Neighborhood sustainability assessment tools: A review of success factors

Ayyoob Sharifi, Ayotunde Dawodu, Ali Cheshmehzangi

Research output: Journal PublicationReview articlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Since 1990s, many building sustainability assessment tools were developed and implemented in different parts of the world. Encouraged by the considerable success of these tools in promoting sustainability principles and practices, a movement to upscale building-centered assessment methods by focusing on the neighborhood scale was born in the subsequent decade. This movement has evolved considerably over the past two decades, and there are now many tools for neighborhood sustainability assessment. Also, during this period a large body of literature on neighborhood sustainability assessment tools has been published. In this study we seek to identify and categorize successes regarding the development and implementation of these tools through a systematic review of the literature. Based on evidence reported on 40 tools from different parts of the world, we identified two major success categories, namely, structural, and procedural. Tool improvement over time, provision of measurable indicators for assessment, and recognition of context-specific issues through developing some local tools are major structural successes. Also, major successes related to procedures are the promotion of sustainable design, improvements in environmental performance (e.g., reduced travel demand and sprawl control), and usefulness for identifying priority development locations. One major issue is that reported evidence is mainly related to some prominent tools, namely Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND), Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method for Communities (BREEAM Communities), Comprehensive Assessment System for Building Environmental Efficiency for Urban Development (CASBEE-UD), and Green Star Communities. Further research on other existing tools is needed to gain a better understanding of the successes. Overall, this study demonstrates that neighborhood sustainability assessment tools have great potential in contributing to the transition towards sustainable urban development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number125912
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2021


  • Assessment tools
  • BREEAM Communities
  • Neighborhood sustainability
  • Successes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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