the strict limits of a deductive system of formal propositions; (ii) demonstration is addressed (with an aim to convince) to whoever has the appropriate knowledge to understand its contents, while argument is always directed to a specific audience and attempts to cause or increase support from its members; (iii) argument does not attempt solely to provoke an intellectual consensus as does demonstration; it tries to create a tendency to collaborate with an action or, at least, not to oppose it. The seminal contribution by Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca strongly underlines these last two points ([5], see also [6]), and has rediscovered rhetorics as “the art of convincing” and dialectics as “the syntax of reasoning”. This


rediscovery has touched not only the planning theory and the policy analysis fields, but also (although to a lesser degree) economics, which has often had the ambition to allude to the disciplinary statute of normal science [7]. For the present discussion, the relationship with a specific audience and with creating a consensus are the basic requisites for defining assessment as an argumentative practice of justification, that is, a rhetoric procedure in a deliberative context (for a similar approach to planning practice, and a casestudy, see [8]). Assessment is firstly an aid to the decision, that is an instrument to better the quality of interaction between concerned institutional and social actors, to make the conflicting points more explicit, to favour negotiation, to make cooperation possible. This theoretical aspect is intended to make more clear both the reasoning about the requisites that make it possible to assess a plan, and the expounding of the case-study. Before moving to the latter, we will take a brief look at the reasoning behind the former. 2.4 Actions, criteria, effect analysis, choice 2.4.1 Defining the actions for assessment One must first define the actions before they can be assessed. This does not mean that development proposals should be detailed. An early assessment means consideration of a wide range of alternatives (not only project variants but also alternatives to the project; on this point see [9]). Today there are multicriteria assessment methodologies available which can manipulate quantitative and qualitative information, observations and opinions. We will see an example applied to the case-study. Town planning presents two problems on this point. First, planning documents usually define objectives rather than actions. This may be due to the traditional attitude to tightly distinguish between ends and means, objectives and resources. Moreover, many technical planning tools are not suitable for handling environmental problems. Two examples. The agricultural areas, in the zoning of the general land-use plan, are residual “white zones”. Difficulty persists, as far as the plan’s practicality is concerned in understanding the themes for analysis of agricultural territory concerning the soil quality, the function of agricultural protection and the role that agricultural areas play in structuring the landscape. An area defined as agricultural in the plan may be either wasteland on the edge of an urban periphery or a specialized activity; it may be a seat of ecological agricultural experimentation or may imply high pollution levels. Therefore, the plan’s


choices for the agricultural zones are still obscure, and hardly assessable. The same occurs for areas designated to production. A planned industrial area is only partially assessable. The areas suitable for building industries and related infrastructures say nothing as to their emissions or the generated traffic flows. The environmental impacts of a productive site vary greatly in relation to the product and product making process. 2.4.2 Defining assessment criteria A precise definition of criteria for assessing a plan’s contents needs an operative identification of its aims. This, in turn, often means recognizing a fundamental but usually ignored aspect in decision making processes: the possibility that such aims are, among themselves, contradictory. Experience on individual decisions shows that the motivations leading to the choice may be conflicting. This occurs even more so in collective choices. Recognizing that equally valid objectives (environmental protection and development of industrial activities, for example) may be conflictual means making explicit that the choice between values is inevitable in planning processes. Or rather, making evident that the decision cannot be derived only from a technical rule. 2.4.3 Analysis of the effects in relation to the assessment criteria Admitting that choice criteria are contradictory, means recognizing that in an assessment one cannot eliminate the multiple contrasting factors of the subjectmatter, or, more precisely, of interests, values and points of view. The planning process tries to reach a compromise, but often must make a choice. Justification could therefore be partial. This obviously breaks away from the idea that plans describe, assess and regulate objects rather than relationships between subjects and resources. Here we return to the previous argument developed around the necessity to surpass the paradigm of scientific demonstration. In multicriteria methodologies, the problem of interpersonal comparison of preferences results in a weighing up of choice criteria. Attributing these preferences is a process of assessing the conflicts between different actors and strategies in using scarce resources; and forming and recognizing shared values. Analysis and forecast using the tools of normal science are essential, but not resolutory in this context. They are in fact used within an argument where the aim is to distribute advantages and disadvantages. This is a problem that cannot be resolved in a totally impartial way.


2.4.4 Arguments on the preferability of the proposed actions This is a crucial point in any assessment. It can be frequently observed that: (i) both decision criteria and those involved are multiple, and (ii) tradeoffs between the criteria and interests in play are unknown, unstable, and are often the reason for strong disagreement. In these cases, the argument in hand may, at most, take on a hypothetical form (if these criteria are privileged, only then can one say that one alternative is preferable to another). The result may appear minimalist if compared to the promises of optimization in the traditional assessment techniques. Even this cannot be guaranteed, given that the single demonstrative proposals are part of a situation that is, on the whole, argumentative. The correct application of standard technical procedures cannot warrant a “right” solution of conflicts. If comparison between alternatives gives non-univocal results, it does not mean that it cannot use formalized methodologies. On the contrary, some multicriteria analysis techniques permit strict treatment of even qualitative variables and situations of non-comparability, without excessively reducing the complexity of the real context of the decision-making process (cf. [10]; for an example in the use in EIA cf. [11]). 3 THE EIA OF THE AOSTA LAND USE PLAN The following case study illustrates how the briefly outlined problems have been tackled in the environmental impact assessment of the Aosta land use plan [12]. The study was made by a multidisciplinary group including the author of this paper. This is one of the first attempts in Italy to assess a plan, and it is therefore experimental in nature and surely has several limits. Nevertheless, it could be a useful contribution in providing material to a debate that often is limited to enunciating principles. The study considers impacts produced directly by the plan. I will mention only the more relevant aspects to the reasoning developed here. They concern: • • • •

land consumption; environmental outcomes of the land use regulations; assessment of proposals concerning the five Urban Transformation Areas; the multicriteria analysis of the priorities for works in the Unitary Project Areas; • assessment of the effects of traffic policies on urban pollution.


Table 1. Urban areas in 1978 and in 1993 (m2)

Source: Città di Aosta, 1994 Table 2. Potential extra land consumption compared to 1993 (m2)

Source: Citta di Aosta, 1994

3.1 Land consumption A comparison between development areas in the 1978 town planning regulations (in force at the moment of assessment) and the project for a new plan in 1993 shows a vast reduction of these areas (from 50 hectares to 14). The decrease is quite consistent especially in the hill zones and in the Porossan Alta zone, which are zones of higher environmental value, and subject to greater building pressure. On the whole, the new plan means an increase in potential land use of 1. 8% compared to the present situation. Tables 1 and 2 show the data. Apart from two cases, (passage from designated agricultural use to residential in the two hamlets Arpuilles and Excenex) the new plan locates opportunities for development mainly within already built areas, in interstitial lots. Urbanization of the flat city zone has been totally completed in the previous period and in this case, therefore, there are no differences between the former and the new plan. Over three quarters of housing development in the plan are in the flat urbanized areas. They propose operations of density increase and improvement.


