Decision Making and Sustainability in Built Environments

  • Michael J. ClayEmail author
  • Jenna N. Albers
Part of the Geotechnologies and the Environment book series (GEOTECH, volume 14)


Sustainability in the built environment is the result of choices make by those who plan, build, own, and use our urban spaces. This chapter seeks to detail how human choice shapes our built environment, as well as tools that can be used to create more sustainable urban futures. These tools include: (1) analytical forecasting models that are based upon urban economic theory and data provided by geotechnologies such as geographic information systems and remote sensing; (2) traditional zoning and other local land use policies that focus on protecting human health and property values that have resulted in an urban system that favors the private automobile as the dominate form of transportation and limits the viability of other forms of transportation such as mass transit, walking, and biking; (3) alternatives to traditional zoning such as mixed use and Form Based zoning practices that seek to improve quality of life and the sustainability of the built environment; and (4) the role that our individual and collective decisions play in the sustainability of our built environment. The concentration of people in urban areas places a strain on resources, both natural and built, that must be evaluated and balanced in order to maintain a sustainable habitat that not only provides all basic human necessities but respects the natural environment as well. Ultimately, the degree to which our built environment is sustainable has been and will continue to be the result of our individual and collective decisions that we make.


Urban planning Urban sustainability Built environment Land use modeling 


  1. Abraham J (2000) Parameter estimation in urban models: theory and application to a land use transport interaction model of the Sacramento, California Region. Diss. University of Calgary, Department of Civil Engineering.
  2. Abraham J, Hunt JD (1999) Policy analysis using the Sacramento MEPLAN land use transportation interaction model. Transp Res Rec J Transp Res Board 1685:199–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bradford HD (2009) Blueprint for disaster: the unraveling of Chicago’s public housing. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  4. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (2014) Pocket guide to transportation 2014. US Department of Transportation, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  5. Conder S, Lawton K (2002) Alternative futures for integrated transportation and land use models contrasted with Trend-Delphi models: Portland Oregon metro results. Transp Res Rec J Transp Res Board 1805:99–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Duany A, Plater-Zyberk E, Speck J (2000) Suburban nation: the rise of sprawl and the decline of the American dream. North Point Press, New York. PrintGoogle Scholar
  7. Hunt JD, Johnston R, Abraham JE, Rodier CJ, Garry GR, Putman SH, de la Barra T (2001) Comparisons from Sacramento model test bed. Transp Res Rec J Transp Res Board 1780:53–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Institute for Transportation Engineers (1999) Transportation planning handbook, 2nd edn. Institute for Transportation Engineers, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  9. Johnston RA, Gao S, Clay MJ (2005) Modeling long-range transportation and land use scenarios for the Sacramento region, using citizen-generated policies. Transp Res Rec J Transp Res Board 1902:99–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kibert C (2012) Sustainable construction: green building design and deliver, 3rd edn. Wiley, HobokenGoogle Scholar
  11. Leinberger CB (2009) The option of urbanism: investing in a new American dream. Island Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  12. McCann B, Rynne S (2010) Complete streets: best policy and implementation practices. American Planning Association, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  13. O’Sullivan A (2006) Urban economics, 6th edn. McGraw-Hill/Irwin, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  14. Rodier C (2009) Review of International Modeling Literature: transit, land use, and auto pricing strategies to reduce vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions. Transp Res Rec J Transp Res Board 2132:1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. State v. Diamond Motors, Inc. (1967) 429 P.2d 825Google Scholar
  16. Tiebout CM (1956) A pure theory of local expenditures. J Polit Econ 64:416CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Vale LJ (2013) Purging the poorest: public housing and the design-politics of twice cleared communities. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Village of Euclid (1926) Ohio v. Ambler Realty Co., 272 U.S. 365Google Scholar
  19. Weidner T, Gregor B, Wert M, Hunt JD (2005) Oregon bridge investment alternatives: using integrated modeling in policy decisions. Presented at the 84th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA

Personalised recommendations