Sustainable development is an issue that has attracted a considerable amount of academic interest since the publication of the Brundtland Report. With Agenda 21, it is an issue which has also found its way in to the policy and action programmes of the European Commission. For Europe and its member states, the issue has become one of sustainable urban development and this paper reports on the findings of the BEQUEST Concerted Action Programme undertaken to foreground the urban question, develop a framework for analysis and compile a directory of methods able to assess the sustainability of urban development. Having set out the framework for analysis, the paper goes on to classify the assessment methods and report on how they are being used to build environmental capacity. How - in this instance - they are being used to build the environmental capacity that is needed for the city of tomorrow to carry its cultural heritage and develop forms of human settlement which are sustainable. The paper then goes on to further this examination by detailing the findings of a mapping exercise undertaken to investigate how assessment methods are currently being used to assess the sustainability of urban development.
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