Journal of Geographical Systems

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 413–449 | Cite as

Compactness, connectivity, and walking accessibility on the neighborhood level according to sustainability certifications: improvement or downgrade? A case study of Cairo, Egypt

  • Amr Ah. GoudaEmail author
  • Houshmand E. Masoumi
Original Article


Urban sustainability certifications (USCs) urge developers to exceed the local norms and regulatory requirements to attain sustainability. USCs are gaining international recognition as planning and policy support tools. This study aims to assess the relevance of four USCs (LEED for Neighborhood Development, BREAAM communities, CASBEE for Urban Development, and Pearl Community Rating System) in contexts outside their country of origin using Cairo Governorate as a case study. The study focuses on compactness, street connectivity, and walking accessibility as prominent components for sustainable mobility and urban form at the neighborhood level. The study examines 202 neighborhoods in Cairo in terms of compactness and then focuses on eight urban areas in different locations and with different characteristics to assess their connectivity and walking accessibility. Different analyses were performed with ArcGIS software using data about neighborhoods’ population, residential units, street networks, established buildings, buildings’ outlines and heights, and detailed uses. Results show that USCs’ indicators and thresholds are generally lenient and insensitive to the context of formal areas in Cairo Governorate, which are significantly more compact, mixed (horizontally and vertically), and connected. This study adds to the currently limited empirical evidence refuting the use of some USCs as global tools and questioning their utilization in different contexts either as they are or even through an adaptation process.


Certifications systems Sustainability assessment Compactness Walking accessibility Street network connectivity Cairo Governorate 

JEL Classification



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Zentrum Technik und Gesellschaft (ZTG), Technische Universität BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Architecture Department, Faculty of EngineeringAin Shams UniversityCairoEgypt

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