«CSAAR (7: 2010: Amman) Sustainable Architecture and Urban Development \ Edited by Steffen Lehmann, Husam Al Waer, Jamal AI-Qawasmi. Amman: The Center ...»
The eoncept of sustainability, on the national and international scale, has beeome an important eoneept espeeially during the diseussion following the Burtland report and the 1992 Rio summit. The coneept of sustainability is a desirable and could be attained on aglobai perspective (theoretically) unfortunately, smaller seales have difficulty applying the eoneept (Doughtry and Hammond,2004).
Sustainability cannot have one singular definition, as various different coneepts have articulated a wide diversity of possible definitions and meaning.
The definitions of sustainability are many, some complement the concept while others are contradictory (Lehamnn, 2009). Sustainability, on the coneeptual level, connects to maintenance or the enhancement of the natural systems. The focus of this eoncept is the sustainability of the human population as it tries to control people and their actions that impact the global environment (Egger, 2006).
Sustainability is a goal for international and national poliey makers; however, there is no measuring element at to assess the poliey practieally. The measuring and the process of defining sustainability is very diffieult due to its vague and complex eoncept (Phillis and Andriantiatsaholiniaina, 2001). The eoncept in itself is an admirable goal for earefully designed purposes; however, it eould be an invisible trap for those well-intentioned un-suspectors. As a goal it has an honourable perspective in the environmental movement which has been successful in the fight to ereate a THEORETICAL and STANDARDISED acceptance on the global scale (Mareuse, 1998). The eoncept is legible from a theoretical perspective, however, no country has been able to implement it and this could be due to political, economic, social aspeets, ete... Tbe problem, with Sustainable Architecture and Urban Development 455 standardisation is that each country is different and each has its own agenda, to standardise a concept on an international sc ale identity will be lost.
Brink in 1991 stated that to create adefinition for sustainability, it should follow a set of rules ; (a) Define clear objectives; (b) concern the system as a whole; (c) Quantitative Character should be established; (d) easily understandable by all; (e) include parameters that could be used for periods of one or more decades (Marcuse, 1998)..
If however, sustainability was used as a constraint rather than a goal, then it could be considered a criterion in the evaluation measures in the achievement of otherwise define desired goals. This evolves on the Brundtland commission's definition.
Measuring the level of sustainability in cities is not an easy process. It is difficult to determine the most effective quantitative and qualitative indicators.
However, the indicators are essential in measuring the progress of cities in all the aspects of sustainability on all the different spatial scaJes. Sustainability Indicators (SIs) have become a tool that is used extensively to measure the performance of system~and policies projects (AIWaer, 2008).
The selection and the use of SIs is not an exact philosophy as there are many contributing factors to it such as; pressures, agendas and biases. Governments usually ren der themselves in the best possible way and it is easy to believe that reference conditions may be set with a political agenda in mind. The concept of SIs is to try to break down a complex system into its components and study how they work in isolation and then together. This system is known as the reductionist approach. Unfortunately, this concept is greatly criticised due to the fact the concept of sustainability is too complex with millions of variables and it is impossible to look at every single one. One of the biggest problems regarding SIs is the encapsulation of these complex and diverse processes in a relatively few simple measures (Bell and Morse, 2008).
Hisharn Moustafa, Husam AlWaer & Tamer Gado
Figure 4: The representation of sustainability (Adams 2006), p2) Sustainability indicators generally fall under three major categories and they are the three pillars that carry sustainability; (a) Economic, (b) Social and (c) Environmental. In theory, all three aspects are equal, unfortunately in the practicality of the concept more accentuation is given to the economic aspecL Hence the other two aspects need to fluctuate to the return the balance of sustainability (Adams, 2006). This representation could be shown in three different modes. They are; (a) The Pillar Model, (b) The concentric model and (c) the overlapping circles. This is evident in Figure 4. The look and shape ofthis figure is dependent on how the city approaches to solve concept of sustainability from their perspective.
The numbers of sustainability indicators are increasing at a daily basis.
However, this explosion supports two particular interesting features. Firstly, there is an emphasis on a sub-national level, and secondly there are many situations were indicators are being used (Rydin et al., 2003). There is a growing concern for the use of sustainability indicators on city leveL By measuring certain phenomena's such as waste recycling rates, water quality or vehicle miles travelled, current information could be provided to measure the current trends and conditions to track the city goals progress. Indicators are also valuable due to their driving influence for city to show what is essential and helps in the engagement of citizens to achieve a certain goal, mentioned in section 2.2 (Gahn et aL, 2003).
Indicators are an important occurrence as it shows how adjacent or distant the city is to the targets of sustainability and how cities could improve them (Pinfield, 1996). Indicator development is not purely technical or scientific Sustainable Architecture and Urban Development 457 process; rather, it should be an open communkation and policy process (Valentin and Spangenberg, 2000).
