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A framework for the sustainability assessment of urban design and development in Iraqi cities

Ameen, Raed 2017. A framework for the sustainability assessment of urban design and development in Iraqi cities. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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The assessment of urban sustainability is increasingly being seen as essential to mitigate the undesirable impacts of urbanisation in cities while improving communities’ resilience to environmental, social and economic changes. Several urban sustainability assessment tools (USATs) have been developed to make such informed decision-making. In addition to their role as an enabler for stakeholder engagement and increased public awareness throughout the lifecycle of an urban development project, USATs act as a catalyst to increase market demand for sustainable products and services by providing a mechanism for recognising excellence. Most current USATs have been developed based on the needs of developed nations which are different from those of developing countries, especially those affected by natural disasters and man-made events e.g. wars. Iraq has endured several decades of war and subsequent international sanctions which have affected its overall economy, infrastructure, public services and utilities. In consequence, rebuilding, rehabilitation and the development of new cities and urban areas are currently underway but without evidence of attention to sustainability and public participation in decision-making. This research aimed to investigate the factors affecting urban sustainability in Iraq through a literature review and stakeholder consultations, leading to the development of a comprehensive sustainability assessment framework for urban design and development projects. The proposed framework included attention to the local environmental, social and economic aspects and urban challenges, in addition to how to promote awareness and stakeholder participation. The methodology included: (a) an analytical comparison of a range of global USATs to define relevant urban indicators; (b) determination of the urban challenges in the Iraqi context, through an extensive review of the literature; (c) investigation of key local urban challenges from the stakeholder perspective by conducting a nationwide questionnaire, and (d) identification and prioritisation of local assessment factors by consultation with a panel of experts, conducting a consensus-built method and application of the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) to allocate credits and rating formulas. This comprehensive consultation methodology is a unique contribution of the research to identify the key quantitative and qualitative assessment factors. The Iraqi urban sustainability assessment framework (IUSAF) comprises of 89 urban factors, ten of which are mandatory, which can be considered fundamental urban factors to assess the sustainability of a project. The results have revealed that ‘water’ was ranked as the most important factor with 8.5% of the total weight, ‘safety and security’ was second at 7.9 %, followed by ‘transportation and infrastructure’, ‘housing’, and ‘local economy’, demonstrating a link between deficiencies in the provision of environmental and socio-economic infrastructure in Iraq. These findings evidence that the IUSAF is based on an understanding of key local urban challenges and issues, this significantly different from a range of USATs currently in use, regarding urban factors (indicators, sub-indicators), their priorities and weighting systems. The IUSAF was validated using three urban development case studies of varying complexities. The applicability analysis reported the IUSAF as appropriate to assess urban sustainability. The final results of the testing process have validated the need for IUSAF to assess existing urban design and development which has been planned and developed in an unsustainable manner. IUSAF stands to create many substantial benefits as it has the capacity to raise awareness about urban sustainability issues for developers, specialists and decision-makers and to constitute a plan of action for current and new urban development projects in Iraqi cities.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Engineering
Uncontrolled Keywords: Urban Sustainability, Sustainability Asessment, Assessment Method, Urban Devlopment challenges
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 8 November 2017
Last Modified: 05 May 2021 09:19

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