Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

Review of Existing Evaluation Tools

This work package reviewed the literature for evaluation tools referring to the theoretical background behind the creation of tools to evaluate urban sustainability. The review identified evaluation tools developed from both a theoretical base together with those that are used in practice.

A procedure was developed to enable a coherent and consistent review of evaluation tools and benchmark data between partners. The search for tools attempted to identify all types of sustainable development tool. This included those investigating environmental, social and economic factors individually or combined, and also sector specific and holistic tools from a practical and theoretical background. A detailed data extraction sheet was designed to be use as a guide to collect relevant information comprising 24 questions.

126 tools were fully reviewed: 11 generic tools, these are theoretical procedures originally developed to investigate sustainability and have been used to create more practical tools over time; 82 holistic tools, these either investigate the sustainability impacts of buildings (12) or the impact of wider infrastructure developments and planning (70). (This category was changed to ‘Buildings and Land use’ later in the project); 32 sector specific tools that are used to investigate one sector only and collect information at a more technical level. 9 of these relate to the energy sector, 2 investigate waste, 8 consider the water/sewage sector, 2 look at transport and 11 relate to the green/blue sector.

The review of tools has identified that there is a limited set of benchmarks available and those that are available are not often realistically achievable or are difficult to calculate. Benchmarks that do exist vary greatly between sectors under investigation and between countries. The review also identified that in many cases actors’ are confused and wary of set benchmarks as they are often set with a lack of detailed baseline data to define targets. By using benchmarks set by different organisations or by government, comparisons can be made with other urban infrastructure projects particularly those in the same sector. Benchmarking requires a base knowledge for continual changes, whether positive or negative to be measured.

Consideration of the procedure for using the tools and the involvement of public participation has been made. The overall question relating to end users is why the tools available are not being used when significant interest in PETUS has been expressed by many end users and other organisations. End users have agreed that the gap identified between theory and practice exists, and difficulties encountered when trying to assess effectively the sustainability of an infrastructure, to investigate different influences, interactions, and to conclude about their (cumulative) impact.

A positive feature identified by many end users is the use of tools to encourage joined up thinking between actors in the urban infrastructure industry and the public. Public participation is seen as a major interest, tools can assist with this by providing technical support to obtain a better argument or to incorporate and assemble an interactive public participation process.

The results from the Review of Existing Evaluation Tools have fed into the development of the PETUS framework of practical evaluation tools for urban sustainability.

Informazioni correlate

Reported by

The Welsh School of Architecture
Cardiff University, Bute Building, King Edward VII Avenue,
United Kingdom
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