3.2 Environmental outcomes of the land use regulations In this section, as well as mentioning other geological surveys on the presumed transformation areas, an attempt was made to make clear what environmental effects will result from the prescribed regulations. Plan regulations pay particular attention to the city’s historical centre, with respect to the value of the resources concentrated here and to the need for protection and assessment moves. They first establish that the cubic volume of existing buildings cannot be increased, unless there are different provisions. The plan locates in the city centre 39 particularly interesting Unitary Project Areas for improving urban quality and organizing public space. For each one, precepts, designation, eventual new building possibilities and procedures are specified. Projects regarding these areas should include public areas and infrastructures. If 2/3 of the property owners voluntarily adhere and make a request, the city administration can project and coordinate public and private operations. The plan allows developments (from ordinary maintenance to demolition and rebuilding) and some limited increase in built-up volumes, providing that the projects are unitary. Carrying out project implementation in the Unitary Project Areas should be through detailed planning tools (Piani Urbani di Dellaglio, PUD). They must include an economic appraisal and an environmental impact study (the latter is required for all land-use and structure plans, as stated, by a regional law). Regulations on land use follow the same logic. It is possible to move from residential use to other uses only within the framework of unitary projects respecting fixed mixtures of functions. The latter rule aims to avoid phenomena such as excessive specialization or gentrification. This seems to fit in with the objective of reducing traffic congestion and the air pollution that these processes often imply. 3.3 Assessment of proposals for the five Transformation Areas The proposed plan recognizes five strategic Transformation Areas for urban quality improvement operations, following the general programme of densification of the actual city. The transformation areas are: • Transformation Area 1 (Dora-Borgnalle): project for improvement of the borough with increased building equal to 69000 sq. m; • Transformation Area 2 (Puchoz): the plan suggests: (i) to re-locate the stadium; (ii) to transform the ex-Macello (slaughter house); (iii) to improve the Augustus Arch area and the boundary between suburb and city; (iv) to redesign the railway line and the state of the buildings looking onto it. New developments for a total of 93500 sq. m are provided for;


• Transformation Area 3 (Chamole): the plan proposes to recover and make functional a central area, astride a critical traffic passage, facing the Roman wall. New buildings for a total of 34000 sq. m; • Transformation Area 4 (Centrale): re-design of the building in front of Montfleury park, with a new tree-lined walkway, densification of housing, moving away incompatible or dangerous activities. This will occupy an area of 17000 sq. mt; • Transformation Area 5 (F8-DART, “Porta sud”): creating a new city entrance by making a connection on foot between the city centre (and its servicesmanager nucleus) and the access infrastructures (railway, motorway, roads, cable-railway). Among the planned works a motorway park/break point is also foreseen. In the transformation areas the actual development of the project is subordinate to the drawing up of a detailed plan. For each transformation area the land use plan defines the general proposal for spatial organisation and building densities of the various sub-areas. Detail Plans (PUD) are required to implement developments, extending to the whole area or for compartments (made up of subareas). Projecting the Detail Plan to the whole area could radically modify the plan proposals, while doing this for compartments cannot. The Detail Plans will be assessed by a formal environmental impact study. Therefore, the present EIA, which was achieved at the stage of the general land use plan, is like an initial screening. Its objectives are to identify evaluation criteria and make evident the more important environmental problems and conflicts. This is to allow more reasonable choices and to facilitate mitigation and compensatory measures. For each of the five areas the following has been compared: (1) the actual situation; (2) the situation during construction works; (3) the situation on completion of the works. Assessment utilizes a simplified version of concordance and discordance analysis (see [10], [11]. It handles available information at the time the land use plan is drawn up, which are predominantly qualitative. An outline of the phases in assessment are as follows: (a) Selection of choice criteria. The selected criteria refer to the aims: (i) to maximize positive and minimize negative impacts on natural resources; (ii) to improve the urban quality and efficiency; (iii) to maximize positive and minimize negative economic effects. These are as follows: A Soil quality (concerning: [i] pollution; [ii] exposure to erosion; [iii] its permeability); B Water quality and quantity (concerning: [i] the quality of surface water; [ii] the quality of underground water; [iii] drainage systems; [iv] sedimentation phenomena; [v] the quantity of water resources);


Fig. 1. Transformation Area 5: sensitivity tests and environmental criteria.




C Air quality (concerning: [i] productive activity emissions; [ii] traffic emissions; [iii] dust emissions; [iv] odour emissions); D Noise pollution and vibrations; E Traffic and mobility (concerning traffic flows); F Increase in real estate values; G Increase in supply on the housing market (both after recovery of existing areas and due to new built-up areas); H Green areas (quantity, quality and use-ability); I Cultural heritage (quality, use-ability); J Tourism (quality and quantity of supply of tourism facilities); K Commercial activities (quality and quantity of supply); L Effects on building and other productive sectors; M Urban quality (concerning: [i] the level of services and public space—green areas excluded; [ii] safety; [iii] formal and functional organization of the town and land-use). (b) Ordering and scoring the performance level of the “without project” situation, of the “construction phase” situation and of the “with project” situation. For each of the five Areas and relative to each criterion, the performance level of each of the three situations have been ordered, and each outcome is given a score (from 0 to 10). These operations are based in most cases on a qualitative base and on estimates. (c) Weighting criteria. The weight given to each criterion represents the relative importance given to them. The possible viewpoints are simulated starting from a “neutral” scenario. In this hypothesis the weights are distributed in the same measure (1/3 each) among three criteria groups with homogeneous significance: • environmental criteria (ABCD); • urban efficiency and quality criteria (EGHIM); • economic criteria (FJKL). Within each of these three groups of criteria the weights are distributed homogeneously between each single criterion. (d) Calculation of the concordance and discordance indexes and sensitivity tests. At this point the indexes of concordance and discordance have been calculated (see Appendix). To recall, in a comparison between pairs of alternatives, the superiority of the first over the second raises as the concordance index increases, and as the discordance index decreases. A classification of index significance has been singled out. To verify the effects on decision-making of considerations different to what represents a “neutral scenario”, the three criteria group weights are varied from a minimum of 1/5 to a maximum of 2/3 of the total weights, marking a passage of


significance (towards top and towards bottom) of both the concordance and discordance indexes. As an example, the results concerning the Transformation Area 5 are presented, which is the situation which has greater impact problems on the natural environmental resources (see Figure 1). Negative impacts are foreseen on the soil (due to an increase in area impermeability), the air quality (due to an increase in traffic from additional parking and commercial areas), and noise pollution (due to larger traffic flows). The “with project” alternative as a preferred choice compared to the “without project” situation weakens proportionately with the importance given to the environmental criteria, until it completely disappears when these latter are given a certainly high, but not unreasonable, total weight. For slightly higher values of the environmental criteria (apx. 56%) a concordance relationship appears—albeit weak—of the situation “without project” compared to the construction phase. This means that even if the negative effects of increase in traffic pollution are not yet completely verified, the rise in real estate values cannot compensate for the increase in atmospheric and noise pollution if a greater importance is attributed to strictly environmental criteria. One must also take into consideration that, even over weighting these criteria up to 2/3 of the total, no inversion of the dominant relationship appears: the “without project” state is never better than the “with project” situation. The analysis marks, therefore, the necessity to accurately project the construction times and organize works and ascertain if improvements can be made. 3.4 Multicriteria analysis of the intervention priorities for the Unitary Project Areas As project execution brings about mobilization of public resources, we have tried to put them in order of importance, based on criteria that concern: (i) the work’s economic and organisational feasibility; (ii) coherence regarding the plan’s aim— in particular for urban environmental quality; (iii) economic effects. In this case too, methodology is along the lines of concordance analysis. From the study it emerges that the decisions of execution priorities are not completely uni vocal; they depend to a certain extent on value choices of the public decision-makers. This is, however, a normal condition in decision-making processes concerning allocation of urban resources, to which considerable external factors are attached (either positive or negative).


Table 3. Town of Aosta: peak time traffic emissions

(1) present situation (2) proposed scenario Source: Città di Aosta, 1994

3.5 Assessment of the effects of traffic policies on urban pollution The proposal to reorganize the structure of urban traffic flows is based on a three phase plan. The first two can be executed in the near future; the third consists in structural works which require a longer time span. In the plan’s EIA the present situation has been compared to what will be the final outcome, as far as carbon monoxide (CO), nitrous oxide (NOx), hydrocarbon (COV) emissions and fuel consumption are concerned. A calculation of the increase in these substances due to low temperatures has also been made. The results are shown in Table 3. Carrying out this project should produce a sufficiently net decrease in CO and hydrocarbon emissions as well as fuel consumption. In contrast, the NOx should grow slightly, due to the increase in average speed. The study also defines the spatial distribution and the maximum emissions. Forecasts have also been made referring to the distribution of emissions on the urban territory. The survey shows a widespread decrease in two areas and in particular for nitrous oxide, caused by relatively high speed predicted on the main roads. 4 CONCLUSION: ASSESSMENT AS ARGUMENTATION I believe that the case of Aosta’s land use plan assessment clearly illustrates the hypothesis proposed in this paper. Despite usage of language and procedures of normal science, an environmental impact assessment (like any form of public policy justification) is essentially an argumentative process. As already stated, Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca [5] emphasize that the link between the subject-matter and those involved is essential for distinguishing between argument and demonstration. In assessing a proposal of a public policy (in the specific case a land use plan), gaining active consensus of specific groups is more important than intellectually convincing a general audience.


