Town Planning Review

Local environmental quality: establishing acceptable standards in England

Town Planning Review (2009), 80, (4-5), 517–548.


This article investigates how acceptable standards of local environmental quality can be understood and measured. Following discussion of the research questions and methodology, a first substantive section of the article examines these issues in a conceptual mode, drawing from the literature, and exploring in particular the nature of standards, environmental quality and the conceptual dilemmas associated with the use of standards to measure quality. In the next section, the results from the empirical stages of the research are presented. The conclusions outline a new approach to the measurement of local environmental quality suggested by the research findings and which addresses head-on the conceptual dilemmas. An argument is made that for measurement to be of value, it needs to be explicitly local and contextual as well as reflective of a holistic local environmental quality agenda and of any national aspirations and standards. Wherever it is attempted, this will be a difficult balance to strike. The proposals attempt to show how it could be done in one particular context, England.

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Author details

Carmona, Matthew

Magalhães, Claudio de