Instruments and Capacity for Sustainable Built Environments is the title of my module of the Green Building Construction Course, being run by the International Training Centre (ITC) from the 10 to the14 December 2019.
A summary of the module and useful resources are provided below.
The lack of appropriate policy, regulations, standards, guidance and capacity has been identified as a major limiting factor in the development of more sustainable built environments. While work has been carried out by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and other organizations there is limited guidance on the nature of instruments, such as policy and legislation, and the type of human capacity, such as technical skills, that has to be in place in order develop more sustainable built environments. This paper reviews literature in the field in order to understand the nature of instruments and capacity that are required to support sustainable built environments. Drawing on the review, a simple assessment framework is devised. This framework is tested by applying it to South Africa, and the results are analyzed and discussed.
The paper finds that the assessment framework could be effective in identifying gaps within policy frameworks, and in human capacity within a national context. It also finds that the framework provides insight into the prioritization and sequencing of sustainable built environment instruments, such as policy, strategy, and standards. This may be valuable in countries with limited resources and capacity, or where improvements in built environment sustainability need to be achieved rapidly. However, the paper also notes that the framework developed is outline in nature and will have limited applicability in its current form. The paper, therefore, makes recommendations for the framework to be developed further.
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Department of Environment, 2007. Long Term Mitigation Scenarios: Scenario Document, Department of Environment Affairs and Tourism, Pretoria.
Department of Environment, 2008. A National Framework for Sustainable Development in South Africa, Department of Environment Affairs and Tourism, Pretoria.
Gibberd, J., 2014. Measuring capability for sustainability: Built Environment Sustainability Tool, Building Research and Innovation, Volume: 43, pp. 49-61.
HM Government, 2008. Strategy for Sustainable Construction, accessed from http://www.tinyurl.com/yua68g
Huntzinger, D., Huchins, M., Gierke, J. & Sutherland, J. 2007. Enabling Sustainable Thinking in Undergraduate Engineering Education, Int. J. Engng Ed. Vol. 23, No. 2.
Melchert, L. 2007. The Dutch sustainable building policy: A model for developing countries? Building and Environment 42, pp. 893–901.
Berke R. & Conroy, M. 2000. Are We Planning for Sustainable Development? Journal of the American Planning Association, 66:1, pp. 21-33.
Rydin, Y., 1998. Land Use Planning and Environmental Capacity: Reassessing the Use of Regulatory Policy Tools to Achieve Sustainable Development. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 41(6), pp 749-765.
Simmons, R. 2015. Constraints on evidence-based policy: insights from government practices,
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UNEP, 2010. UNEP: Ecosystem Management Policy Series – Policy Brief 2: The Role of Ecosystems in Developing a Sustainable ‘Green Economy’ Available at: http://www.unep.org/ecosystemmanagement/Portals/7/Documents/policy%20series%202%20-%20small.pdf (Accessed: 10 February 2013).
UNEP, 2011. Sustainable Building Policies in Developing Countries (SPOD): Promoting sustainable building and construction practices, Paris: UNEP.
UNEP, 2011a. The Quick Scan Tool, accessed from http://sustainable-buildings-policy-assessment-tools.net/home.aspx/index/En
UNEP SBCI, 2007. Assessment of policy instruments for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from buildings: Report for the UNEP – Sustainable Buildings and Construction Initiative, Budapest: Central European University
UNEP SBCI, 2009a. Buildings and climate change: Summary for decision-makers. Paris: UNEP DTIE.
UNEP SBCI, 2009b. Greenhouse Gas Emission Baselines and Reduction Potentials from Buildings in South Africa: A Discussion Document. Paris: UNEP DTIE.
United Nations, 2015. Sustainable Development Goals, accessed from https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/topics/sustainabledevelopmentgoals