The project Socially Sustainable Neighbourhood Transformation – Indicators and tools aims at developing ways of assessing the social effects of future neighborhood regeneration projects. Within this report a number of general methodological points, as well as a range of social indicators on aspects such as health, security, noise, rent levels and standards of living are presented.
The project took place during spring and autumn 2014. It has been part of a larger research initiative called Renobuild, within which a decision support method for assessing the social, economic and ecological effects of retrofitting has been developed. Mistra Urban Futures has contributed with additional funds and thereby has enabled the initiative to put extra focus on issues of social assessment.
The project took as its starting point a number of so called "social aspects" that a group of public officials, employed by the City of Gothenburg, called the S2020 has developed together with the City planning Authority. The social aspects are as follows: 1) A Cohesive City 2) Social Interaction, Teamwork, and Meetings, 3) A Well-Functioning Everyday Life, 4) Identity and Experience, 5) Health and Green Urban Environments and 6) Safety, Security, and Openness. It was decided that these were to be used as a way of grounding the indicators presented in this report in the practical, everyday experiences of the public officials of the S2020 group and the citizens, associations, and companies that they meet and collaborate with on a day-to-day basis. In total 22 indicators were developed, divided over the six social aspects. The indicators were tested and revised in connection with four retrospective case studies. Furthermore, a literature review of previous research on the social consequences of retrofitting was conducted and the results demonstrated that there is a lack of indicators and tools that covers this area. The existing decision support tools only to some degree aid in performing social appraisals of retrofitting.
The project has also dealt with the question of how data collection and analysis can be arranged when the indicators are used within actual retrofitting projects. Focus groups, surveys, interviews and literature studies are some of the possibilities available. Furthermore, stakeholder involvement has a potential of strengthening social assessments of this kind, while providing opportunities for increased social acceptance.
However, there are many important questions and areas of research, which have been omitted in the project and that need further work. The social indicators and methods for collecting and analyzing data need to be tested and refined in ongoing case studies together with stakeholders. And methods for managing stakeholder involvement, controversies and visualization of results need to be developed. This will be done in future research projects.