It is often maintained that public decisions are (or should be) based on neutral procedures, able to single out univocal optimal solutions. This idea characterizes the technocratic style predominant in the 1960s and 1970s urban planning policies. One reason for the breakdown in this theoretical and practical model is, probably, the scarce ability to create an adequate and operative social mobilization. The choice is the result of an open dialogue, based on presenting the rights and wrongs of the various points of view and settled by well-thought out persuasion. In a dialogue procedure the ambiguous elements, variants, possible fallaciousness, biases or persuasion techniques are considered as possible events. Therefore, they may be explicitly contested by the involved actors. Doubts raised on the matter are, on the contrary, eliminated when stating that optimal allocation of the resources can be univocally calculated. If so, applying a standard procedure guarantees consistency between the result and the predetermined criteria, providing no errors are made in defining the input. Even in its stated limits, the presented application, especially regarding the analysis of the five transformation areas, is an example of how treating a problem of choice in a formalized way is possible, without greatly reducing the complexity of the actual situation. Analysis of concordance and discordance allows facts and values to be considered together. It does not remove ambiguity, but does propose a (debatable) key to interpretation. One can translate the analysis into a discourse, in non-technical language. It may reach an unresolved conclusion: something that, on the other hand, is consistent with many cases of public choice, and not only about environmental questions. The structure of arguments used in comparing alternatives could be defined (following Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca) as based on sequence relationships. Assessments are based on consequentialism, that is, they shift from judgement of value of the action itself to the consequences it may provoke. More specifically, the argumentative structure illustrated in Figure 1 recalls the direction argument, which proceeds via a fragmented cause-effect chain (from a temporal or logical point of view). Its most usual form is the slippery slope argument [13]. It suggests that if one takes a step in one direction, one ends up being drawn towards a given outcome (usually: towards disaster), through a series of inevitable shifts. The argument may have the function of showing the extreme consequences of a certain option, to sustain that moderation is necessary. Here the negative consequence appears as a warning, and ends up as the search for a limit. According to Walton [13] there are different types of slippery slope argument. The most accepted aim is to make aware the fact that a first step in one direction may be only a start: there will inevitably be a second, a third until reaching undesired consequences. But another variety focuses on making fuzzy situations clear. This is the famous heap (sorites) problem: if I take a grain from a heap of corn, it remains the same, taking away two grains is the same; how many must I take away before I can describe what remains as “a few grains of corn”?


In the example, proposed arguments to handle the problem are the following: what level of importance should be given to each of the different values in play? The reasoning does not directly put this problem in discussion, but works from back to front. It asks these questions: (i) does privileging one or the other points of view produce changes in preferability relationships between alternatives? (ii) if yes, what weight of criteria produces a reversal that is still reasonable, or is it evidence of an overwhelming interest by some participants regarding others? Evidently, it is a fuzzy situation that cannot be resolved by turning only to technical analysis tools. The answer depends largely on disputable judgements and on the ability of the institution to confront the choice by searching for equilibrium through negotiating between those involved. Assessment methodologies often claim to be neutral problem-solving techniques. By combining data on decision problems as input (alternatives to be compared, variables to be examined, choice criteria, individual preferences) and applying analytical and forecasting models, the solution will eventually arise by applying a technical standard rule. However, on the contrary, the idea in using assessment as a decision-aid means a problem-setting approach. Many applied experiences seem to converge on this new paradigm of social appraisal [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20]. This approach outlines that the main goal of assessing projects or plans in a public decision-making process is to define the terms of the choice, to shape the syntax of conflicts and to help negotiations between interests and values. That is to say, to organize arguments to reach consensus in a negotiation between social and institutional actors [21]. A typical rhetorical function. APPENDIX. CONCORDANCE AND DISCORDANCE INDICES The methodology is mainly by B.Roy [10] [22] [23], with slight modifications by B.Massam [24] [25] and Zeppetella, Bresso and Gamba [11]. The formulae for the calculation are as follows: (1) Where: cii′=concordance index of alternative i over alternative i′ Pnj=normalized weight of criterion j j C(ii′)=set of cases in which, relative to criterion j, the alternative i is superior to alternative i′ j T(ii′)=set of cases in which, relative to criterion j, the alternative i is equivalent to alternative i Where:


dii′=discordance index of alternative i over alternative i Pij=score of alternative i compared to criterion j Pi′j=score of alternative i′ compared to the criterion j. The discordance indexes were weighted (multiplying them by the criteria weights) and normalized (bringing to 10 the maximum score). REFERENCES 1. 2.

3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21.

Etzioni, A. (1967) Mixed scanning: a third approach to decision-making. Public Administration Review, No. 27. Hirschman, A.O., and Lindblom, C.E. (1962) Economic development, research and development, policy making: some converging views, in Systems Thinking (ed F.E. Emery), Penguin Books, Hammondsword, 1967. Kuhn, T.S. (1970) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, University of Chicago Press, Chicago. Majone, G.D. (1989) Evidence, Argument and Persuasion in the Policy Process, Yale University Press, New Haven and London. Perelman, C., et Olbrechts-Tyteca, L. (1958) Traité de l’argumentation. La nouvelle réthorique, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris. Perelman, C. (1982) The Realm of Rhetorics, University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame. McCloskey, D.M. (1985) The Rhetorics of Economics, University of Wisconsin. Throgmorton, J.A., 1993, Planning as a Rhetorical Activity. Journal of the American Planning Association, Vol. 59, No. 3, pp.334–346 Zeppetella, A. (1988) Sviluppo e ristrutturazione della capacità produttiva e valutazione d’impatto ambientale. Diritto ed Economia, No. 3, pp. 759–88. Roy, B. (1985) Méthodologie multicritère d’aide à la décision, Economica, Paris. Zeppetella, A., Bresse, M. and Gamba, G. (1992) Valutazione ambientale e processi di decisions, NIS, Roma. Città di Aosta (1994) Progetto del piano regolatore. Studio di impatto ambientale, Aosta (mimeo). Walton, D.(1992) Slippery Slope Arguments, Clarendon Press, Oxford. Susskind, L., Bacow, L., and Wheeler, M. (1983) Resolving Environmental Regulatory Disputes, Schenkman, Cambridge, Mass. Susskind, L, and Ozawa, C. (1984) Mediated Negotiation in the Public Sector: The Planner as Mediator. Journal of Planning Education and Research, No. 4, pp. 5–15. Susskind, L., and McMahon, G. (1985) The theory and Practice of Negotiated Rulemaking. Yale Journal of Regulation, Vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 133–165. Susskind, L., and Cruikshank, J. (1987) Breaking the Impasse, Basic Books, New York. Forester, J. (1989) Envisioning the Politics of Public Sector Dispute Resolution, Draft, Cornell University (mimeo). Forester, J., and Stitzel, D. (1989) Beyond Neutrality: The Possibilities of Activist Mediation in Public Sector Conflicts. Negotiation Journal Forester, J. (1989) Planning in the Face of Power, University of California Press, Berkeley. Zeppetella, A. (1995) Retorica per l’ambiente, Angeli, Milano


22. 23.

24. 25.

