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Sustainability in the Built Environment

The built environment (or the buildings in which we live, work and occupy, the distribution systems that provide us with our utilities, and the physical interconnecting infrastructure systems) is currently responsible for almost 40% of global energy and process-related CO₂ emissions. Ensuring that the building and construction industry and its key players (in the manufacturing, construction and real estate sectors, together with users, occupiers, and financiers) responds rapidly to the climate crisis through mitigation and adaptation strategies, and at scale, is therefore essential if we are to keep global warming to tolerable limits by 2050 and meet net zero targets. This means mainstreaming and embedding ‘sustainability’ as an end goal which can be achieved through ‘sustainable development’ across built environment scales (buildings, neighbourhoods, and cities), including both new and existing built assets in both the Global North and Global South. This presents the building, construction, and real estate sectors with key challenges which revolve around a range of issues including finance availability; real estate value implications; consistency of measurement and assessment systems; and the differing international legislative and regulatory environments.

In this special issue we invite international contributions which focus particularly on researching and resolving the key challenges of achieving sustainability in the built environment across scales.

Examples could include (but are not restricted) to addressing one or more of the following questions:

● Why does sustainability matter in the built environment?
● Why are the UN Sustainable Development Goals important in setting a built environment research agenda?
● What are the value implications of sustainability in the built environment?
● What role can the circular economy play in driving sustainability in the built environment?
● What are the main issues associated with built environment sustainability measurement and assessment systems?
● How can built environment retrofitting be carried out at scale?
● How can the building, construction, and real estate sectors strengthen their ESG credentials?
● How can international best practice and transferable lessons help develop a sustainable built environment?

Professor Masa Noguchi

Guest Editors

Professor Tim Dixon

School of Built Environment, University of Reading, UK

Professor Sara Wilkinson

Faculty of Design Architecture and Building, School of Building, University of Technology Sydney, Australia


Built environment


sustainable development


real estate


circular economy

sustainable development goals

climate change

Submission Deadline: 28 February 2023

Online Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online through Hapres Online Submission System. Please visit Guide for Authors before submitting a manuscript. Authors are encouraged to submit a paper as soon as it is ready and don’t need to wait until the deadline. Submissions will be sent to peer-review in order of arrival. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the Journal of Sustainability Research and then gathered together on the special issue webpage. We welcome Research articles, Review papers and Short Communications. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

See Papers Published in This Special Issue


Virtual Special Issue (VSI) is a collection of papers centered around a specific topic, led by an expert (Guest Editor) in the field. Virtual Special Issues are an important component of our journal and cover current hot topics within the scope of the journal.

All papers belonging to a Virtual Special Issue will be gathered together on a single webpage. They are published in the regular issues of the journal as soon as publishable, and labeled as belonging to the Virtual Special Issue. A link from each paper will take you to the Virtual Special Issue website.

Submissions to Virtual Special Issues will undergo the same rigorous peer-review process as regular papers submitted to the journal.

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