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[en] Certification systems for sustainable neighbourhoods started to emerge around a decade ago. This study analysed the content, structure, weighting and indicators of two established certification systems for sustainable urban development – BREEAM Communities and LEED for Neighborhood Development. Several limitations of these systems were identified: both have a bias for procedure and feature indicators over indicators that assess actual performance; performance demands are set according to a relative understanding of sustainable development; the focus is on internal sustainability, while upstream and downstream impacts of construction are disregarded; the number and distribution of mandatory issues do not cover essential sustainability aspects; and the disproportionately large number of non-mandatory issues makes benchmarking difficult and signals that sustainability aspects are exchangeable. Altogether, this means that an area can be certified without being sustainable. Moreover, the lack of continuous development of certification requirements in the systems means that they risk exerting a conservative effect on urban development, rather than pushing it forward. - Highlights: • BREEAM-C and LEED-ND were analysed in terms of content and structure. • Specific attention was given to the type of indicators used for showing compliance. • In both systems procedure and feature indicators dominate over performance indicators. • Several other limitations of these certification systems were also identified. • Altogether the limitations imply that a certificate does not warrant sustainability.
[en] Climate targets for cities abound. However, what these targets really imply is dependent on a number of decisions regarding system boundaries and methods of calculation. In order to understand and compare cities' climate targets, there is a need for a generic and comprehensive framework of key methodological considerations. This paper identifies eight key methodological considerations for the different choices that can be made when setting targets for GHG emissions in a city and arranges them in four categories: temporal scope of target, object for target setting, unit of target, and range of target. To explore how target setting is carried out in practice, the climate targets of eight European cities were analysed. The results showed that these targets cover only a limited part of what could be included. Moreover, the cities showed quite limited awareness of what is, or could be, include in the targets. This makes comparison and benchmarking between cities difficult. - Highlights: • Cities' climate targets are almost impossible to compare and benchmark. • There is a need for consistent protocols and frameworks supporting target setting. • A framework with key methodological considerations for cities' climate targets is identified. • The framework is used to explore the climate targets for eight European cities. • The difference between production- and consumption based accounting is illustrated in a new way