Roy, B. (1968) Classement et choix en presence de points de vue multiples. Révue Française d’Informatique et Recherche Opérationnelle, No. 6, pp. 57–75. Roy, B. (1978) ELECTRE III: un algorithme de classement fondé sur une représentation floue des préférences en présence de critères multiples. Cahiers du Centre d’Etudes en Recherche Opérationnelle, Vol. 20, No. 1, pp. 3–24. Massam. B.H. (1980) Spatial Search, Pergamon Press, Oxford Massam. B.H. (1988) Multi-Criteria Decision Making (MCDM) Techniques in Planning. Progress in Planning, vol. 30.

Space management in the European compact city Martin Symes Urban Renewal Research Unit, School of Architecture, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK

ABSTRACT The European Commission has effectively outlined a policy for compact cities in the Union but an appropriate theory of local space management has yet to be developed. Since it appears that implementing the policy will involve working against strong trends for dispersal, whether compact cities will be acceptable may depend on the effective management of space-use conflicts. Few aspects of the required space management theory have yet been considered in the literature. A transfer of techniques from architectural space management to the urban design scale may help fill this gap. Keywords: space-management, compact cities, space-use conflicts, environmental impact assessment 1 INTRODUCTION “You, no doubt, imagine seeing a girdle of walls rising from the dusty plain as you slowly approach the gate, guarded by customs men who are already casting oblique glances at your bundles. Until you have reached it you are outside it; you pass beneath an archway and you find yourself within the city; its compact thickness surrounds you.” The visitor’s expectations of Penthesilia, described by Italo Calvino in this scene from his novel “Invisible Cities”, turned out to be entirely misleading: it was no more than “a string of scattered suburbs…the outskirts of itself”: people came there every morning to work and came back there every night to sleep. The visitor sought in vain “the city where people live” and was told “it must be that way”. If compact cities are in fact not to prove illusory, it will be necessary to establish a theory of how the extensive use of urban space can be controlled. A


new academic discipline is needed. This could be called: European urban space management. The outlines of such a theory could be based on a research programme which begins to explain how the variety and vitality for which European cities are renowned, and which must surely be at risk in the “Single Europe” of the European Union, is and can be maintained. It would set out to show whether everyday life in European cities will in future not necessarily “be that way”. 2 BACKGROUND The European nations have much in common but also great differences. In the same way their cities are the products both of a common history and of unique regional and national circumstances, the ways in which urban spaces are developed and managed in different European cities are the product both of similar forces and traditions and of particular local policies and personalities. The first task in theory development will be to create a common framework of analysis at the scale of urban design and urban space management. It should synthesise and integrate themes from the literature at the greater (i.e. urban planning) scale and at the lesser (i.e. facilities management) scale, showing how issues which arise only at the intermediate (urban design) scale can be addressed. It may require a unique and original contribution to the literature. According to Brunet and others [1] there are certainly at least three main types of European city each with a particular exposure to the forces for change. The “Central Core” cities, which are found in an arc running from the British Midlands to the Mediterranean Coast, are growing business centres, with high quality office areas and an increasingly suburban housing environment. The “Northern” cities have outworn industrial heartlands and offer a declining standard of living to the majority of their inhabitants. The “Southern” cities, on the other hand, may be growing fast, usually because of migration from an agricultural hinterland. Everyday patterns of space-use vary considerably between these types of city. Manchester, Barcelona and Thessaloniki suggest themselves as representing the Northern, Central and Southern types and could act as representative examples for tests of the theory during its development. 3 POLICY CONTEXT A major factor is the emerging development of what might be termed a common European urban policy. The rules and procedures of the European Union increasingly work to integrate the economies and societies of the fifteen countries. Although for some years regional policy has given a spatial dimension to this process, it has only been very recently that measures have been


introduced which will operate at the urban scale and thus begin to homogenise European cities at the level of everyday experience. The problems of urban settlements in Europe are comprehensively described by Cheshire and Hay [2]. The European Commission’s Green Paper [3] takes a more normative position and its analysis was supported by, and based on, the conclusions arrived at by a number of expert studies and special seminars or conferences. The Commission’s initiatives aim: to create a more sustainable urban environment, to reduce social exclusion, and to improve cities’ sense of identity, and are seen as encapsulating the findings of the Green Paper which argued: • for the enhancement of the natural environment in cities and • for the protection of the historical heritage; • for attention to the management of waste and energy use and to the coordination of transportation plans; • for assistance to small and medium-sized enterprises in meeting good practice criteria for environmental factors, • and for the development of urban planning guidelines and pilot renovation projects. A wide range of questions were discussed in this way and the relevant records clarify the issues which need to be addressed. One of the principal observations was that many of the factors which affect the quality of life in cities are interconnected. Solutions to problems would therefore be sought on a broad front and at many levels. Three questions recur: • the strength of market forces and their impact on economic growth; • the social polarisation which seems to concentrate disadvantaged social groups in certain areas and exclude them from others; • and the widespread and insufficiently controlled growth of various kinds of pollution. The latter factor is also stressed by the OECD [4] who consider that the most pressing environmental problems facing urban areas today are “air and water pollution: waste from cities, noise generation, pressure on land for urban development and therefore land contamination; deterioration of the quality of urban life; degradation of urban landscapes”. Fundamental questions are raised by the discussions of economic growth and social exclusion. Clearly a review of relevant aspects of this debate must be made possible. This would seek to contextualise two recent and influential publications which seem to have influenced the Commission. One is the study of the social impact of changes in the global economy on “world cities”, [5]: the other a discussion of the social and psychological failings of modern urbanism [6].


Together these studies suggest a recent escalation of the problems, especially in developed economies, and a need to spell out in more detail the linkage between changes in the process of wealth creation, changes in the distribution of its benefits and changes in social behaviour. It is at this level of detail that theoretical development should be attempted. 4 THE COMPACT CITY PROPOSAL Another part of the current debate emphasises the difficulties engendered by the spread of cities at their periphery. This suburbanisation phase is described by Van den Berg et al [7]. Alternative forms of dispersal are characterised as “networks”, “spiders’ webs” or “nebulae”. Comment on the Green Paper has tended to see it as criticising these trends and presenting a policy for more compact cities. Observers such as Breheny [8] consider that this concept contains contradictions. They argue that while consideration of reductions in energy consumption (both by transport and in buildings) will lend support to concentration and containment, perceptions of the quality of life in inner cities suggest to many people that the suburbs are to be preferred. The link between socio-economic, environmental and planning factors is related by the Commission’s documents to contemporary planning methods, in particular the neat and tidy arrangement of functions in space (work; dwelling; recreation; transport) which was promoted by the C.I.A.M. in the 1933 Charter of Athens. Reactions against this approach are argued by some [9] to belong to broad cultural shifts taking place in Europe as a whole. An interesting problem for a system of analysis such as that proposed here is whether such shifts can be described at the scale of urban space management. The background paper to one of the Commission’s initiatives [10] addresses these key issues. It refers to three possible urban futures: 1 The concept of an “agora city”, “with a harmonious relationship between the citizen and urban space”, which may help planners address the problems of the quality of life. 2 The concept of a “glocal” city, in which local resources make a greater contribution to development, which may help planners address the problems created by the evolution of the world economy. 3 The concept of “sustainability” which may help planners address the pollution of the physical environment. As yet, the implications of these initiatives have mainly been thought to affect: energy consumption, and building construction; transport provision, and general urban planning; urban governance, and community participation.


Issues such as the impact of higher densities on: crime and security, standards of space provision; visual and acoustic quality; the use of new technologies; have not been considered in any depth. And yet it is at this level of everyday experience that many of the consequences of the compact city scenario will be felt. It is presumably thought that such matters, although obviously important, are the consequences of individual and local response to the broader forces of change and essentially beyond the reach of policy intervention. Theoretically, nonetheless, they should be brought into the picture. 5 THE SPACE MANAGEMENT APPROACH A key hypothesis to be investigated is that the impacts of urban policy at this local scale can be better controlled. The problem is that the space management implications of the work of bodies responsible for these controls (for example private security organisations, property owners and developers, providers of public utilities) have seldom been fully explained, let alone their impact when taken together in different cities fully explored, or compared internationally. Within buildings, a new discipline, now known as facilities management, has been created through the development of techniques for the analysis of space management practice. The academic basis lay in environmental psychology as developed by, for example, Ittelson et al [11]. Current practice, exposed in texts like that by Kernohan, Gray and Daish [12], commonly includes: • • • • •

participatory design, studies of mental imagery, user requirements analysis, design games and post-occupancy evaluation.

