Instruments and Capacity for Sustainable Built Environments

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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