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Sustainable urban form and residential development viability


  • Colin Jones
  • Chris Leishman
  • Charlotte MacDonald


Arguments about sustainable urban form have generally been in normative terms without recourse to its practicality. The paper shows that the essential elements of urban form are outcomes of real estate markets. The focus of the research is to examine the economic sustainability constraints to the adaptation of the existing urban form via housing market development viability. To address the task a number of econometric models are linked together to estimate spatial patterns of viability in five cities. The results demonstrate a substantial difference between cities that can be attributed not to urban form per se but to socioeconomic factors. This demonstrates that in practice it is impossible to divorce the physical structure of cities from their economic and social structure. Viability is also influenced strongly by public policy through the location of social housing. The research suggests that a driving force/constraint for development viability is the level of neighbourhood house prices. Large swathes of negative viability are found even without accounting for the additional costs of brownfield development, suggesting that there are major constraints to the reconfiguration of housing markets in some cities in a piecemeal way.

Suggested Citation

  • Colin Jones & Chris Leishman & Charlotte MacDonald, 2009. "Sustainable urban form and residential development viability," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 41(7), pages 1667-1690, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envira:v:41:y:2009:i:7:p:1667-1690

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:cog:urbpla:v:2:y:2017:i:4:p:64-80 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Tom Kauko, 2014. "Innovation in real estate and evolutionary agendas," ERES eres2014_15, European Real Estate Society (ERES).
    3. Damrongsak Rinchumphu & Chris Eves & Connie Susilawati, 2013. "Brand Value of Property in Bangkok Metropolitan Region (BMR), Thailand," International Real Estate Review, Asian Real Estate Society, vol. 16(3), pages 296-322.
    4. Yusra Mouzughi & David Bryde & Maher Al-Shaer, 2014. "The Role of Real Estate in Sustainable Development in Developing Countries: The Case of the Kingdom of Bahrain," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(4), pages 1-20, April.
    5. Ristimäki, Miro & Säynäjoki, Antti & Heinonen, Jukka & Junnila, Seppo, 2013. "Combining life cycle costing and life cycle assessment for an analysis of a new residential district energy system design," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 168-179.

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