Are good intentions enough? Evaluating social sustainability in urban development projects through the capability approach

Céline Janssen*, Claudia Basta

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
71 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Social sustainability is a multidimensional concept sensitive to the contexts of its application. This study explores how it is interpreted and applied in urban planning practices in which general social sustainability goals are translated into specific urban design interventions. Building upon Sen’s Capability Approach (CA), we analyse the gap between the operationalization of social sustainability goals in Urban Development Projects (UDPs) from the perspective of urban planners, and the following experiences of the residents in the developed urban areas. By applying a capability-based evaluative framework to a UDP in Amsterdam, the study reveals that residents value distinct urban functionings and experience different enabling factors related to urban social sustainability. We conclude that the CA provides an operationalizable framework for assessing how social sustainability goals defined at the early stage of UDPs translate in the actual capabilities of the urban residents for whom those very goals were conceived.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)368-389
Number of pages22
JournalEuropean Planning Studies
Volume32 (2024)
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Funding

This research was conducted at TU Delft's chair Urban Area Development, that is supported by the Foundation for Knowledge on Area Development (Stichting Kennis Gebiedsontwikkeling).

Keywords

  • Social sustainability
  • Urban development projects
  • Capability approach operationalisation
  • Evaluative framework
  • Amsterdam

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