Sustainable communities


Essay, 2008

20 Pages, Grade: 2.0




1. Sustainable communities
1.1. Definitions and ideas
1.2. Co-housing

2. Case study Springhill

3. Vision and Conclusion


List of illustrations

Appendix 1

Appendix 2

Appendix 3


In the last decade sustainability has become a central topic in discussions of regeneration in the UK and most other places in the world.

Heightening awareness of current issues and that of future generations’ is crucial in making a difference. The concept of sustainability can be applied to most aspects of human living and working. Within this essay co-housing as a form of sustainable communities will be discovered and introduced through a new built development in Gloucestershire, UK.

This document seeks to approach this topic from various angles and aims to show weaknesses and strengths of co-housing. It should be highlighted that it is not only new developments where proactive differences need to be made but also within existing developments and houses. I will show that changes and improvements can be made through small or medium interventions.

1. Sustainable communities

1.1. Definitions and ideas

The Brundtland Report (1987)[1] defines sustainability as “the ability of current generations to meet their needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Within this report the three fundamental components of a sustainable development are stated as:

- environmental protection
- economic growth
- social equity

The concept of sustainable regeneration provides framework integration with a long-term view. Originally raised from environmental concerns, the concept describes, first, beneficial interaction between economy, environment and social development and, secondly, intergenerational equity to ensure future generations have the same or better circumstances. (See Figure 1)

To define successful urban regeneration in terms of sustainability the following broad criteria must be considered:

- Giving a robust, long-term solutions, of benefit to the next generation while considering cost-effective measures for current generations
- To imply steady, strategic processes of urban development which can unforeseen intervening variables, such as are derived from the global economy
- Generating a positive reinforcement in development or investment sectors
- Leading a consist approach towards physical, economic and social reintegration of previously disadvantaged estates or neighbourhoods into broader townscape
- Fostering continuous innovation, which implies ‘learning-by-doing’ with systematic monitoring and adjustment of strategy

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 1: Sustainability concept diagram[2]

Sustainable communities are identified as the surroundings at the residential and workplace in which people live and thrive.Where there is a balanced integration of the social, economic and environmental components that ultimately identify a community area.

Main criteria are[3]:

- Being safe and inclusive
- well planned, built and run
- offering equality and opportunity for all

A general template for a sustainable community can not be given as each of these communities is unique, diverse and reflect their own local circumstances.

The Deputy Prime Minister (John Prescott) launched a£38-billion Communities Plan in February 2003, setting out the Government’s vision for sustainable communities, and has followed this with a plethora of plans, guidance and funding streams to prompt action.

The principles of sustainable communities set out in the Sustainable Communities Plan are as follows[4]:

- A flourishing local economy to provide jobs and wealth
- Strong leadership to respond positively to change
- Effective engagement and participation by local people, groups and businesses, especially in the planning, design and long-term stewardship of their community, and an active voluntary and community sector
- A safe and healthy local environment with well-designed public and green space
- Sufficient size, scale and density, and the right layout to support basic amenities in the neighbourhood and minimize the use of resources
- Good public transport and other transport infrastructure both within the community and linking it to urban, rural and regional centres
- Buildings- both individually and collectively – that can meet different needs over time and that minimise the use of resources
- A well-integrated mix of decent homes of different types and tenures to support a range of households sizes, ages and incomes
- Good quality local public services, including education and training opportunities, health care and community facilities, especially for leisure
- A diverse, vibrant and creative local culture, encouraging pride in the community and cohesion within it
- A ‘sense of place’
- The right links with the wider regional, national and international community


[1] Bruntland, G (ed) (1987). Our Common Future: The World Commission on Environment and Development, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[2] Source: Carley, M. & Kirk, K. (1998), p. 4.

[3] (07.11.2008)

[4] (07.11.2008)

Excerpt out of 20 pages


Sustainable communities
University of Westminster
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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1455 KB
Sustainable communities, Nachhaltigkeit, Sustainability
Quote paper
Susanne Grolle (Author), 2008, Sustainable communities, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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