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Sarah Fish, Managing Consultant from Atkins, has recently delivered projects which have involved Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning (SUMP) principles. This places emphasis on how transport initiatives are considered and developed in terms of their behaviour, operational and physical characteristics to create a coherent and rounded transport package for a given area. Using these principles through consultation has helped to achieve stakeholder buy in to the full blend of solutions which might be available and workable to help solve their localised transport issues.
These principles are based on a key purpose, to help create places for people where transport is seen as an enabler rather than the end goal itself. When we have achieved buy in to these SUMP principles how do we take them one step further and make those places for people into functioning, vibrant communities? One potential answer is through social sustainability – one of the three pillars of sustainability, but the one which most frequently gets ignored over economic and environmental sustainability.
So why does this third pillar get ignored? How do we define social sustainability? Is it happier and healthier communities? Is it communities which future generations yearn to live in? How do we shape transport solutions to deliver social sustainability?
Sustainable modes of transport have a key role to play in getting people to interact with each other more as well as to spend more money locally but with large new housing developments there is a significant risk that without good planning, these areas will lack the community interaction they need to become thriving places for people with a sense of belonging. As we all know, sustainable transport helps promote health and wellbeing, and to be successful a community place importance on the wellbeing of its residents.
To bring together SUMP principles and social sustainability will help create desirable communities which offer the amenities and lifestyles that people want. It will create places that function well and becoming thriving new communities, using sustainable transport as a means of realising this.