Dennis Moss Partnership has developed a bespoke model to guide its planning, design and decision making process. It is founded on the principle that sustainable development is system based and complex.
The principles embedded in the international definitions for sustainable development are endorsed by Dennis Moss Partnership. This constitutes the selection and implementation of development options which allow for appropriate and justifiable social and economic goals to be achieved, addressing basic needs and equity, without compromising the natural system on which it is socio-economic development depends.
To optimise operational efficiency, which is regarded as a central objective of sustainable development, this office has formulated and adopted a bespoke definition of sustainable development, namely ‘development that promotes human well-being and the integrity of the environment through the efficient and just use of resources.’ Resources are considered as forms of capital and differentiation is made between monetary, environment, infrastructural and social capital.
The DMP definition is action-orientated and emphasises the importance of functionality and practical application.
The return on capital invested in the sustainable development process is achieved by aligning the use of the four forms of capital optimally. The latter is central objective of the DMP sustainable development and long term sustainability strategy.
The DMP definition for sustainable development is rooted in the principle that sustainability relies on continuous innovation – thinking out of the box and implementing new ways of improving human well-being and environmental integrity by using resources efficiently and justly (the DMP model itself is, in fact, innovative).
The model accordingly promotes the integration of innovation into the organisational, institutional, planning and design, implementation, and management processes at the project level.
The DMP Model described below has been informed by the UN Habitat’s Planning for Climate Change: A Value-Focused Approach for Urban Planners.
This approach, in the first instance, focuses on considering and recording the key principles, values, interests and objectives to be served in the planning, design, implementation and management of projects, and then to demonstrate how best to achieve these objectives.
A critical dimension of this approach is to consider the possible consequences of not achieving the objectives agreed to. The starting point in deciding on the core values is, in all cases, the objective to promote and give effect to sustainability.
This means that human well-being and environmental integrity are given effect to globally and that resources are used efficiently and justly in the spatial and design process.
Recognise that sustainability cannot be achieved under current conditions of climate change. Address the latter as required in policy and legislation and prepare a climate neutral strategy as is contemplated by UNEP.
Institutional capacity is required to enable sustainable development. This is to be given effect to in the spatial, design and management process.
Have regard for the fact that sustainable development has to be financed, that its successful planning and implementation depends on the degree of inclusivity and that biodiversity conservation is an imperative for sustainable development.
Projects should be viewed as opportunities to serve as economic drivers fo sustainable development. This would require bespoke initiatives to be taken, refered to as sustainable development initiatives.
Ensure that resources (capital) are utilised efficiently and justly by aligning the key forms of capital i.e. environmental, monetary, infrastructural and social in the planning, design and implementation process.
Ensure that plans, strategies and proposals are considered on all scales from the international to the local scale as is contemplated in the NDP with due regard for applicable legislation, policy and the spatial and design dimension.
Ensure that projects are planned and implemented to promote sustainable development in accordance with selected programmes and in accordance with specific guidelines.
Assess the degree to which the planning and implementation of projects would give effect to sustainable development. This should be aligned with the policy, legislation and international good practice.
Implement strategic planning and management systems in accordance with iso 14001 and ensure continual improvement through adaptive management.
Urban design plays a critical role in the execution of the firms work. In the latter regard it is recognised that that planning and design have to contend with a number of dimensions such as social, visual, functional, temporal (time), morphological (urban form and space) and perceptual (awareness and experience of place).
Furthermore, planning and design has to contend with the development process moving from art, theory and principle to action. The planning and design process has to consider the delivery mechanisms, how the development process is controlled and how it is communicated.
DMP recognises and promotes the uniqueness of regions and in particular the following five tenets for regional planning and design.
The degree to which a place can be clearly perceived and mentally differentiated and structured in time and space by its residents and the degree to which that mental structure connects with their values and concepts.
Development should reflect an appreciation for the history, culture and traditions of the local people and build on the historical precedents presented by existing high quality settlements.
Critical regionalism builds upon a return to craftsmanship and avoids construction, which has become “junkier” over most of the past century.
Designers can learn from the incredible sophistication of biological and ecological systems. Diversity, symbiosis, synergy, balance – these are profound and inspiring messages for all designers.
The need to understand that a physical and temporal boundary has limits and to frame and limit human places and activities. It is about the need to recognise human scale within the built environment.
Dennis Moss Partnership is a multi disciplinary architectural practice located in Stellenbosch, South Africa. We are interdisciplinary sustainability consultants.
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