A planning-oriented sustainability assessment framework for peri-urban water management in developing countries

Water Res. 2013 Dec 15;47(20):7175-83. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2013.10.037. Epub 2013 Oct 20.


DPSIR and the three-pillar model are well-established frameworks for sustainability assessment. This paper proposes a planning-oriented sustainability assessment framework (POSAF). It is informed by those frameworks but differs insofar as it puts more emphasis on a constructivist conception which recognises that sustainability needs to be defined anew for each planning problem. In finding such a consensus definition, POSAF uses participatory scenario analysis and participatory planning, technical feasibility study, participatory assessment, analysis of trade-offs and social networks in an unusual combination and for goals that differ from the original conceptions of these methods. POSAF was applied in a peri-urban area of Mexico City for the design of improved water service provision, integrating solid waste management. It supported consensus amongst users about the importance of environmental issues, informed planners about the values of stakeholders and users, detected local differences, and identified possible conflicts at an early stage of decision-making.

Keywords: Participation; Sanitation; Scenarios; Social network analysis; Wastewater; Water.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude
  • Cities
  • Conservation of Natural Resources / methods*
  • Decision Making
  • Developing Countries*
  • Humans
  • Mexico
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Planning Techniques
  • Public Opinion
  • Refuse Disposal / methods
  • Social Support
  • Water Supply*