Developing a framework for neighborhood-level urban sustainability assessment in Saudi Arabia
This study aimed to develop a model for neighborhood-level urban sustainability assessment in Saudi Arabia. Sustainability indicators and currently defined sustainable characteristics of neighborhoods were investigated, analyzed, and categorized. The model was developed based on input from different stakeholder groups in Saudi Arabia, such as planning professionals, planning professors, local government officials, developers, and students. The study also investigated the potential correlations between the selected indicators, stakeholder responses, and other neighborhood sustainability framework assessment systems. The study addresses the following research questions, which are: What are the major sustainability issues that exist in Saudi Arabia? What are the major differences between the views of different stakeholder groups regarding neighborhood sustainability in Saudi Arabia? and What are the regionally-appropriate components of a neighborhood-level sustainability assessment framework in Saudi Arabia? This study utilized a mixed-methods research design in which both qualitative and quantitative data were collected and analyzed. The qualitative data were collected through an online survey of the stakeholder groups listed above. The survey was used to identify the views of the different stakeholder groups on the relative significance of neighborhood-scale sustainability-related issues and indicators in Saudi Arabia. This grass-roots approach to developing sustainability assessment models will be useful to local and regional sustainable development efforts in Saudi Arabia in the future; it will help to rectify the deficiencies of current neighborhood sustainability practices, which are based in large part on models developed in other countries. The ultimate goal of this research is to support the development of sustainable communities in the region, and with that goal in mind, the results of the survey were used to develop a regionally-appropriate neighborhood-level sustainability assessment framework. This Neighborhood Sustainability Assessment Framework (NSAF) organizes and categorizes the various neighborhood sustainability elements, indicators and issues, and can be used to assess and promote neighborhood sustainability practices in Saudi Arabia and in similar regions. The study concludes with recommendations and suggestions for future avenues of study and research.