Sustainable neighbourhood development: Insights from Southern California

Garde, A., Saphores, J.D., Matthew, R. & K. Day.
Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design 37(3) 387 – 407

We examine the diffusion of sustainable planning and design concepts into neighbourhood development projects, based on findings of a survey of planners in all 180 cities of five Southern California counties. Sustainable neighbourhood development has particular significance in Southern California owing to the regions’s rapid growth. We compare ‘typical’ and ‘innovative’ neighbourhood developments to determine whether sustainable planning and design concepts are being incorporated in these projects. Although planners agree that ‘innovative’ projects are more likely than ‘typical’ projects to incorporate sustainable planning and design concepts, sustainability is not a high priority even in innovative neighbourhood projects. Our respondents identified significant barriers to and limited opportunities for encouraging sustainable neighbourhood development. These trends in planning and design appear likely to continue unless strong policy and other mechanisms are adopted to encourage sustainable neighbourhood development. The paper concludes with recommendations to promote more sustainable neighbourhood development.

Wagner Faculty