Table of Contents

Handbook of Sustainability Assessment

Handbook of Sustainability Assessment

Research Handbooks on Impact Assessment series

Edited by Angus Morrison-Saunders, Jenny Pope and Alan Bond

The Handbook of Sustainability Assessment introduces the theory and practice of sustainability assessment and showcases the state-of-the-art research. The aim is to provide inspiration and guidance to students, academics and practitioners alike and to contribute to the enhancement of sustainability assessment practice worldwide. It emphasises how traditional impact assessment practices can be enhanced to contribute to sustainable outcomes. Featuring original contributions from leading sustainability assessment researchers and practitioners, it forms part of the Research Handbooks on Impact Assessment series.

Chapter 9: Cities and sustainability assessment: resilience and sustainability thinking about the future of cities

Maria R. Partidário and Pedro Pereira

Subjects: business and management, management and sustainability, environment, environmental management, environmental sociology


Urban planning is still mostly driven by population and economic growth forecasts to justify the need for new or expanded infrastructures. Concerns with urban environmental and social issues are certainly increasing on the agenda, but economic growth is still largely seen as the enabler of well-being. Increasing sustainability concerns with this model of city development have led over the last few years to emerging city sustainability approaches, both in developed and in developing countries, albeit their priorities being different. In the regions of the world that still experience high demographic growth rates, we observe the continuing expansion of the size of cities, accommodating high fertility rates and incoming rural populations, with arguably insufficient physical infrastructures and limited social inclusiveness. Where fertility rates have slowed down, or even reversed, cities get more focused on rehabilitation to increase competitiveness, while still planning to accommodate a growing culturally diverse incoming migrant population, with large social and economic gaps, and social inclusiveness becoming even more acute (Florida, 2009; Stiglitz, 2013). In western world cities where basic water quality and supply, sanitation and waste disposal are problems under management control, the effects of climate change, as well as income distribution, poverty and social stresses, become the major problems.

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