How do you develop plans and strategies for more sustainable neighbourhoods?

The Built Environment Sustainability Tool enables the development of sophisticated and responsive plans and strategies to support improved local sustainability. These plans respond to and address gaps and aspects of current poor performance in the neighbourhood while supporting and improving aspects of good performance.

A wide range of options should be evaluated before a final selection of options for implementation is made. The tool should also be used to inform the mix, and sequencing, of interventions. Finally, detailed implementation plans and strategies should be designed and tested back against criteria in the tool to ensure that maximum impact is achieved.

The questions below, in conjunction with BEST, can be used to inform detailed implementation plans and strategies aimed at supporting sustainability.

New infrastructure

  • Is new infrastructure required?
  • Can existing infrastructure be used or adapted?
  • Can management and operation agreements be developed to support multifunction use of and shared access of existing facilities? 

Clustering and partnerships

  • Can clustering and shared use of infrastructure be used to increase efficiency and reduce operating costs?
  • Can partnerships be developed with neighbouring landowners and communities to increase the scale of interventions to support shared benefit and improved cost-effectiveness?

Linkages and synergies

  • How can systems be linked to reduce wastage and improve efficiency?  
  • Are there synergies that can be developed for mutual benefit?

Location and land use

  • Which location(s) for interventions can be used to support symbiotic relationships between functions and land uses?
  • Which location(s) for interventions draw on, and work with, natural and artificial features of the existing site to improve efficiencies and reduce operational costs?


  • Which procurement processes are most suitable for creating local jobs and supporting local small businesses?
  • Which procurement processes can be used to reduce risk and improve local self-reliance concerning funding and long-term financial sustainability?


  • Which construction processes are most suitable for creating local jobs and support local small businesses?
  • Which construction products and materials are most suitable for creating local jobs and support local small businesses?

Operational management

  • Which operational management models ensure affordable local access and use of infrastructure for community benefit?
  • Which operational management models include governance mechanisms which ensure that infrastructure is responsive to local needs and opportunities?

These questions can be used to develop detailed designs, specifications, plans and implementation methods that ensure that the resulting interventions not only support local sustainability but also ensure that implementation processes are also used to support sustainability. The Built Environment Sustainability Tool can be accessed here.