There are many sustainable city indicators around the world. This paper concentrates on two main concepts. These concepts were chosen as they claim to be the most successful in the world. They are; (a) the 10 principles of Melbourne, (b) the CABE (Commission of Architecture and the Built Environment Principles) principles.
The paper looked at several different SCIs around the world and out of the SCI set, the two selected were the most ideal for this research. The choke was based to show how the different indicators attempt to reach the same goal but through different priorities.
The 10 Principles of Melbourne are a set of aspirations developed at an international charette in 2002. These rules were later on endorsed by the Johannesburg summit in later that same year. These principles are the keys to achieving the concept of designing the city as a sustainable ecosystem. They are flexible to be applied in their own unique way. The path to sustainability is global goal which relies on informed citizens and an effective city government, joined together in agiobai compact to ensure that urban humanity and all planetary life can coexist and thrive (Newman and Jennings, 2008).
The CABE Principles focus on the concept of making cities more low carbon. lt focuses on planning, designing and managing a sustainable place. It cuts through the intricacy with simple and clear conducts. Following its set of principles certifY a more resilient economy, healthier residents, a more beautiful place and a better quality of life for everyone (Practitioners, 2007).
Using different solutions to tackle the same problem doesn 't necessarily mean that the outcome is similar and this was evident in table 3. This means that the philosophy behind sustainability, or sustainable indicators, is not an exact science and there are many fluctuations that occur between each given scenario.
Eventhough they have differences there are still some similarities. There are similarities that are directly linked in both set of principles and there are others are others that are indirectIy Iinked. For example, Leadership in CABE and Governance and hope are identical in the concept but the names differ.
Governance and hope indirectly affects energy, waste management and water management.
Table 2: criticises the difference between two SCIs.j:.
Many authors believe it is difficult to measure the sustainability and yet still trying to find a direct and more precise definition for environmental indicator.
The indicators supplied by the scientific community commonly have a low degree of collectivcness and an excessive amount of information and vice versa (Gagliardi et al., 2005).
However, SCIs grading cannot be generalised as what is important for one city could be could be of less importance in another city. This means for example a huge issue for a city like Kuwait is access to water, this issue could be less important in a city like London and vice versa on other issues. This is also evident in table 5, there are 2 different SCIs and both /'rom different countries, one is from Melbourne and the other is CABE from the United Kingdom (UK).
It is obvious that Melbourne tried to incorporate all the aspects of sustainability, while CABE focused a great deal on the environmental issues with minor concentration on the remaining two factors, meaning that it is impossible to have a standardised process of measuring sustainability Between regions and countries, there are many Cultural and social variations and sustainability measurement may vary from one region to the next, even ifthe same criteria are applied. A flexible assessment system is therefore required to take spatial boundaries into consideration whilst still retaining the understanding of the occurring changes and their reasons. As a consequence, to have a holistic view of sustainable development, assessment methods have emerged over the previous year's incorporating a broad range of criteria. The selection is based upon aseries of bias, genders and agendas and they are presented in quantitative and qualitative formats which depend on what aspect ofthe performance is being assessed and at what spatial scale (Alwaer et al., 2008).
From Table 3 it 1S clear that the most weil rounded of the two SCIs are the principles set by Melbourne. They cover a wider range of issues and are more flexible. This is the reason for its selection in table 4 to be compared against the city concepts mentioned in section 2.
Table 3: Compan.:s the Intelligent and Ecological city Concept with the 10 Principles.j.
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2.2 Sustainability and Control The eoneept of sustainability, as was mentioned in seetion 2.1, is eontrol.
Sustainability attempts to eontroL Many researehers have reeognized that eomplex problems often are not solved by pure logie or seience, monitoring or engineering, as these approaehes foeus mainly on efficieney and how to make "what is" more effieient. They eannot easily shift to ereating solutions that are not just efficieney gains (Newman and Jennings, 2007, p. 157). Sustainability foeuses more on mastery, eontrol and efficieney and this tends to generate eities that are fragmented without soul or eharaeter (Ellin, 2006). It is a philosophy that is based truly and utterly on eontrol. It attempted to eontrol people's movement and community growth (Farr, 2008; Clark, 2010), uses, nature, water usage, etc... Control has also been attempted through guildelines, policies, measurments and legistalations.
Decision and Poliey makers need to understand that perfectionism should not be the main goal, and that it may not bring happiness or improve the city. The pursuit of perfectionism is not linked to happiness, but it only could be eonsidered sueeessful if it meets the user's needs. Otherwise it is considered a neutral affect or sometimes even worse. So instead of the egotistical concepts between cities of ereating the best, it is more important for eities to understand how the use of their spaees, on a daily basis, can be made more harmonious and more satisfying, by this concept indirectly reach their symbolic goal of ereating plans that do not harm the environment (or sustainable) (Ellin, 2006).