A governance framework for sustainable development in the built environment.




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De Montfort University


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Peer reviewed


This project was inspired by a declaration made by built environment professionals at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (GABS, 2002), of the need for a common framework to improve decision making for sustainable development. Priori theorising indicated the suitability of governance as a topic of consideration and the possibility that a governance framework offered a potential solution. The research question was therefore: “would a governance framework for the built environment sector provide a framework in which decision making for sustainable development could be improved for all built environment stakeholders?” With an added dimension of testing for developed and developing countries, the research project was constructed on the case study methodology using the built environment sectors of the UK and Ghana.

The project commenced with a review of literature which confirmed that governance is a core component of sustainable development and of increasing relevance to built environment stakeholders in both developed and developing countries. A significant gap in the literature concerning governance and the built environment sector was identified.

Through analysis of literature a governance framework was constructed to act as the theoretical framework for testing. A comparative analysis of the current governance arrangements impacting on the built environment sectors in each of the case studies provided data to test the theoretical framework. A contingency valuation carried out with built environment policy makers and practitioners in Ghana provided data to further test the acceptability and applicability of the theoretical governance framework.

It was concluded that a governance framework provided a robust framework in which decision making for sustainable development could be analysed and improved. Furthermore, evidence indicates that the completeness of a sector’s governance framework is a key indicator of performance for sustainable development in the built environment sector. The framework developed in this project has been used to analyse performance in Ghana’s built environment sector and the resulting policy guidance has informed the development of policy and institutional reforms in Ghana.



governance, sustainability, performance, improvement, reform, developing countries, Ghana



Research Institute