Towards a synthesis perspective : sustainable development government policy and the Australian residential building sector

Publication Type:
Thesis
Issue Date:
2012
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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. This thesis contains 3rd party copyright material. ----- Government environmental policies created to address the impacts caused by human development place significant focus on the built environment. However, despite their implementation, environmental impacts have not been substantially diminished. This thesis questions why the influence of government policy has not resulted m a greater reduction of environmental impacts and argues that the adoption of a theoretical perspective primarily focused on human systems, as opposed to ecological systems, is a key factor. This thesis critically examines the key theoretical perspectives to sustainable development and how they frame government policy initiatives. The key theoretical perspectives are identified as the anthropogenic perspective, which takes a human focus; the eco-centric perspective, which takes an ecological focus; and the synthesis perspective, which combines human and ecological interests. An investigation of the Australian residential building sector identifies the key groups who have the most potential to effect sustainable development and finds that regulatory bodies are the most influential due to their ability to implement policy. A case study of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Building Sustainability Index: BASIX) assesses its effectiveness to regulate the environmental impacts of the New South Wales residential building sector, with reference to primary data from interviews conducted with both the creators of BASIX and some of the users of this tool. Its benefits and limitations are critically examined to reveal that it is founded on an anthropogenic perspective that seeks to retain and protect existing economic interests. The thesis argues that a shift from the primarily human focused perspective towards a more holistic approach of the synthesis perspective would allow for economic and ecological agendas to be balanced. This could improve the potential of BASIX to reduce the environmental impacts from the built environment.
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