The argument presented here is that a similar programme of academic work should be initiated, but for application to groups of buildings, or the spaces between them, at the scale of urban design. 5.1 Decision support systems A collection of specialist literature edited by Timmermans [13] shows one technique which is already emerging. It reports experiments in the application of computer-based simulation models to existing urban problem areas. These “Decision Support Systems” (DSS) are based in the first place on Geographical Information Systems (GIS). GIS are able to record the functions of an urban environment and relate them to descriptions of its physical form at the appropriate scale. Change over time can be shown by regular revisions of the


data. When there is a link to a design aid (CAD), both the recording of functions and the description of form can be fully three-dimensional (3-D). Change can be demonstrated in time and space. If there is also a modelling capacity, the system can be used to predict the consequences of current trends and of proposed policies or initiatives. Impact Evaluation will become possible. Articles included by Timmermans discuss applications in the Netherlands and Switzerland. Authors suggest that the ease with which existing GIS and CAD technology can be used by non-specialists can be increased if quite simple changes are made to: • the input to databases, • the modelling of policy options, • the types of graphic output. A useful theory should be able to give an account of such systems when analysing the potential for improvements to space management in the European cities. 5.2 Policy experiments A major complication will be that the urban system includes policy experiments such as that of the European Commission. A recent study undertaken by Robson et al [14] shows how complex and problematic this is. The team concerned sought to evaluate the impact of central government urban policy over a period of ten years. To do so they needed to assemble quantitative data from a number of different sources and to coordinate the varied units of measurement, including spatial subdivisions, in which it could be obtained. They needed to make some allowance for the effects of general changes in the national economy and to understand the impact of action at the various levels of local government, since both these factors “framed” central government policy towards British cities. To study or report on ways in which the city space may be managed would be misleading if it did not explore the interactions between the activities of government and those of private organisations. In some cases and for some topics, the local authorities responsible for planning small urban areas will have data gathering and monitoring procedures already established. It may be possible for additional assessments to be built upon or integrated with these systems. The extent to which relevant private sector organisations have or will be willing to give access to data concerning their own areas of responsibility is of course a question to be addressed in the detailed design of the fieldwork studies. Well thought out indicators have been generated for certain factors in Britain [15] and planning authorities in cities such as Manchester already have many simple and useful monitoring methods in place. In other cities, or for other factors, data sources would require special


study. In practice, the theory to be developed should be able to accommodate an appropriate variety of types of information. 6 ORGANISATIONAL QUESTIONS In addition, the usefulness of a space management theory may be enhanced if existing working habits are reconsidered. The experience of early experiments of using such systems in facilities management suggests that there are important consequences for an organisation into which new procedures are introduced. Space management should, in fact, be described as a socio-technical system. If its introduction can then be understood as an innovation, the likelihood that a variety of “human” problems will also arise, and need to be solved, becomes much clearer. This point is not new but it has rarely been included in the context of urban policy studies at any geographical scale. In the words of planning theorist John Forester [16]: ‘Technical analysis cannot stand alone. Vivid studies show that the “technician role” is…ineffectual if divorced from…considerations of political communication: maintaining trust and an “ear”, lobbying, addressing the specific concerns of decision-making audiences…and so on.” From this point of view, it should be possible to generate insights which will be of value to the academic parent disciplines, urban analysis and architectural theory. 7 DISSEMINATION OF RESULTS The discussion of the management of compact city space should be capable of integration with the concerns of more general urban management. In the long term it should be possible to make a number of suggestions for the modification of European urban policy. REFERENCES 1. 2.

Brunet, R. ed (1989): “Les Villes ‘Européennes’”, Paris, La Documentation Française. Cheshire, P. and Hay, D., (1989): Urban Problems in Western Europe”, London, Unwin Hyman.



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CEC (1990): “Green Paper on the Urban Environment” EUR 12902 EN and “Urban Environment: Expert Contributions” EUR 13145 EN, Luxembourg, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities. OECD (1990): “Environmental Policies for Cities in the 1990s”, Paris, OECD. Sassen, S. (1991): “The Global City”, Princeton, Princeton University Press. Sennett, R. (1991): “The Conscience of the Eye: the design and social life of cities”, London, Faber and Faber. Van den Berg, L., Drewett, R., Klaasen, L.H. and Ross, A.: “Urban Europe: a Study of Growth and Decline”, Oxford, Pergamon. Breheny, M.J. ed. (1992): “Sustainable Development and Urban Form”, London, Pion. Leontidou, L. (1994): “Post-Modernism or Anti-Modernism? Theoretical Confusion in Urban Analysis”, in International Conference: Cities, Enterprises and Society at the Eve of the XXIst Century, Lille, IFRESI, 16–18 March. CEC (1994): “Towards a Better Liveable City”, Brussels, DGXII. Ittelson, W.H., Proshansky, H.M., Rivlin, L.G. and Winkel, G.H. (1974): “An Introduction to Environmental Psychology”, New York, Holt, Reinhart and Winston. Kernohan, D., Gray, J. and Daish, J. (1992): “User Participation in Building Design and Management: a generic approach to building evaluation”, Oxford, Butterworth Architecture. Timmermans, H. ed (1994): “Decision Support Systems in Urban Planning and Urban Design”, Special issue of Environment and Planning B, vol 21, no 1. Robson, B., Bradford, M., Deas, I., Hall, E., Harrison, E., Parkinson, M., Evans, R., Garside, P., Harding, A. and Robinson, F. (1994): “Assessing the Impact of Urban Policy”, London, HMSO. Wong, C. (1994): “Quality of Urban Living: an Infrastructural Dimension”, in Neary, S., Symes, M. and Brown, F. (eds): The Urban Experience: a PeopleEnvironment Perspective, London, Spon. Forester, J. (1989): “Planning in the Face of Power”, Berkeley, University of California Press.


Evaluation methods for the built environment: three open questions Giulio Mondini Dipartimento Processi e Metodi della Produzione Edilizia, University of Florence, Florence, Italy

Keywords: evaluation methods, built environment, transformations, complexity, evolutionary space The modern view of scientific evaluation methods for the built environment makes clear how difficult, if not impossible, it is to tackle the evaluation problem by means of a preliminary definition based on completeness, exhaustivity and general validity. The attempt carried out here is to suggest some guidelines as to the evaluation of transformations on the built environment. A possible starting point is that every evaluation method based on mono-dimensional paradigms like economic analysis, appears to be unsuitable for the evaluation of projects with reference to the natural environment. The theory of dynamic systems supports this assertion. The main discovery of this theory is that instability is a prevalent peculiarity of a system, because small changes in the initial condition can produce large amplification in the final effects (which means decisions and evaluations take place under uncertainty). An example of this situation is the transformations appearing during the project processes as a result of the acquired knowledge that then influences the progress of the process itself (willingness to learn). The major problem in the scientific debate is to find a common field or theoretical base, which may be an evolutionary space whose co-ordinates are: Complexity, Quality, Communicability. A reflection on the state of the art brings us to a remark of general order. The evaluation of a project, both at an urban or regional level, needs skills belonging to different disciplines. This confrontation or integration of many specialised points of view can stimulate a wide debate free from prejudices. This confrontation is very important because it can stimulate innovation in knowledge and skill, mainly when two or more cultural spheres come into contact. The investigation of issues which cannot be confined inside a single traditional disciplinary area stimulates the confrontation among scholars on the borderline between different scientific areas, broadening the disciplinary


