The drawbacks of a global concept of sustainable neighbourhood in developing countries

Mohamed Yazid Khemri, Silvio Caputo, Alessandro Melis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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A sustainable neighbourhood is generally considered a key spatial unit for cities, enabling sustainability to be applied as a set of urban planning, social and environmental principles. However, the concept of sustainable neighbourhood was developed in the global North, thus reflecting a city form and social context that do not apply to developing countries, which have different cultures, goals and priorities. Yet, in the global south, the uncontrolled urbanisation led to adopt the sustainable neighbourhood concept as developed for the cities of the global North, in an attempt to attain a more sustainable urban development. Ironically, this is inconsistent with the notion of sustainability that advocates a planning and design process customised to local context. As a result, a rejection of globalised projects by local population for not being responsive to their lifestyle leads to spatial and social segregation. This paper aims to demonstrate the twofold hypothesis that the sustainable neighbourhood concept of the global North cannot be generalised, and a truly sustainable model should emerge from local context. In order to do so, the paper will review relevant literature focusing on the concept of a sustainable neighbourhood and will uncover the negative repercussions of this imported model in developing countries. Building on the literature review of several case studies, the paper will mention the failures of the globalised projects, such as the loss of locality, degradation of sense of community, social and spatial segregation, and globalisation, and then provide recommendations. The outcomes of the paper are useful for contemporary and future sustainable urban projects to learn from past mistakes, which can be avoided in order to facilitate the achievement of more sustainable neighbourhood development.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCities’ Vocabularies: The Influences and Formations
EditorsNabil Mohareb, Antonella Versaci, Yasser Mahgoub, Sreetheran Maruthaveeran, Francesco Alberti
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-51961-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-51960-5
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2021
EventThird International Conference on Cities' Identity through Architecture and Arts (CITAA) - Pisa, Italy
Duration: 11 Sept 201913 Sept 2019

Publication series

NameAdvances in Science, Technology & Innovation
ISSN (Print)2522-8714
ISSN (Electronic)2522-8722


ConferenceThird International Conference on Cities' Identity through Architecture and Arts (CITAA)


  • Globalisation
  • sustainable neighbourhood
  • the loss of locality
  • sense of community
  • social and spatial segregation


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