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Concordia profs to publish book on the role of design, construction and real estate in advancing sustainable development

Carmela Cucuzzella and Thomas Walker are editing a transdisciplinary collection on the future of the built environment
January 19, 2022

Pictured: On the left, a smiling woman with curly red hair and black top. On the right, a smiling man with short hair, glasses, wearing a suit and tie. Concordia professors Carmela Cucuzzella and Thomas Walker.

Worldwide, buildings generate almost 40 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions, making their related industries central to the fight against climate change. While the impacts on the environment, society and the economy have been extensively studied across various fields, research usually focuses on specific building project phases.

A new collection co-edited by Concordia professors Carmela Cucuzzella and Thomas Walker looks instead to examine the complete lifecycle of building projects: the design, construction, investment, management and regulatory dimensions. In direct response to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 Agenda, the scholars hope to push the building industry beyond traditional environmental risk-management approaches.

The editorial team for Towards Realizing the 2030 Agenda in the Built Environment also includes American University in Cairo scholars Sherif Goubran and Rana Geith. The team is currently accepting chapter proposals from academics and practitioners around the world.

“We want this book to offer a novel perspective, which will provide a snapshot of current and potential connections between the building sector and the 2030 Agenda,” explains Cucuzzella, associate professor of design and computation arts and Concordia University Research Chair in Integrated Design, Ecology and Sustainability (IDEAS) for the Built Environment.

“It will highlight the key challenges that require the urgent attention of researchers, businesses and policymakers.”

The 2030 Agenda and its related SDGs were adopted by UN member states in 2015 as a “shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future” and an urgent global call to action to fight environmental, social and economic injustices.

Cucuzzella notes that the interdisciplinary and comprehensive approach the new book project is taking puts into perspective the interconnected nature of the SDGs. It also highlights the importance of multi-stakeholder collaborations in achieving them.

Addressing industry gaps and proposing new approaches

Walker is a professor of finance at the John Molson School of Business and Concordia University Research Chair in Emerging Risk Management. He looks forward to assembling research from across disciplines and around the world to offer a matrix for readers to understand the interactions between the building sector and the 2030 Agenda.

“We’re seeking contributions that touch on the gaps in industry practices and the limits of current assessment schemes,” Walker explains.

“The book will  hopefully shed light on the inconsistencies between policies and regulations, on the one hand, and the SDGs on the other. But we also want to emphasize new methodologies, approaches and techniques in addressing the urgent development challenges of the built environment.”

The final product, slated for publication by Palgrave Macmillan, will be an academic reference for senior undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate scholars in architecture, construction, policy, real-estate economics and sustainable development.

“Contributors will use case studies to illustrate how their research can be applied in real-life contexts,” Cucuzzella adds. “That way we can demonstrate the specific drivers and barriers in integrating sustainable development goals in the lifecycle of building projects.”

The book will add to the growing body of research supported by Concordia scholars advancing the university’s institutional commitment to the SDGs.

Learn more about
Concordia’s commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Researchers and practitioners interested in submitting to Towards Realizing the 2030 Agenda in the Built Environment are invited to send abstracts and CVs by January 31 to Additional information about this and other book projects can be found on the Emerging Risks Information Center website.



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