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Urbanists warn of 'vacuous' sustainability jargon

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Leading European urbanists have claimed that 'vague and vacuous jargon' is hindering the promotion of sustainability.

The report, People, places, prosperity - how can we make our cities work better, published this week, claims that sustainability is not being taken seriously enough.

The publication, commissioned by the British Council, Europa Scotland and the RICS, expresses concerns that a lack of masterplanning, joined-up government and tax incentives are undermining sustainable community initiatives across Europe.

Other key recommendations include:

Pockets of good practice in urban planning should be identified and transferred to other places;

Funding at EU level should be organised so that urban sustainability does not have to compete for money with transport. The two should be complementary;

The community has to feel a sense of ownership of local change and be encouraged to play a full participatory role in its implementation; and

Taxation that harms sustainability, such as placing VAT on public transport energy and supporting private transport, such as company cars, should be removed.

The report aims will be promoted across Europe and discussed during the upcoming UK presidency conference on sustainable communities, to be held in Bristol ( see story here).

by Rob Sharp

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