The 5 A Planning Approach


The 5 A Planning Approach

The discussion about sustainable cities focuses mainly on technical solutions such as public transit systems, green buildings, LED street lighting, and energy generation from renewable resources. However, not every city has been successful, and plans don’t always work out the way they were designed on paper. Even though many cities have invested in sustainable means of transportation, and architects and engineers have the ability to design affordable resource-efficient buildings, the technical solution alone doesn’t necessarily solve the problem. Building public transportation systems doesn’t guarantee that people will use them and drive less. Designing energy-efficient buildings doesn’t guarantee that the occupants will use less energy than in any other building. What we design on paper is not always successful in reality.

Research questions:  Why are some cities so successful with their sustainability plans and others are not, even though they are following similar strategies? What are the factors that make people choose the sustainable option over the unsustainable one? How can these factors be integrated into urban planning processes?

Extensive research in European, North and South American cities resulted in five factors that can make the implementation of sustainability projects successful: the accessibility, the affordability, the attractiveness, and the availability of sustainable options and people’s awareness of their existence and the benefits of choosing them over the unsustainable options (the five A’s).

With this project, Petra (Stieninger) Hurtado created the 5 A Planning Approach. Learn here how the 5 A Planning Approach can make cities more sustainable:


Publications & Presentations:

Stieninger Hurtado, P. (2018): From Sustainable Cities to Sustainable People – Making Behaviour Change towards Sustainability a Priority in Urban Planning Processes, in: Schrenk, M. / Popovich, V.V. / Zeile, P. / Elisel, P. / Beyer, C. / Navratil, G.: REAL CORP 2018 Proceedings/Tagungsband, 4-6 April 2018

Stieninger Hurtado P. (2018) From Sustainable Cities to Sustainable People—Changing Behavior Towards Sustainability with the Five A Planning Approach. In: Leal Filho W., Marans R., Callewaert J. (eds) Handbook of Sustainability and Social Science Research. World Sustainability Series. Springer, Cham

From Sustainable Cities to Sustainable People – Changing Behavior towards Sustainability with the Five A Planning Approach presented at:

  • Sustainability and Social Science Research Symposium in Ann Arbor, MI, 5/18/2017

From Sustainable Cities to Sustainable People – Changing Behavior towards Sustainability with the Five A Planning Approach presented at:

  • American Planning Association 2017 National Conference in New York City, 5/8/2017
  • Planning & Designing for Behavior Change towards Sustainability, APA Chicago Metro Section event, Chicago, 8/11/2016

Stieninger, P. (2014): From Energy-Efficient Cities to Energy-Efficient People – The Five A’s Planning Approach; in: Landscape Architecture Frontiers 009, Volume 2, Issue 3, 2014.6.

Stieninger, P. (2013): Changing Human Behavior towards Energy Saving through Urban Planning. Creation of a new Planning Approach. Lessons learned from Europe and North America, LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing, Chicago/Vienna.



A Culture Of Sustainability – Bridging The Gap Between Science And Practice

Five Factors That Make Urban Sustainability Projects Successful


In the News and other Links: 

Transportation Blog Series Conclusion: The Power of Communication in Public Transit (15 August 2016, Bluestem Communications)

Städte können Menschen »erziehen« (6 July 2013, Die Presse)


Project Partners: