This paper summarises a literature review which examines narratives around sustainable development, urban design and neighbourhood masterplanning.

Sustainable neighbourhood standards, such as BREEAM Communities, have been examined by various researchers. There is less research that directly contrasts some of the more fundamental assumptions in such standards with core concepts applied in the field of urban design.

This paper summarises a literature review which examines narratives around sustainable development, urban design and neighbourhood masterplanning. Two areas are identified that affect the standard’s uptake and application: (i) the need for greater consistency in BREAAM Communities’ structure, including how ‘global’ sustainability issues are addressed in differing local contexts and stakeholder agendas, as well as the need for post-construction validation; (ii) how  BREAAM Communities might better reflect the wider context, where numerous factors impact construction sector application of voluntary standards, (e.g. the rate developments enter the market, private and public sector demand for ‘sustainable’ neighbourhoods, perceptions of cost, administrative burden and relevance).

It is these technical and contextual concerns that may ultimately determine how successful a standard can be in achieving its aims for sustainable urban development. Further empirical research is required to understand evaluative and decision-making practices in masterplanning and how BREEAM Communities may contribute to them.



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