A Comparative Sustainability Assessment of Asheville, North Carolina

Authors: Clifton Cross*, Furman University
Topics: Sustainability Science
Keywords: Asheville, Sustainability Assessment, Comprehensive Plan, STAR Communities
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Urbanization around the world has challenged the conditions of sustainable, economic, and social parameters of urban communities. Asheville, North Carolina has seen an increase in population; attractive scenes of art, music, and food have influenced thousands of people to move to the city. Asheville’s Sustainability Plan and Comprehensive Plan provide answers for the challenges that have developed, but in this research the comparative sustainability assessment of Asheville asks: 1) How does the Sustainability Plan align with the Comprehensive Plan and the STAR Communities Framework Rating System? 2) Which areas align the most? 3) How can these results help the city of Asheville’s development in regards to built environments, natural environments and social environment? Using the qualitative data analysis software, MaxQDA, allowed for coded segments to highlight areas of similar sustainable principles and show areas where principles were lacking in the two government documents. The analysis of Asheville’s plans resulted in similarities among the themes Built Environment and Harmony with the Natural Environment, but revealed the Sustainability Plan lacks a holistic view like the Comprehensive Plan. Further, the analysis of the STAR framework and Comprehensive P lan finds the two similar in regards to Built Environment and Natural Systems, but the Comprehensive Plan lacks in areas of equity and empowerment. To further explore this parameter, a focus on issues through local newspaper accounts highlight the challenges of housing, revitalization, policing, and racism. The results from the research help to provide recommendations among social equity and empowerment, built environment, and natural systems.

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