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The built environment contributes directly to some of the greatest sustainability challenges we face, including climate change, biodiversity loss, resource depletion and social inequity.

We help our clients apply well-established sustainability principles to their building and design projects. We support the building industry to create commercially viable developments that enhance community wellbeing, conserve precious resources and have low environmental impact, We also support property owners to manage their properties in economically, environmentally and socially responsible ways. We advise governments on the development of effective and well-targeted policy initiatives for a sustainable built environment.

Our team includes architects, engineers, planners and economists and provides:

- Cutting edge applied research
- Expert urban design and building advice
- Policy, guidelines and implementation strategies
- Capacity building programs
- Public awareness raising programs

The Institute's groundbreaking and award winning guide Your Home: Design for Lifestyle and the Future (opens an external site) shows consumers, builders and designers how to design, build and renovate for sustainability.

View/download our Cities & Buildings capability statement.

Postgraduate topics

These days, we spend most of our time indoors - more than 85%, in Australia. That's part of the reason why our buildings are such significant contributors to environmental impacts. A different approach is possible - green buildings and green urban forms that make it easy and economic to use drastically less materials and energy, and still provide the comforts we've come to expect. But our built form changes quite slowly, so as well as engaging with new buildings, we need to revolutionise our existing building stock and the way we use it. Our building and design research at the Institute is interested in the interface between people and buildings - what kinds of decisions we make about our buildings and how we operate them, and how to change those decisions. Our research targets diverse groups - builders, professionals, industry groups, owners, tenants, consumers, legislators, etc.

Big picture questions

- What are the barriers to consumers aligning environmental values with their decisions in the housing market? How can these be removed? What kinds of incentives and institutional arrangements might help?
- How do sustainable infrastructure opportunities at precinct scale differ from those at building scale? What are the barriers to precinct scale opportunities? What would it take to remove them?

For further information about this topic contact: Professor Cynthia Mitchell

Contact persons

Caitlin McGee
Kerryn Wilmot