image area full


The purpose of the social sustainability assessment is to reveal a picture of local areas that will not be seen in the statistics that are conventionally used to describe a local area. The insights that emerge about how the neighbourhood and the current services and infrastructure are supporting local social life, strengthening the community and boosting resident wellbeing are valuable in planning future investment, services and initiatives. A social sustainability assessment will also show the gaps, where there are weaknesses in social sustainability, which can be addressed in the future by the council and its partners.

This toolkit has focused on social sustainability, and less on economic and environmental sustainability, although elements of this are captured within social sustainability (two examples are green spaces, travel to work times). To complement the social sustainability assessment, local data which describes the strength of the local economy, and how the local population fares in terms of employment and income can be compiled and analysed.

Sutton has also created a list of community assets, which has been tested extensively with residents. This includes the services and factors that support a community, covering social, economic and environmental sustainability. This can be used as tool to start to put together a practical response to a social sustainability audit.

Click here for more information about Sutton’s community assets.

Below is a diagram including examples of the sort of actions that can be taken to boost social sustainability in local areas. Every area is different and what actions you decide are needed will depend on local context and resources.



building blocks

 [Building blocks for social sustainability from Social Life, Design for Social Sustainability, 2012]

For more information about Social Life’s work on social sustainability go to the Social Life website.

Good luck!