Putting the S-word back into Sustainability: Can we be more social?
Dixon, T., (2011) Putting the S-word back into Sustainability: Can we be more social? OISD/ The Berkeley Group, Oxford Brookes University.
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Official URL: http://oisd.brookes.ac.uk/news/resources/Tim%20Dix...
In an era dominated by climate change debate and environmentalism there is a real danger that the important ‘social’ pillar of sustainability drops out of our vocabulary. This can happen at a variety of scales from business level through to building and neighbourhood level regeneration and development. Social sustainability should be at the heart of all housing and mixed-use development but for a variety of reasons tends to be frequently underplayed. The recent English city riots have brought this point back sharply into focus. The relationships between people, places and the local economy all matter and this is as true today as it was in the late 19th century when Patrick Geddes, the great pioneering town planner and ecologist, wrote of ‘place-work-folk’. This paper, commissioned from Tim Dixon, explains what is meant by social sustainability (and how it is linked to concepts such as social capital and social cohesion); why the debate matters during a period when ‘localism’ is dominating political debate; and what is inhibiting its growth and its measurement. The paper reviews best practice in post-occupancy social sustainability metric systems, based on recent research undertaken by the author on Dockside Green in Vancouver, and identifi es some of the key operational issues in mainstreaming the concept within major mixed-use projects. The paper concludes by offering a framework for the key challenges faced in setting strategic corporate goals and objectives; prioritising and selecting the most appropriate investments; and measuring social sustainability performance by identifying the required data sources