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Assessing Sustainability

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To begin with, students will study the Egan Wheel, which contains eight criteria that can be used to assess the sustainability of a given community. Then they will complete a sustainability assessment sheet as they study an area in order to record evidence of sustainability and the lack of it. They should look out for the following kinds of features:

  • green spaces, recycling facilities and evidence of renewable energy use
  • congestion on the roads, presence of public transport and/or cyclists
  • signs of a vibrant local economy with independent shops and businesses
  • evidence of plentiful services such as schools and hospitals
  • urban design – does the city appear well-planned and aesthetically pleasing?

Students will then examine the results of their assessment sheets for each of the areas they have assessed and then rank them in order of sustainability. They could then compare this with the actual list of UK cities ranked by global footprint which can be viewed online.

The next step would be to get students to select one of the cities and suggest how things might be altered to improve sustainability. If they have the necessary skills, they could portray this visually, using either an online or printed map or using GIS.

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