Neighborhood sustainability assessment tools: Research trends and forecast for the built environment

Ayotunde Dawodu, Ali Cheshmehzangi, Ayyoob Sharifi, Jumoke Oladejo

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Rapid urbanization, environmental concerns and demand for sustainable cities contributed to the development of Neighbourhood Sustainability Assessment Tools (NSATs) such as LEED-ND and BREEAM-Communities. Whilst their success in increasing sustainability outcomes within the built environment is evident, there are unnoticed gaps in NSAT frameworks that might hinder their future suitability for sustainable urban planning and design. Therefore, to remain pertinent, NSATs must address the constantly evolving sustainability issues. To determine the gaps in NSATs frameworks and identify trends in sustainable communities, this study utilised a bibliometric exploration of NSAT-related publications. A total of 117 research articles over the last decade were reviewed to inform and provide insights on the research and development needs as well as areas of enhancing NSATs efficacy. The results revealed that research methods used to evaluate NSATs in journal articles are predominantly qualitative. This significantly limits the precision of research outcomes and highlights the need to increase quantitative (experiential and experimental) performance-based investigations which provide context and practically relevant outcomes. Furthermore, an upsurge in research themes related to big data and climate change, focused on smartness and resilience, was revealed. This indicates the suitability of NSATs for addressing existing societal concerns.To build on this achievement, tools may need to incorporate more health-based dynamics while considering issues of climate justice in order to remain effective and relevant. Another observation is the low research contribution from developing regions and lack of research from African regions. The observations and recommendations given in this study are pertinent to various stakeholders, including developers, and industry experts and consider the role of researchers in enhancing the performance of NSATs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100064
JournalSustainable Futures
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • Assessment tools
  • BREEAM communities
  • Neighborhood sustainability
  • Urban resilience
  • Urban sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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