Sustainability of innovative urban surfaces - a new approach of assessment
The physical design of urban surfaces determines the management processes that are required to ensure that their intended functions are fulfilled within a set period of time and influences their linked material flows. Those flows are causing numerous environmental, economic, and social impacts. In the field of urban surfaces, there is a broad variety of innovations available that has the potential to contribute to a more sustainable environment and quality of life in cities. However, before implementing any kind of innovation, it is important to quantitatively and qualitatively assess its sustainability impacts in a holistic manner. While current assessment methods provide a suitable framework for the sustainability assessment of products and services, without modification, they cannot be applied to urban surfaces and related management processes. The herein introduced methodological approach is designed to overcome this problem by not only being tailored to the sustainability assessment of innovations in the field of urban surfaces but also by combining life cycle thinking with a holistic approach. By integrating SDGs, it will provide insight into the possible impacts of an innovation in all three dimensions of sustainability at the municipal level. This knowledge can be used to support the municipality in its decision on the design of urban surfaces and management processes by showing whether or not it is advisable to implement an innovation from a sustainability point of view. The focus of this publication is on the development of a general life cycle of urban surfaces and its interaction with product innovations.