publication

Design for Social Sustainability

Design for Social Sustainability sets out a framework for planning and designing the service, spaces, housing and governance arrangements to help local communities to thrive.

Social sustainability is largely neglected in mainstream sustainability debates. Priority has been given to economic and environmental sustainability in particular in the context of urban planning and housing, where policy and investment has focused on renewable resources, low carbon communities and encouraging pro-environmental household behaviours. As a result, there are few practical resources that directly address the question of how to create places that are socially sustainable, as well as physical infrastructure that is environmentally sustainable. Past experience shows that the long-term social needs of new communities are often overlooked in the drive to deliver housing on a large scale. Without the right social infrastructure new communities can quickly spiral into decline.

This report is based on work with the Homes and Communities Agency to understand how to change the way planners and built environment professionals think about creating new places.