Sustainable development policy perceptions and practice in the UK social housing sector

Kate Carter, Chris Fortune

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    32 Citations (Scopus)


    Massive investment has been allocated by the UK government to improve the quality of its programme of rented social housing over the next five years. Central to the achievement of this aim will be the incorporation of sustainability features within the building projects associated with this development programme. A sustainable development policy that addresses environment, economy and society in equal measure is a new funding requirement for social housing projects. There is a gap between policy and practice in two areas: (i) the possession or otherwise of a sustainable development (SD) policy; and (ii) the relative importance given to differing features of sustainability. The perceptions and practice of built environment professionals involved in the procurement of sustainable housing schemes has been gauged regarding SD policy. Quantitative data were collected from a randomized sample of 338 developing registered social landlords (RSLs). The results show that only a minority of respondent organizations have developed a sustainable development policy and that environmental, economical and societal aspects of sustainability are not given equal weighting. This does not reflect governmental policy and suggests that sustainability is not being fully addressed in the procurement of social housing projects. Further work is needed to evaluate the links between sustainability and procurement approaches, and to model the benefits of delivering sustainable housing projects for RSLs in the UK.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)399-408
    Number of pages10
    JournalConstruction Management and Economics
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007


    • Housing associations
    • Housing development
    • Policy
    • Sustainability


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