• sustainability;
  • technical sustainability;
  • behavioural sustainability;
  • building;
  • design;
  • development;
  • end users;
  • environmental determinism


The purpose of this paper is to present, and explain, the development of a framework of sustainable behaviours that can, potentially, be enabled through the design of neighbourhood-scale developments. To be sustainable, such developments need to be technically sustainable (i.e. in terms of materials, construction methods and so on) and to support behavioural sustainability by their residents. This paper focuses on the latter. Drawn from a literature review, the paper presents eight sustainable behaviours that are argued to be enabled by specific design features of neighbourhood developments. These are the following: use less energy in the home; use less water in the home; recycle waste; maintain and encourage biodiversity and ecologically important habitats; make fewer and shorter journeys by fuel inefficient modes of transport; make essential journeys by fuel efficient modes of transport; take part in local community groups, local decision making and local formal and informal social activities and use local services, amenities and businesses. Both theory and empirical evidence underpinning the claimed relationships between the design features and the eight behaviours are presented. The framework, and accompanying explanations, are offered as tools for further research, and as references for practitioners such as urban designers, architects and planners seeking some clarity on designing for behavioural sustainability at the neighbourhood scale. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.