Sustainable development

An eco-district under development at Clichy-Batignolles
An eco-district under development at Clichy-Batignolles
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Evaluation is essential when dealing with sustainable development and registered surveyors and land surveyors have the opportunity to increase their expertise in the field as existing practices are suitably adapted and new technical systems are established…
Evaluation of events is at the heart of sustainable development. In fact, even before considering the preservation of natural resources, it is necessary to accurately evaluate both them and the damage to which they may be subjected.

This is the subject of the document entitled Living Planet Report 2009 published by the WWF and Global Footprint Network. Through indicators such as bio-capacity and ecological footprint, it is possible to measure both the resources at our disposal and what we are taking from them. The data is global, covering large geographical areas and providing information on countries and resources (water, agricultural land etc), ascertained from meticulous surveys carried out by the many people involved.

Le Grenelle is the yardstick

Since the Grenelle de l’Environnement (Grenelle Environment Round Table), the contributors to the Comité Operationnel No.9 (Operations Committee No. 9), concerned with urban planning, have recommended similar procedures through the setting up of indicators devoted to consumption of space, energy and greenhouse gas emissions. The specific attention given to the evaluation of events is found in the text of the law which, in particular, schedules an improvement in evaluation and verification of information concerning energy performance of buildings ;

  • by integrating objectives aimed at reducing consumption of space in urban planning documents (Local Development Plans, Territorial Planning, communal maps etc) ;
  • and reforming methods for carrying out impact studies in order to take better account of the specifics of each natural environment…


The central role of surveyors

Establishing sustainable development requires that accurate information is available as early as possible. For example, the orientation of the land can have a substantial effect in terms of energy-saving as does the use of high energy saving materials, renewable energy, recycling and the reuse of rainwater etc.

This is the essence of the environmental approach to town planning initiated in 1996 by ADEME (Agence De l’Environnement et de la Maîtrise de l’Energie – Environment and Energy Management Agency). This is based on inter-related diagnosis which can be carried out as soon as preliminary studies relating to energy, transportation, waste, water etc. are completed. Collaboration between local groups (associations, neighbourhood groups etc) allows everyone to be involved in the decision-making and their needs to be accounted for whilst at the same time controlling development and protecting the habitat, eg eco-friendly modes of transport (cycling, walking etc) and the management of rainwater.

Because of their multi-disciplinary activities and mastery of methods of evaluation, registered surveyors and land surveyors play a vital role. In recognition of this, the OGE (Ordre des Géometres-Experts – Association of Registered Surveyors) have dedicated 2009 to sustainable development. A formal charter specifically planning the development of skills in impact and incidence studies was signed at the 39th Congress held in September 2008 in Strasburg. OGE is now working on the development of Agenda 21, focusing its main objectives in this area. It will be presented at the 40th Congress in 2010 and will be the first Agenda 21 adopted by a profession in France.

Availability of data

In order to utilise the data properly, it must be possible to access and exchange it, ie inter-action and pooling of information. But how can the information be made accessible to all those needing to use it ?

This is the intention of the INSPIRE directive, adopted by the European Union in March 2007. This directive plans to establish a geographic information infrastructure at European Union level in order to encourage the production and free exchange of data in the environmental field. This will comprise records of inter-related data (coordinates, hydro-graphic networks, transport, cadastral parcels etc) taking into account the inter-action with other existing systems.

The tram system is a good example of developments requiring multi-disciplinary skills
The tram system is a good example of developments requiring multi-disciplinary skills
(© RATP et J.-F. Delarue)