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Interpreting sustainability and resilience in the built environment

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-01-24, 09:35 authored by Elisabeth C Marlow, Ksenia ChmutinaKsenia Chmutina, Andrew Dainty
Purpose: Conceptual interpretations of sustainability and resilience are widening with discursive use and altering the relationship and understanding of both concepts. By using three city case studies in the USA, this paper considers which conceptual interpretations are operational and what is being measured in the context of city policy, municipal planning and built environment practice. With increasing pressures of urbanisation, it is imperative to consider which conceptual interpretations of resilience and sustainability are being measured in frameworks for the built environment if Risk-Informed Sustainable Development across multiple sectors is to be delivered.
Design/methodology/approach: Three case studies with semi-structured interviews have been thematically analysed to explore how sustainability and resilience have been operationalised at policy, planning and practice levels.
Findings: City policies, municipal planning and practitioners are working with different interpretations. Collectively Risk Informed Sustainable Development is not formally recognised. Policies recognise GHG reductions and natural hazard events; planning guidance stipulates Environmental Impact Assessments based on legal requirements; and practitioners consider passive-survivability and systematic thinking. Across the sectors, the Leadership in Environmental and Energy Assessment Method provides a common foundation but is used with varying requirements.
Practical implications: Decision-makers should incorporate risk-informed sustainable development, update codes of practice and legal requirements leading to exemplary practice becoming normalised.
Social implications: Passive-survivability should be affordable and adopt risk-informed sustainable development principles.
Originality: Three US city case studies with data collected from interviews have been analysed simultaneously at policy, planning and practice levels. Interrelated implications have been outlined on how to improve decision-making of sustainability and resilience across sectors.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

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International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment








Emerald Publishing Limited


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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© Emerald Publishing Limited

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This paper was accepted for publication in the journal International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1108/IJDRBE-07-2021-0076. This author accepted manuscript is deposited under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC) licence. This means that anyone may distribute, adapt, and build upon the work for non-commercial purposes, subject to full attribution. If you wish to use this manuscript for commercial purposes, please contact permissions@emerald.com.

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Dr Ksenia Chmutina. Deposit date: 21 January 2022

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