Is the social agenda driving sustainable property development in Melbourne, Australia?

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Property Management, 2008, 26 (5), pp. 331 - 343
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Purpose - Sustainable property development has increased in market share over the past two to three years globally and locally. This research aims to analyze the drivers and barriers to sustainable property development in Melbourne using the triple bottom line (TBL) theoretical framework. The TBL posits that sustainability has social, economic and environmental aspects to fulfil. Design/methodology/approach - A questionnaire was sent out to 190 developers in Melbourne who promoted sustainable property development to ascertain their views about the drivers and barriers. Findings - This research indicates that in the 2007 Melbourne market the drivers were social rather than economic. The data reveal that social reasons are considered more than economic arguments for incorporating sustainability into developments. The business case, or the economic drivers for sustainability alone do not convince developers. Research limitations/implications - The questionnaire survey informed us about developers' views but not why they have these views. The sample was limited to Melbourne. Practical implications - More developments are required for developers to become convinced of the benefits. The relatively low price of energy undermines the business case for sustainability in property here and needs to be fully costed. Originality/value - This paper illustrates that whilst the theoretical framework cites three key areas for sustainability, the reality is that developers are currently driven by social and environmental factors primarily and the business case is not accepted by the majority of developers.
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