Using the Tool

Using the Built Environment Sustainability Tool is simple. The selected urban area should be identified through plans or google maps (such as the one below). The built area to be studied should be in the center of the map or plan and be clearly demarcated. Assessments can be carried out for a large or small areas but these need to be broken down into 'neighborhoods'. Neighborhoods are defined as an area within easy walking distance from the center of the neighborhood and each neighbourhood named / labelled. Easy walking distance should be defined locally, but in Africa this is maybe 3 km, whereas in Europe, 800m may be considered reasonable. From the center of each neighbourhood the 'walking distance' area is then demarcated. Where topography and urban fabric is uniform this walking distance will be represented as concentric rings, such as those illustrated in the figure below. Otherwise the demarcated area can be modified to take into account bridges or other features. Once the designated walking distance areas are marked, an assessment can be begin. 


Figure 1: Selected site and walking distance rings


Analysis of existing area
The area within the walking distance ring is then assessed in accordance with the ‘Existing’ column in the BEST tool in accordance with the following key. An ‘0’ indicates the existence of the specified built environment sustainability criterion on site, or within the demarcated area, a ‘5’ indicates that this does not exist and '2 - 4’ that the criterion is partially fulfilled (This is detailed out in an manual accompanying the tool). For each set of built environment sustainability criteria, such as ‘Health’, an average value is automatically calculated and displayed in red. This average score provides an indication of the built environment capability within the respective areas, with a low score (near 0) indicating strong capability and a high score (near 5) weak capability.


Figure 2: BEST with assessment of Existing marked


Analysis of the existing urban fabric provide a measure of the selected neighborhood's built environment capability to support EF and HDI targets. These results are also shown in a spider diagram (blue line). If studied carefully, these results provide valuable insight which can be used to diagnose gaps and prioritise interventions. In this case, built environment capability gaps exist in 'Knowledge', 'Standard of Living', and 'Goods' and interventions to address these issues should be prioritised.

Options for Improvement
Options for addressing gaps and improving capability can then be entered into the 'Proposed' columns as indicated in the red rectangle below. The results of these interventions can be ascertained from the scoring at the bottom of each of these columns. An iterative process can be used to enter options and ascertain impact. The tool also allows the cumulative impact of multiple different options to be evaluated. Cumulative impacts of the interventions are displayed in the 'Proposed' column. This options analysis process is a useful exercise as it allows the impact of different interventions to be readily ascertained. This encourages a wide range of options to be generated and tested. These can vary widely from physical interventions such as allotments, community centres, rainwater harvesting systems to management interventions such as shared access to social infrastructure such as school facilities. The facility to test the cumulative impact supports developing longer term strategies and plans as it enables communities and the key role players to set long term goals and then implement a series of interventions incrementally (for instance, when these can be afforded) to enable this goal to be achieved.  


Figure 3: BEST with options for improvement marked


Once the optimum set of interventions have been selected, a final report on the capability improvement can be obtained from the graphs and tables at the bottom of the tool. These indicate the improvement from the 'Existing' to the 'Proposed' and represent the value of the measures proposed as a graph. Comparisons of 'Existing' (blue) and 'Proposed' (red) are also shown in the spider diagram. Finally, quantitative measures of capability for 'Existing' and 'Proposed' are shown in the table underneath the graphs. This report is indicated below. 


Figure 4: BEST report showing Existing and Proposed and relative improvement.

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