Inderscience Publishers

Defining sustainability for built environment systems: an operational framework

One of the ongoing challenges in the quest to make our built environment more sustainable is defining what sustainability means in terms understandable to and measurable by built environment decision makers. This paper illustrates one approach to developing a comprehensive and exhaustive definition of sustainability for the built environment deriving domain-specific variables from fundamental principles and constraints that govern how earth systems work. The paper uses the concept of systems to define characteristics and critical constraints of both the earth as a whole and built facilities in particular. These constraints provide a basis for identifying conditions which must be met in order for a built facility system to be sustainable. The contribution of the paper is a decision space based on required sustainability conditions that can be used to evaluate facility alternatives in terms of their relative sustainability.

Keywords: sustainability, built environment, definition, operationalisation, measurement, systems, framework, prioritisation, variables

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