Local Commitment: An Approach to Sustainable Neighbourhood Renewal?

Local Commitment: An Approach to Sustainable Neighbourhood Renewal?

Laure Heland (University of Tours, France)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0882-5.ch102


This contribution concerns the planning process applicable to sustainable urban neighbourhoods whose increasing number in Europe appears to be changing the framework of urban development. Having briefly presented the main characteristics of sustainable neighbourhoods in Europe, this chapter then specifically concentrates on sustainable urban neighbourhoods resulting from an ecological rehabilitation process in the city of Albertslund, in Denmark. While these rehabilitation experiments remain anecdotal when compared with new sustainable districts, they nevertheless represent a far greater structuring potential for cities. Our hypothesis is that the implementation of sustainable development renews local planning practices. We shall also see how these districts attempt to overcome a major contradiction inherent in new eco-neighbourhoods by combining a search for eco-technological performances with the incorporation of more social and cultural challenges. Our research suggests that the local actions of inhabitants can play an important role in making sustainable development work.
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Sustainable Neighborhoods In Europe: An Overview

There are different kinds and forms of sustainable neighbourhoods around the world. They are diverse in scale, focus and implementation. Although there is no claim here for exhaustivity, the examples quoted reflect the variety of available sources. Some of them have been particularly useful, as the EU-funded project on “New Sustainable Settlements” (EA.UE, 1997), the Barton & Kleiner research on “Innovative Eco-Neighbourhood projects” (Barton & Kleiner, 2000), the survey on European Sustainable Experiment (ARENE, 2005) and the approach of sustainable urbanism given by Douglas Farr (Farr, 2007). It appears that projects from outside Europe were more difficult to trace, however some have revealed very innovative approaches, like Waitakere (New Zealand) and Davis (California, US), (Kleiner, 1998) or Christie Walk and Newington (Australia), Holiday Neighbourhood in Boulder (Colorado, US), (Farr, 2007).

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