Assessing urban social sustainability: current capabilities and opportunities for future research

The increased importance of the concept of sustainable development combined with the need for an evidence-based approach to policy development, has created the need for reliable models and tools to guide decision-makers by robust measures of system performance that can assess the impact of policy and practice upon urban sustainability. In recognition of this need, a consortium comprising three UK academic institutions and three lead industrial partners, under the auspices of the Sustainable Urban Environments – Metrics, Models and Toolkits (sue-MoT) project, undertook an extensive scoping study, that assessed the current state of the art in urban sustainability assessment, with a view to: identifying gaps and needs in currently available assessment tools; and identifying consequent priorities for tool development. This paper reports on the methodology used in the study and the gaps, needs and priorities subsequently identified in current work and knowledge specifically within the specific area of urban social sustainability.