Urban regeneration and impact assessment for social sustainability
This paper provides a working definition of social sustainability and highlights the growing array of social sustainability assessment tools (e.g. SIA, HIA, equality impact assessment, SA). Within EIA the social dimension has been very much the 'poor relation'. However, changes in the UK planning system, the drive for sustainable communities, and for greater public involvement in decision making are raising the profile of the social dimension. This is particularly relevant for urban regeneration projects, which are often mixed use (including housing), and with the potential for development to be shaped by community involvement. The paper includes a review of recent environmental statements (ESs) for regeneration projects in the UK, which provides findings on, for example, the inclusion of social factors in the process; scope of such factors; methodological approaches and impact assessment tools; and role of community involvement. The research raises questions about the extent to which social issues shape outcomes; it also highlights some important challenges, including the key issue of 'integration versus disintegration' in the scope and process of impact assessment.
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