Construction of the Urban Environment
The purpose of this chapter is to explore how construction can and should be made more sustainable. It addresses two main areas of good practice. The first is the design of more sustainable buildings and urban landscapes, which have become known as ‘sustainable architecture’. The other is the construction activity itself, which includes procurement of materials and components, the process of assembly and/or refurbishment of a building or element of the infrastructure and/or landscape in a more sustainable manner, now known as ‘sustainable construction’. As these two areas are closely interdependent, the terms do not have clear definition and are used interchangeably both locally and internationally. Thus the chapter attempts to embrace them both through exploration of the environmental, economic, social and institutional issues involved in achieving a more sustainable built ‘product’ in terms of individual buildings, civil structures and the urban landscape. All form part of the broad agenda to be addressed. Civil structures include the utility service systems, gas, electricity, water, drainage, telecommunications and the associated infrastructure, as well as the fixed elements of urban transport such as roads, railway track, bridges and tunnels, etc. The urban landscape includes the space between buildings and civil structures, i.e. all urban fixtures such as paving, signage and seating collectively described as hard landscape as well as the provision of parks, gardens and other green spaces known as soft landscape.