Action in neighbourhoods is vital to tackling climate change - whilst simultaneously creating successful, sustainable communities and places to live and work.

As CABE’s work has shown, the location and scale of homes, shops and businesses, the provision of community facilities such as schools, healthcare buildings, libraries and leisure centres, the availability of safe, well-maintained green spaces for play and relaxation - all contribute to the economic, social and environmental sustainability of a neighbourhood.

The community can use their knowledge of their neighbourhood to develop local solutions to local problems and opportunities, whilst at the same time contributing to wider climate change and sustainability targets.

Communities can lead on local neighbourhood renewal partnerships and projects to improve the sustainability of areas. The UK Sustainable Development Commission has produced gudiance, The Future is Local, on how this can be done through upgrading and retrofitting local physical infrastructure (e.g. making existing buildngs more energy efficient or establishing community-owned renewable energy projects).

Assessing the sustainability of neighbourhoods

Building for Life is the national standard for well designed homes and neighbourhoods. It uses 20 criteria for functional, attractive and sustainable housing.

Role of sustainable masterplanning

In new developments and redevelopment opportunities, sustainable masterplanning is key to creating better neighbourhoods.

Masterplanning can be part of the planning policy framework - as area action plans or as supplementary planning documents.Embedding climate change considerations within these frameworks helps masterplans to contribute to the future resilience of a neighbourhood - and its capacity to contribute to our low-carbon future. At present, such masterplans are rare and tend to focus on climate change mitigation - it’s essential that adaptation measures are also included.

Local authorities

Here are some of the ways local authorities can plan for low carbon, resilient and sustainable neighbourhoods:

  • area action plans
  • masterplans adopted as supplementary planning documents
  • designation of low carbon neighbourhoods
  • development of area-based refurbishment programmes.

Local authorities can help to bring together planning, design and management holistically to achieve a step change in neighbourhoods, for example through the integration of resource management, transport and green infrastructure strategies.

More on the neighbourhood scale


Advice for neighbourhoods

Advice for sustainable design and management at the neighbourhood scale.

Examples for neighbourhoods

Examples of sustainable design and management at the neighbourhood scale.

CABE and Urban Practitioners
with the cities of Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield