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Research and Publications



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Study on the links between the social and environmental pillars of sustainable development, in particular the link between social cohesion/inclusion and environmental policies (2007-2008) (Contact Karen Lucas)

As part of this European Commission-funded project led by AEA Technology, CfSD is responsible for Work Package 3 which investigates the Policy analysis of synergies between social cohesion/inclusion policies and environmental policies. The objective of this work package is a review and analysis of social and environmental policies at the EU level and also within the case study countries at the national, regional and local level. The project will be completed at the beginning of 2008. A summary report of the work package will be available for download here soon afterwards. 


Promoting Pro-Environmental Behaviour: Existing Evidence to Inform Better Policy Making (2006)

Defra’s 5 year strategy Delivering the Essentials of Life (Defra, 2004) sets out an ambitious agenda for environmental leadership and sustainable development. Embedding these core principles relies on influencing change and making it easier for producers and consumers to behave more sustainably. This is a sizeable task – changing behaviours is a complex matter – and innovative policies and practical solutions are required at every level of society. In response to this challenging remit, Defra commissioned a consortium led by the CfSD to carry out an analysis of the existing evidence base relating to pro-environmental behaviour change. The study reviewed evidence on both producers and consumers, at the individual and collective levels.

Download a copy of the summary report here

More comprehensive findings are contained in three separate reports focussing on theory, policy instruments and evidence from practice




 Running on empty

             Running on Empty: Transport, Social Exclusion and Environmental Justice (Karen Lucas, ed.) (2004)

The lack of access to transportation among low-income groups is increasingly being recognised as a barrier to employment and social inclusion both in Britain and the United States. However, 'transport poverty', and its links with wider welfare objectives, is poorly understood. This groundbreaking book looks at the delivery of transport from a social policy perspective to assist in a better understanding of this issue.


To purchase, please consult the Policy Press website: https://www.policypress.org.uk/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=741


SDRN Environment and Social Justice: Rapid Research and Evidence Review (2004) (Contact Karen Lucas)

The report is the product of a rapid research and evidence review undertaken by the Sustainable Development Research Network (SDRN) to assist officials across government better understand the key evidence, issues and possible policy interventions for tackling environmental inequalities in the UK. The key objective of the review was to summarise the evidence for environmental inequalities and injustice in the UK in relation to a number of topic areas identified as relevant by Defra.

Download a copy of the report here

Check the Sustainable Development Research Network website for further research on these issues: http://www.sd-research.org.uk/

and Download a copy of the report here.


Review of International Literature to Inform the Scottish Executive's Sustainable Development Strategy

CfSD, along with the University of Strathclyde Law School, carried out a review to inform the production of the   Scottish Sustainable Development Strategy and the plans for its implementation. The review provides an overview of recent and contemporary academic and 'expert' literature and prevailing debates surrounding sustainable development for a number of selected areas of policy delivery, and relates these to the principles and priorities for sustainable development in Scotland. It has concentrated on English language texts published since 1999, the year in which the last UK-wide sustainable development strategy was produced. 

Download a copy of the report here.


Representing local environmental concerns within Local Strategic Partnerships
(Contact Karen Lucas)


Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs) have been identified as the overarching co-ordinating framework for   neighbourhood renewal, with the duty of bringing together local authorities, service providers and the full range of voluntary and community groups. This thirteen month project, funded under Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s Reconciling Environmental and Social concerns research programme aims to examine the extent to which LSPs recognise the environmental concerns and priorities of the different (and in particular disadvantaged) local neighbourhoods they represent and to develop recommendations for ensuring that local neighbourhood priorities are taken account of within such structures. 

A full report can be downloaded from www.jrf.org.uk/bookshop.


Civilising Cities

Civilising Cities aimed to practically demonstrate ways in which well-chosen packages of transport and land use measures, delivered through Local Transport Plans, can contribute significantly and cost-effectively to improving quality of life in urban areas. The study is jointly funded by the RAC Foundation and the DETR. The research is being delivered in collaboration with transport planners and other delivery agents in 6 demonstration pilot project areas. Each project focuses on a different set of local problems and monitors the impacts of transport and other related improvements on quality of life in the study areas. The project is designed to develop and test a set of appropriate indicators for monitoring the wider contribution of transport to health, regeneration, community safety, social cohesion and other aspects of local policy delivery.

Download a summary of the final report here


Regeneration and Environmental Justice : Links and Lessons

Environmental justice describes the link between environmental problems, social exclusion and regeneration. It is often defined as ensuring that no one community or group suffers disproportionately negative impacts from environmental policies, omissions, and acts. This six-month study for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation aims to provide wider dissemination on the links between environmental and social inequality and the lessons that can be learnt for sustainable area regeneration. The research is intended to do two things. First, provide a review of research done to date on social inclusion and environmental concerns and their links to environmental justice. Second, examine how environmental justice could improve the inclusion of disadvantaged groups in the delivery of local regeneration or neighbourhood renewal programmes. The research will offer a critical evaluation of the ways in which environmental justice plays a role in establishing area regeneration that provides: access to participation and decision making, access to relevant information, and ensures that no one group suffers from disproportional negative impact of its policies or initiatives.


What's in a name? Local Agenda 21, Community Planning and Neighbourhood Renewal 

This study, commissioned by the JRF under their Reconciling Environmental and Social Concerns programme, evaluates the effectiveness of LA21 strategies developed by local authorities in terms of their ability to contribute to the economic, environmental and social well-being of the communities they serve. The report qualitatively evaluates whether LA21 is in some way unique as a policy tool for implementing sustainable development and if the move towards Community Strategies thus enhances or undermines sustainable policy delivery. To this end, it presents the experiences of local authority officers, their external partners, frontline workers and local communities who have been involved in the development and delivery of LA21 programmes in over the last ten years and their counterparts in community planning. Its focuses on their perceptions of the processes that have led to successful community engagement on sustainable development issues and policy implementation and the barriers to such success in the context of eight deprived and disadvantaged neighbourhoods.

Working Paper One, the literature review, can be downloaded here (PDF format, 150kb)

The full report 'What’s in a name? Local Agenda 21, community planning and neighbourhood renewal' by Karen Lucas, Andrew Ross and Sara Fuller, is published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation as part of the Reconciling Environmental and Social Concerns series (ISBN 1 85935 080 1, price £15.95).

Sustainable Lifestyles 

Government Ministers have often referred to the need to promote 'sustainable lifestyles' and much research has examined the components of sustainability at a sector, but as far as we are aware no work in this country has directly audited complete daily living patterns in terms of their sustainability. This is an important omission both technically, because there are likely to be significant interactions between sectors, and in terms of encouraging behavioural change, since people are interested in knowing how becoming 'more sustainable' is going to affect their lifestyle, as a whole. This exploratory study seeks to define and measure the concept of 'sustainable lifestyles', through a combination of conceptual development, dialogue with relevant professionals in many disciplines, and secondary data analysis. It will then conduct a preliminary policy audit, to identify areas where policy initiatives may be helping or hindering moves towards sustainable lifestyles. And will also start to address the question: "how can sustainable lifestyles be made more attractive than many of the current lifestyles that are relatively resource intensive?" This question clearly also has relevance in a wider, global context.

A summary report of the main findings is available here (PDF Format 633kb)

Two for One and One for All? Exploring the Potential for Integrating Sustainable Development and Social Exclusion Policy Agendas in the UK 

In January 1999, the University of Westminster allocated funding from its Research Seed Fund to the Centre for Sustainable Development at the University to undertake an exploratory research exercise into the policy interfaces between the Government's newly announced social exclusion programme. The primary aim of the research has been to examine the extent to which the rhetoric of policy integration is incorporated at both the conceptual and practical stages of local delivery, in the context of the seventeen New Deal for Communities 'pathfinder' areas. The study has been delivered in two phases, namely; a literature review and in-depth case studies in two of the 'pathfinder' areas. The study is significant in light of the Government's present commitment to Best Value and joined-up policy in the context of the Modernising Local Government Agenda.

The full report can be downloaded here (PDF format 243kb).


Sustainable Property Development 

This study formed part of the latest Rees Jeffreys Road Fund initiative entitled 'From Realism to Reality'. It originates from the view that sustainable transport and land use policies will only be effectively implemented, if property developers and their financial backers see that there are benefits to them and their clients from providing developments that are considered to be more sustainable. The project reviewed existing literature on sustainability and monitoring developments in the property market and built on this information to form a simple sustainability checklist. The checklist considers all aspects of property development at each stage of the development process, including site location, building design and construction, access to the site and building use and re-use during the occupation phase.

A report Implementing Sustainable Property Development detailing this checklist and including the main findings of in-depth interviews with developers and investors and a comprehensive survey of local authority planning officers can be obtained from Landor Publishing Ltd, London. ISBN 1 899650 18 0 Price £23.00