horizons. It is well known that studies and research developed on this borderline have often challenged the fundamental assumptions of a discipline. By so doing, innovative theories have been generated, able to enrich the knowledge. Proposing themes not belonging to a traditionally defined disciplinary area have the goal of encouraging a contact among experts in borderline fields, to enlarge the horizon of their own discipline and the whole capabilities of the single scientific group. It is known that studies and researches founded on theories belonging to defined disciplinary matrixes, but applied to borderline fields, have often challenged their very foundation generating in turn innovative theories, and undeniably enriching different fields of knowledge [1, 2]. In fact, the evaluation of the built environment often shows fields of exploration, experimentation, and reflection which are unusual or insufficiently developed in an architect’s cultural training. In particular this situation holds when we have to evaluate public decisions or the so called general interest, for which the evaluation procedures in use for private goods offer insufficient theoretical basis. In this sense it seems worthwhile to report a passage from Reason in Human Affairs where Herbert Simon clearly exposes the importance of experiencing new ways for evaluating public goods: Every morning, in Pittsburgh, I receive some public goods (very valuable to me) when I walk to work. I get these goods from the fact that my neighbors keep their lawns nicely green and trimmed, and maintain lovely planting of shrubs and flowers. When the owners of some vacant land along my daily route began, a year ago to erect some rather ugly condominiums; the new owners did not have to recompense me for my loss, any more than I have to pay for gazing at my neighbors’ flowers. As a result, more ugly buildings are erected than would be if these indirect effects impinged on the decision makers, and gardens are more modest than would be optimal if the pleasure of viewers were taken into account [3], [4], [5]. Experience has shown evaluations are requested to appraise the characteristic of territorial, environmental, historical and cultural goods and which, missing a market, have to be assessed out of the exchange paradigm. In these cases the scientific basis of the evaluation becomes very important. In fact, it represents the weak point in the procedure, that can be improved only by defining a common language and comparable outcomes, on the basis of a large number of case studies. From this point of view, it is difficult to ignore the fact that project evaluation has become more complex than in the past because of the information explosion, the increased complexity of decision-making processes, the rapid technological changes and the climate of uncertainty in which it operates. It is possible to argue that everything works quite well if one can measure quantitative criteria (effects), costs, economic benefits, both physical and


productive, on the basis of a defined project. When however these same elements interact with multidimensional objectives, everything becomes more complicated because the criteria have often to be defined outside the analytic tool adopted [6]. Such is the case of a project of transformations within the built environment. Here, conflicts of interests and social, cultural and symbolic interferences require quality judgements and estimating use-values and uncertain temporal horizons. Who must evaluate such a project is a crucial problem because this person must appraise the compatibility between the project and their reference system, and their judgement will follow from the method used. It is therefore necessary to use methods able to model multiple viewpoints, exploring the possibility of making them interactive. The use of expert systems could be helpful, as they allow a circulation of acquired and induced information during the evaluation process, taking into account different viewpoints (including the evaluator’s one as a subject belonging to the system) [7]. The theory of systems, in reference to the problem of complexity, has progressively developed a concept of planning, which is founded on the basis of two paradigms defined by Le Moigne: • in a conceptual context, the Paradigm of Organisation; • in an instrumental context, the Paradigm of Intelligence. As a consequence of the problem complexity, planners and evaluators who build up a planning method, have to adopt an essential notion of organisation able to represent the phenomena without mutilations or temporal and spatial limitations. As the organisation is the central concept of complexity therefore planning is organising. We must plan the planning activity as a complex act producing a complex result (the model). The following steps of how to plan show the instrumental aspects of the planning theory requiring the proposal of models that can be interpreted through simulation and empirical tests, which is helpful when the planner-evaluator is faced with a complex phenomenon. The Paradigm of Intelligence refers to intelligence as being necessary for processing information and reaching a result. In this sense information processing can be defined as computation. This computational interpretation of planning models requires transparency in the definition and treatment of its symbols (qualitative and quantitative criteria), as they are intrinsically responsible for the comprehension of the complex phenomenon. In this sense the concept of organisation can be associated with the linked concepts of information, computation and communication. It is time to accept the attractive paradox of planning the planning activity. That is an act by which an intelligent system creates, ex nihil, a model, an artificial object, built through artificial symbols: i.e. a complex act. In this way,


it becomes comprehensible just because it allowed somebody to plan the comprehension of complexity [7]. La Complexite n’est pas le mal absolu…[8] “…La Complexite n’est pas ce mal absolu que pourchasse la belle rationalite francaise au nom de la clarte, de l’homogeneite et de l’universalisme. C’est au contraire la reconnaissance de la richesse et de la diversite des organisations de toutes tailles et de toutes natures…” J.Mélèse, 19791 This is particularly sustainable when the evaluation is a part of the planning process whose objective is to reach an approximation of an ideal [9]. If we consider quality as a weighted complex of multiple criteria, which is inspired as much as possible by an ideal, complex and constrained by its uses and costs, then we can consider it as a measurable feasibility indicator of the project. With regard to this aspect, the traditional concept of quality as sustainability of use and conformity to standards has to be overcome. The aim then becomes to arrive at that ideal point which summarises the concept of sustainable development, as a process capable of satisfying the needs of the present generation without compromising those of future generations, as has been expressed in the Brundtland Report [10]. By consequence, the problem seems to move towards an endurance of the conditions of “certainty” of quality, in the sense of an ideal representing an aim in continuous evolution with respect to satisfied needs and not with reference to the durability of the guiding reference elements. It is more and more evident that evaluation of quality requires working under conditions of uncertainty and risk, attributing positive values to uncertainty, like stimuli capable of interacting within a system in evolution [11]. In 1983, Ily Prigogine said that more people are reaching the conclusion that the laws of nature are irreversible and random and that most of the deterministic and reversible laws are applicable only in limited situations. In fact, in conditions of non-equilibrium, simple matter can adopt complex behaviour. Therefore, we have to explore non-equilibrated systems which interact with those surrounding them [2]. If we accept that a project is characterised by conflict, risk and uncertainty, it is fair to state that the evaluation of the project must take into account the various degrees of complexity of the system. With regard to the different phases of development in the design process, it is possible to speak of a network of increasingly complex interrelationships. They are characterised: on one hand, by the increase in vertical complexity due to the effects of the evermore specialised parts of the process, and on the other hand, by the multiplicity of degrees of the decision-making process which lead to an increase in the horizontal complexity (in particularly in the public sector) [12].


In Simon’s words “by a complex system I mean one made up of a large number of parts that interact in a nonsimple way. In such a system the whole is more than the sum of the parts, not in an ultimate, metaphysical sense but in the important pragmatic sense that, given the properties of the parts and the laws of their interaction, it is not a trivial matter to infer the properties of the whole” [13 p. 195]. The problem subtended to this assertion is that we cannot know what is the sum of the parts a priori, and therefore a general model cannot be used to equally handle all its components, or subsets, just because they all belong to the same whole. The process of evaluation could therefore be defined as a complex structure whose form is substantially decomposable into a hierarchy. This tool (the hierarchical decomposition) belongs to various evaluation methods, and can be represented as a system composed of subsystems which are interconnected, each structured in turn in the hierarchy, until we reach an elementary subsystem. This means that the evaluation of a project must unfold in relationship with different disciplinary spheres (economic, social, cultural, historical, etc..), with the aim of questioning completely the elementary parts of the system and bringing to a synthesis the complexity of the process of evaluation. Very often the theoretical concepts which are the basis of a decision-making process lack the empirical contents which are indispensable to describe concrete phenomena. This means that every process of evaluation risks being founded on an uncertain and unreliable basis [14], [15]. The identification and the explicit formulation of the criteria necessary for evaluating a project is the greatest problem we have to confront in setting up an evaluation model, and particularly, when we require an analysis of a complex and multi-dimensional type. This operation is like the choice of objectives because criteria and objectives are two terms which indicate the same concept, that is a measurable aspect of a judgement characterising a certain dimension of the alternatives. An analysis of case-studies presenting projects of rehabilitation or of development suitable within the existing ecosystem, makes clear that the process of evaluation of the qualitative criteria is the less homogeneous factor. As an example: what is the relationship between quality and price? and between quality and cost? and between quality and market share? The evaluation process has to include a concept of quality, able to synthesise different approaches which stem from philosophy, economy, marketing and productive systems. However, it has 1

