Investigation of the “BREEAM Communities” tool with respect to urban design

University essay from KTH/Miljöstrategisk analys (fms)

Abstract: Urbanisation is an increasing phenomenon especially the last years, which is of major concern due to the damage that can cause on environmental components such as climate, biosphere, land and water resources. A prevalent way to control this damage and mitigate the negative impacts of urban areas, lately, is considered the use of international tools like BREEAM Communities. BREEAM Communities is a third party assessment and certification standard that assesses, rates and certifies international processes, addressing environmental, social and economic sustainability objectives that can have an impact on large-scale development projects. A prevailing aspect of an urban development process is the urban design part which demands a lot of effort during the whole process. This study, focuses on how BREEAM Communities incorporates and influences the urban design of a large-scale development. By analysis of case studies regarding development projects in Sweden that either used BREEAM Communities or rejected it, qualitative interviews with relevant actors and quantitative analysis of the tool with charts and diagrams, the benefits and the drawbacks of the tool in relation to urban design are being explored. The main methods used for collecting and analysing the data are a theoretical approach, case studies analysis and interviews. Based on the overall qualitative and quantitative results of this study, the tool proved to be urban design sensitive since it includes a wide range of issues related to urban design and in particular, it has the potential to provide inspiration and support to the urban design team from an early stage throughout the process. Finally, a set of certain guidelines for architects and urban designers were prepared in order to optimise their job by setting priorities and to make their work more time and cost efficient.

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