- Generalizing urban Sustainability Success Stories: a discussion on selected European cases    click here to open paper content950 kb
by    Lourenco, Julia M. & Danko, Cristina C. | jloure@civil.uminho.pt   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
Selected European experiences on urban systems sustainability provide a backdrop for a discussion on the importance of appropriate scales for defining quantitative and qualitative comparison parameters in order to achieve methodology generalization.
The process and inherent merits and drawbacks of incorporating both quantitative and qualitative indicators in the process of establishing baseline urban sustainability case studies are discussed, resorting to European examples. Urban systems offer a wide variety of challenges and opportunities, depending on their size, the size of their population, their geographical, geopolitical and environmental situation and also their productive capability. A sustainable urban system relies on the cultural characteristics of its inhabitants, their philosophy regarding quality of life, the administrative capability of their leaders and how and to what extent is the civil society organized. These are compelling reasons that indicate how difficult it may be to generalize sustainable urban planning and development. The need to custom-tailored, specific approaches is clear. These typically address a pre-defined set of priorities over time and spatial scales, resulting in a process that is lengthy and enduring. However, some degree of simplification is required and thus, generalization of guidelines, procedures and methodologies can and must be presented in such a way that their scope is broader both in temporal and geographical application. Such an approach allows for case comparison and successful stories can be retained as examples, encouragement and guidance for instances when these might be necessary and/or desired. One of the many problems with defining generalized guidelines relates to the many parameters that define target cases, namely size. Cases may be rendered non-comparable given their considerable difference in size, though common the underlying concepts of sustainable urban planning, development and growth may be. Development instruments such as policies, programmes and plans operate at different levels given the distinct order of scope magnitude. More than a matter of size, it is a matter of scale.
Europe; Portugal; urban system sustainability; methodology generalization
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