Expert-initiated integrated approach to the development of sustainability indicators for neighbourhood sustainability assessment tools: An African perspective

Ayotunde Dawodu, Ali Cheshmehzangi, Arthur Williams

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Currently, neighbourhood sustainability assessment tools have been developed in all regions of the world excluding the African continent. Also, the NSATs that exist have been developed from a top-down (professional-led) approach, which has significant contextual disadvantages, particularly within the African context. The integrated approach for selecting indicators tends to be recommended in various studies of assessment tools but a method illustrating how this can be has not been executed. Hence, this study develops a methodology to integrate the bottom-up (community-led) approach with top-down approach in the early selection of Headline Sustainbility Indicators for NSATs via the use of questionnaires. The process is developed via expert-initiated approach and tested via critical case qualitative sampling and questionnaire. The case study for this exploratory research is Lagos, Nigeria. Lagos exemplifies many of the cities of the global South, which face an escalating crisis in terms of the provision of basic services. The result led to the development of eight rules of integrated participation for the early selection Indicators for NSATs. The eight rules are as follows: (1) Rule of Power/Influence (2) Rule of boundaries (3) Rule of Stake (4) Rule of goals (5) Rule of theory (6) Rule of execution (7) Rule of resources (8) Rule of verification and feedback. By developing these rules, additional observations and recommendations were made. For instance effective participation should be planned and systematic. Also, for countries classified as developing, the integrated participatory approach can save time, money and offer transparency on issues that could potentially be missed by an expert approach. Finally, to a certain degree, the bottom up approach certifies the relevance of indicators that are deemed as popular or common, when developed via the top-down approach and allows for the reduction of redundant and otherwise useless indicators that may not thrive if implemented. In future, this method can be the first process adopted for indicator development of assessment tools, when cities with no NSATs begin to develop their own urban assessment tools.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117759
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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