Complexity is not the absolute evil…Complexity is not that absolute evil that the nice French rationality hunts in the name of clarity, homogeneity and universalism. On the contrary, it is the acknowledgement of the abundance and diversity of organisations of every dimension and nature. (J.Mélèse, 1979, Vers l’Enterprise à la complexité Humaine, PUF, Paris.)


to use parameters and value judgements which are able to represent at its best each relevant objective-criterion. It may be helpful, at this point, to give some synthetic definitions of the concept of quality, according to five main approaches, in order to make clear what is mentioned above. [16] 1. Transcendent definition Quality can be defined either as a third entity independent from mind and matter…or as a condition of excellence involving a good quality as distinct from a poor one. In this case quality is reaching or bordering the highest standard instead of just being satisfied which can be misleading. 2. Product-based definition Differences in quality are differences in the quantity of some desired ingredients or attributes. Quality refers to the quantity of attributes not included in the price for each unit of attributes included in the price. 3. User-based definition Quality consists of the capability of meeting wishes. It is fitness to use. It defines how closely an article (combination of product—firm—model— dealer) has the desired service characteristics. But quality is also an attribute in every aspect of a product that influences the demand curve. The quality of a product depends on the measure to which it meets the customer’s preferences. 4. Production-based definition Quality means to conform to an established set of criteria, but it is also defined as the degree of conformity of a specific product to a project or specification. 5. Value based definition Quality is the degree of excellence at an acceptable price and the control of variability at an acceptable cost, but it also means the best, given certain conditions for the customers. These conditions are: a) real use and b) selling price of the product. Perhaps, it is an ambitious task to introduce elements which are competitive or in conflict in an evaluation. This increases complexity instead of simplifying. But one reason for this approach is that quality pertains to elements which are unique and irreversible. In other words, legitimising the evaluation of quality means to acknowledge experiments which have to confront the methodological questions. When we need to evaluate goods characterised by a strong qualitative nature, we have to express complex judgements because we must handle something more than scarcity and irreversibility. Environmental goods and projects proposing transformations to a given situation are usually of this kind and do not allow an homogeneous and generally valid representation. In strategic terms, quality evaluation can be reduced to eight fundamental dimensions representing the connotations of quality. These dimensions are:


performances, attributes, reliability, conformance, durability, assistance, aesthetic and perceived quality. This classification is probably a key to introducing quality as a discriminant element in project alternatives, allowing real evaluation by participants in the planning process. An analysis of experiences in the field shows the scale of the interest in this matter and proves the operational feasibility of appraising efficacy, efficiency, equity and aesthetisism of a project with quali-quantitative measures. In this process the two terms—project and evaluation—have to interact and simultaneously develop, creating a common language suitable for describing and solving the problem. The co-operation of experts will allow more conscious and better decisions, but in doing so it has to avoid compromising the process transparency or putting temporal obstacles to its progress. The decision process appears to be as an authentic productive process, involving several resources, activities, organisation. Time becomes as important as any other factor that we need to express decisions. This process is not progressive and regular, but is built up on cycles, feed-back, and tested routines according to rational assumptions step-by-step. It is, on the contrary, a linkage of interlaced phases. It is a chaotic progression where periods of reduced activity are broken by periods of intense activity, allowing sudden progress towards the process result [17]. Very often evaluation techniques make use of simulations of future situations or reference scenarios, in order to come to the solution of the problem. However, forecasting capacity is still the weakness of evaluation procedures at territorial level, even considering the recent developments in the field. Simon defines the two requirements of a reliable forecasting: First, they require either a theoretical understanding of the phenomena to be predicted, as a basis for the prediction model, or phenomena that are sufficiently regular that they can simply be extrapolated. Since the latter condition is seldom satisfied by data about human affairs…our prediction will generally be only as good as our theories. The second requisite for prediction is having reliable data about the initial conditions-the starting point from which the extrapolation is to be made. Systems vary in the extent to which their path are sensitive to small changes in initial conditions. Weather prediction is highly sensitive to the details of initial conditions. We have every reason to think that social phenomena are similarly sensitive [13 p. 170]. The experience shows that every action forecast in a project has economic, social and cultural consequences in the future. In accordance with the idea expressed by Simon, the evaluation of a project has to be made with particular care as it is extremely difficult to simulate the evolution of a system with respect to few variables, or even to one only. Moreover when the variables have a qualitative and an incommensurable nature, caution rather than uncertainty is the main reference of the evaluator, since he needs to introduce extra-economic aspects into the evaluation process.


This situation derives from the increasing weight of qualitative components in the value judgements expressed by collectives. This has such large scale effects that a new formulation of the theory of development is required on the basis of different foundations (economic, social and cultural). In evaluative processes, concepts of externality and incommensurability seem to suffer a lack of suitable techniques. The limits of traditional approaches, in the field of economics, considering as economic goods only those associated to an exchange value, are not yet completely overcome [18]. Multicriteria evaluation methods centre around this issue, because they are able to deal with qualitative, quantitative and mixed data on rigorous mathematical bases [19], [20]. Apart from the need to adopt appropriate measurement scales, the problem is how the applied techniques can handle and reduce to homogeneous terms what is generally defined as incommensurable. The responsibility for unclear or uncertain results often belongs to the treatment of these values, rather than to the level of sophistication in the methods used to convert judgements into homogeneous values. In any case, the need to avoid transforming all the variables, the incommensurable ones as well, into monetary terms is now established. The important evolution introduced in the evaluation field by multicriteria techniques must go on, just because there is a relevant convergence of results obtained with its application, even if there are still open questions with regard to the use of single techniques. In conclusion, it seems that complex evaluations cannot be only solved through the formulation and implementation of computer software. The approach to complex problems requires, on the contrary, the formulation of a strategy, because only by means of strategies is it possible to go further in situations characterised by uncertain and aleatory conditions. The best strategy is the construction of knowledge. REFERENCES 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

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World Commission on Environmental Development, (1987) Our Common Future, Oxford. Giarini, O. and Sthael, W.R. (1993) The Limits to Certainty, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht. Berlin, G. (1989) Decidere nel pubblico, ETAS LIBRI, Milano. Simon, H.A. (1981) The Sciences of the Artificial, MIT PRESS, Cambridge Mass. Barbaranente, A. and Mondini, G. (1990) La valutazione dei piani e degli interventi edilizi complessi: riflessioni sulla ricerca in Atti del Colloquio Internazionale di Capri 1989, quaderno IRIS C.N.R, No 8, Bari. Bravi, M. and Lombardi, P. (1993) Tecniche di valutazione, CELID Torino. Garvin, D.A. (1984) What Does Product Quality Really Mean?, in Sloan Management Review, Fall. Ostanello, A. (1984) Valutazione di efficacia di un intervento tecnico tra problema espresso e realtà osservata, in Tagliasacco, V. and Torti, M.T. (eds) Tecnologia ed Enti Locali, SIAG, Geneva. Fusco Girard, L. (1987) Risorse architettoniche e culturali: valutazioni e strategie di conservazione, Franco Angeli Editore, Milano. Nijkamp, P., Leitner, H. and Wrigley, N. (eds), (1985) Measuring the Unmeasurable, Martinus Nijhof, Doordrecht. Nijkamp, P. and Archibugi, F. (1989) Economy and Ecology: Towards Sustainable Development, Martinus Nijhof, Doordrecht.

