Most self-proclaimed sustainable neighborhoods cover various concepts pertaining to the economic, social, environmental, and institutional pillars of sustainability. Depending on the developers’ motivations, these concepts can be integrated unevenly. This study develops a framework to characterise the gap between what is advocated as necessary for sustainable neighborhoods and what is marketed as sustainable neighborhoods. A framework based on a sustainable neighborhood typology is developed using the Canadian province of Quebec as a case study. This is based on the main concepts underlying the four pillars of sustainability, but from a practical perspective. An analysis of sustainable initiatives (n = 29) shows a clear prioritisation of urban morphology on individual livability at the expense of participatory governance and sustainability awareness, especially for large projects promoted by private developers. A co-occurrence analysis suggests that smaller projects manage to integrate more sustainability aspects. The framework can be used to identify similarities and differences between development types for developing practical policy measures. This research highlights the importance involving public and private stakeholders at the early planning stage, in order to design more integrated projects.
Characterising the development trends driving sustainable neighborhoods