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Sustainablity and the built environment: sustainable communities Essay Example

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Sustainablity and the built environment: sustainable communities

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This paper analyses the progress made in UK until now on these counts to assess how close UK has come to delivering sustainable communities.One of the key elements of sustainable communities is sustainable construction. The Cambridgeshire County Council has brought forward a guide for good practices on sustainable construction (Land Use Consultants, 2004). This guide illustrates how builders can make buildings that respect the environment and what key parameters builders must take into account in designing and constructing the buildings. These key parameters are:1) Adapting to climate change: guidelines on ensuring healthy and comfortable environments for living and working through efficient landscaping and reducing the impact of natural disasters on buildings.The issue of delivering sustainable communities is systematically considered within the UK government planning, one of the 6 levers identified in the OPDM report of 2003. This is evident from the fact that the Sustainable Communities Act was made a law in October 2007. This act gives councils and communities an opportunity to bring forward and implement new ideas on how best to improve the quality of life and the wellbeing of people in a local area (LGA, 2011). The key idea behind passing this law was to allow locals to be involved in decision making for changes in public services, and in the pattern of public spending. This law also brings some clarity on the debate on sustainable development and environmental justice. By allowing locals to decide the future course of their local areas and of public spending, the government is allowing the locals to figure out what works best for them – should a “sacrifice” be acceptable for the larger good.In order to assess whether we are getting closer to delivering on sustainable communities, we need to identify the factors that would reflect the progress (or lack thereof) in this direction. These factors must include environmental impact of residential areas, and the general wellbeing of the people. We now turn to the evolution over time of specific indicators for these factors that show our progress towards sustainable communities.Household energy use: Appendix 2 shows the evolution of energy consumption in households. It is evident that the energy consumption in the residential sector is going down. This statistical evolution indicates progress in moving towards

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Communities and Local Government. 2011. Housing: Live tables on dwelling stock: Vacant dwellings. Communities and Local Government. [Online] 2011. [Cited: 7 October 2011.] http://www.communities.gov.uk/housing/housingresearch/housingstatistics/housingstatisticsby/stockincludingvacants/livetables/.

—. 2011. Housing: Live tables on stock. Communities and Local Government. [Online] 2011. [Cited: 7 October 2011.] http://www.communities.gov.uk/housing/housingresearch/housingstatistics/housingstatisticsby/locallevelstatistics/225646/.

DEFRA. 2010. Measuring progress: Sustainable development indicators 2010. London : Crown copyright, 2010.

Land Use Consultants. 2004. Sustainable Construction in Cambridgeshire: A Good Practice Guide. Cambridgeshire : Land Use Consultants, 2004.

LGA. 2011. Sustainable communities act. Local Government Association. [Online] 2011. [Cited: 18 October 2011.] http://www.lga.gov.uk/lga/core/page.do?pageId=561616.

ODPM, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. 2003. Sustainable communities: building for the future. London : Crown copyright, 2003. 02HC00964.

Office for National Statistics. 2011. Annual Abstract of Statistics, Q3 2011. [Online] 2011. [Cited: 17 October 2011.] http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/ctu/annual-abstract-of-statistics/quarter-3-2011/art-quarter-3.html#tab-Chapter-15---Population.

V. Appendices

Appendix 1: £38bn plan introduced in 2003 for sustainable communities’ development

Source: ODPM, 2003

Appendix 2: Household energy use

Source: DEFRA, 2010

Appendix 3: Domestic water consumption

Source: DEFRA, 2010

Appendix 4: Household waste per person

Source: DEFRA, 2010

Appendix 5: Land recycling

Source: DEFRA, 2010

Appendix 6: Dwelling density

Source: DEFRA, 2010

Appendix 7: Households access to key services: Access to key services at the neighbourhood level by foot and public transport

Source: DEFRA, 2010

Appendix 8: Availability of decent homes: houses below decent homes standard

Source: DEFRA, 2010

Appendix 9: Homelessness

Source: DEFRA, 2010

Appendix 10a: Housing supply: net additions to dwelling stock

Source: DEFRA, 2010

Appendix 10b: Housing supply: number of vacant dwellings in UK (in thousands)

Source: DEFRA, 2010

Appendix 11: Overall life satisfaction; people’s responses on a scale of 0 to 10 with 10 meaning highly satisfied

Source: DEFRA, 2010

Appendix 12: Environmental Quality perception of people

Source: DEFRA, 2010

Note: The environmental conditions people were asked to rate were: river water quality, air quality, green space, habitat favourable to biodiversity, flood risk, litter, housing conditions, road accidents, and presence of regulated sites like waste management, industrial or landfill sites or sewage treatment works.

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