Hedonic values of noxious activity: a comparison of US worker responses by race and ethnicity D.E.Clark Department of Economics, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI, USA

ABSTRACT Quality of life factors are important determinants of city sustainability. If public resources are to be used efficiently, policymakers need accurate estimates of both the benefits and the costs of environmental improvements. Although cost estimates may be readily assembled, deriving estimates of the benefits from nonmarket goods is often difficult. One technique to derive estimates of environmental quality is the intercity hedonic approach which evaluates compensating wage differentials resulting from locationspecific goods. For example, if reduced exposure to environmental hazards is of value to residents, then they should be motivated to avoid hazardous locations, and seek out cities with fewer hazards. Residents of safer locations pay for that privilege by accepting lower wages. In this paper, this “hedonic” or “implicit value” approach is used to determine whether workers of different race and ethnicity are impacted by local amenities, fiscal factors, and the density of noxious facilities in their regions. Using 1990 U.S. Census data, I find that jobs in locations that are less amenable, that have a high tax burden, and a high density of noxious facilities must compensate their workers by offering higher wages. Compensation levels are found to depend on the race and ethnicity of workers. Keywords: Noxious activity, hedonic valuation, race, ethnicity. 1 INTRODUCTION TO VALUATION TECHNIQUES Research has shown that intangible attributes of a city’s quality of life are important determinants of both employment and population growth in that city (Clark and Murphy [1]). For example, studies of migration behaviour have shown that migrants are attracted to high amenity locations, and conversely, they are deterred by cities with low quality of life. Among the quality of life factors that have been found to be important are climate, crime rates, air quality,


congestion, and proximity to noxious or hazardous activity. Since policymakers can often influence the levels of such factors, the issue of sustainable development must consider the value placed on quality of life attributes by local residents. The valuation of nonmarket goods has always presented a difficult challenge for economists. Since prices for these goods are not revealed in explicit market transactions, techniques have been devised to infer the value of the good. One approach which has been used is the contingent valuation method, where respondents are asked to state their willingness to pay for amenity improvements (or willingness to accept compensation for amenity degradation). If care is taken in the formulation of questions, this approach can accurately reveal the value placed on quality of life factors by local residents. For example, in another paper in this volume, Garrod, Willis, Bjarnadottir and Cockbain [2] use this methodology to determine the value associated with historic renovation projects. Alternatively, the hedonic method, which has its foundations in the works of Lancaster [3] and Rosen [4], derives values for quality of life factors by examining how market prices vary with proximity to the factor. In the intracity hedonic model, residential property values within a particular city are regressed on structural characteristics of the house, and also on local quality of life attributes. Amenities such as parks and historic preservation should serve to increase property values, while disamenities such as crime, pollution and congestion would be expected to have the opposite effect. The marginal value of an attribute is then derived as the first differential of the hedonic regression with regard to the attribute. For example, a recent paper by Kiel and McClain [5] derives implicit values for distance from an incinerator in a community. A second type of hedonic technique is the intercity model. The intercity hedonic model, which was first developed by Rosen [6] and later refined by Roback [7] and Blomquist, Berger and Hoehn [8], compares the variation in quality of life factors to the wages that are offered in different cities. Workers are shown to pay for high quality of life, by accepting lower wages, and paying higher land rents to live in high amenity cities. Henderson [9] shows that implicit valuations can be derived using compensating wage differentials only. In this paper, I use the intercity model to evaluate racial differences in the valuation of noxious facilities on city residents. 2 THE VALUE OF A HAZARD FREE ENVIRONMENT The U.S. environmental movement has served to heighten awareness of environmental consequences of urban growth. It has also ushered in a variety of environmental regulations designed to reduce the level of hazards to people and the environment. Critics of these regulations argue that they significantly raise costs of production, and result in reductions in output, and hence job losses. They further contend that much of the resulting unemployment is borne by minorities


and the poor. Environmental advocates counter that a clean and hazard-free environment is a good which local residents of all economic strata value.1 Indeed, the “environmental justice” movement has recast the debate into one of environmental rights to all people, regardless of socioeconomic status (Bullard [14], United Church of Christ [15]). Do minorities place the same value on amenities and environmental goods as nonminorities, or do they place a higher value on job growth? In this paper I estimate implicit valuations of amenities, fiscal goods, and noxious activity for minority and nonminority workers using data from the 1990 U.S. Census of Population and Housing. The findings suggest that white, black and hispanic workers, all place some value on locationspecific characteristics of their cities. Furthermore, there is limited support for the contention that high economic growth leads to even higher compensation for the noxious activity which are already in the region. However, the majority of the significant influences are found for white as opposed to minority workers. 3 THE INTERCITY HEDONIC MODEL Briefly, the intercity model developed by Henderson [9] presumes that workers have knowledge of the various regional offerings of quality of life factors (e.g., climate, air quality, crime, noxious activity) and they freely move so as to maximize their utility. Likewise, firms evaluate alternative production sites, and choose their location so as to minimize the cost of production. When a region is in spatial equilibrium, this combination of utility maximizing moves on the part of workers and cost minimizing moves on the part of firms results in compensating differentials in wages.2 The compensating wage differentials have the interpretation of an implicit price, or marginal willingness to pay for changes in the site attribute. The intercity hedonic wage model has been used in a number of applications. Cropper and Arriaga-Salinas [20] derive implicit valuations of air quality whereas Clark, Kahn and Ofek [21] and Herzog and Schlottmann [22] use the methodology to place a value on urban scale. Henderson [9] evaluates interregional welfare differences. In addition, Henderson notes that regional disequilibrium can be controlled using regional dummy variables. Clark and

1 See a recent paper by Martínez-Alie [10]. The author specifically examines different views on the relationship between economic growth and the preservation of environmental goods in rich and poor countries. However, parallels can also be drawn to different subgroups of the populations within a country. For example, studies by Cutter [11] and Howe [12, 13] show that environmental concerns depend on demographic characteristics. 2 Note that a spirited debate has arisen in the recent years regarding the assumption of regional equilibrium and the speed at which regions which are in disequilibrium adjust to a new equilibrium. See for example, Evans [16], Graves and Mueser [17], Schachter and Althaus [18] and Harrigan and McGregor [19] for a recent debate on the issue of regional disequilibrium.


Kahn [23, 24] extend the hedonic wage model to two stages, and derive willingness to pay functions for outdoor recreational amenities and urban cultural amenities. Finally, Roback [25] derives implicit prices for the risk of unemployment, and in a second stage, she explains which factors contribute to that perception of risk. 4 THE EMPIRICAL MODEL Data on individual earnings are taken from the Public Use Microdata Samples (PUMS) of the 1990 U.S. Census of Population and Housing. The use of the PUMS is advantageous for several reasons. First, the PUMS is microdata, and thus it allows for more precise control of the factors which distinguish individual productivity and tastes (e.g., education, industry, occupation). Second, the data set is geographically complete, and it identifies the specific metropolitan area in which a household resides.3 Hence, the individual data on earnings and personal characteristics can be merged with a host of metropolitan features. Finally, given that the PUMS is microdata, separate implicit valuations of amenities and noxious activity can be derived by race and ethnicity. A 20% sample is drawn from the 5% PUMS. Only metropolitan workers who are household heads, and who report earnings in 1989 are included in the sample. Those reporting wages less than $2.00/hour and more than $500/hour are deleted from the sample due to suspected misreporting of annual earnings or annual hours of work. The wage-opportunity locus is estimated using ordinary least squares for three race/ethnic groups; nonhispanic whites, blacks, and hispanics. Since the residential location is defined for 1990 and wages are derived for 1989, Herzog and Schlottmann [22] have pointed out that one can only be certain that the 1990 and 1989 locations are identical if the worker reports that he or she has not moved over the last five years. Thus, movers are screened from this sample. While this results in some of the marginal workers being removed from the sample, some marginal workers remain since it is not always necessary to change residential location in order to change jobs. Although hedonic theory suggests that the hedonic function is nonlinear (i.e., implicit prices are not expected to be constants), it does not specify the precise nonlinear form of the function. A semi-log specification is employed in this study because it is less complex than the flexible forms (e.g., Box-Cox or generalized quadratic), and it has been found to be best fitting in some hedonic models. See Garrod and Willis [26] for an excellent summary of functional form 3

To maintain confidentiality in its microdata, the Bureau of the Census identifies geographic areas ca