Creating Built Environments: Bridging Knowledge and Practice Divides, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Creating Built Environments

Bridging Knowledge and Practice Divides, 1st Edition

By Roderick J Lawrence


280 pages | 76 B/W Illus.

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Built environments are multidimensional and need to be understood by careful analysis. They should be understood before reconsidering how professionals of the built environment should be educated and trained to reduce the gap between knowledge, practice and real-world circumstances. There is an urgent need to rethink the role of policy makers, researchers and practitioners involved in the construction, renovation and reuse of the built environment in order to deal with the environmental/ecological, economic/financial, and social/ethical challenges of providing a habitat for current and future generations in a rapidly changing world. These complex challenges are too complex to be dealt with only by one discipline or profession.

This book presents and illustrates innovative contributions applied during the planning of built environments, with case studies focusing on five strategic domains and the interrelations between them. These recent contributions apply concepts, methods and tools that enable concerted action between stakeholders collaborating in policy definition and project implementation. These methods and tools include experiments in living-labs, prototypes on site, virtual simulations and agent-based modeling, as well as participatory approaches with citizen science for data collection, the development of alternative scenarios, and visioning plausible futures.


"In Creating Built Environments, Lawrencepresents a lucid, authoritative, and comprehensive narrative on the co-creation of urban environments within which humans might flourish. Balancing systems-based transdisciplinary frameworks with applied empirical examples, the work is a compelling evidence-based argument for the imperative of transforming approaches to urban design for just and sustainable futures." ?—Dr. Robert Dyball, Australian National University, Past President of the Society for Human Ecology (SHE), Australia

"Roderick Lawrence takes us on a journey from philosophical foundations to contemporary inter- and transdisciplinary approaches of the planning of the future of the urban built environement, the place where the majority of humans live. He offers food for thought for urban planning involving all actors in a participatory way." —Jakob Zinsstag, President TD-net, Swiss Academies of Sciences, Switzerland

"Our health is inextricably entwined with our environment, and yet we continue to devolve responsibility to the confines of biomedical care. This work on urban development is a stark demonstration of the inter- and trans-disciplinary approaches across both the Global South and North necessary for a holistic, just, and sustainable approach toward health and wellbeing." —Dr. Pascale Allotey, Director of the United Nations University International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH)

"Sometimes a book is perfectly timed, and this is one of them. The sun is setting on a scientific era defined by disciplinary silos. We need to fix the way built environments are planned. This book explains how researchers and practitioners can work together to be joint agents of change." —Dr. Tony Craig, The James Hutton Institute, President of the International Association of People-Environment Studies (IAPS)

"The challenges of health and well-being in urban environments, for people and the planet, emerge from social, technological and ecological systems which are complex. Solving them requires overcoming the barriers of thinking and working together. In his book, Roderick Lawrence makes important contributions to bridging barriers and tackling those challenges." —Dr. Franz W. Gatzweiler, Professor, Executive Director of Urban Health & Well-Being: A Systems Approach, A global interdisciplinary programme of the International Science Council

"This book is timely, aimed at a very broad readership, comprehensive in its coverage and provides optimism and realism in confronting the global and local challenges and the geopolitics we now face. I positively endorse its approach and message." —Colin Fudge, Professor of Urban Futures and Design, Chalmers University, Sweden

Table of Contents



Chapter 1: Constructing with Nature in Mind

Chapter 2: Planning for Health and Well-Being

Chapter 3: Food for Thought

Chapter 4: Housing Matters for All

Chapter 5: Creating Incremental and Radical Change


Chapter 6: Conceptual Foundations

Chapter 7: Methodological Approaches

About the Author

Roderick Lawrence is Emeritus Professor at the Geneva School of Social Sciences (G3S) at the University of Geneva. He is currently Visiting professor at the United nations University and Adjunct Professor at the National University of Malaysia. He is the Director of the Global Environmental Policy proogramme (GEPP) since 2010 at the University of Geneva. He is a member of the scientific advisory board of the "Network for transdisciplinary research", of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences, Berne since 2009. He is an Associate Member of the New York Academy of Sciences since 1997. He was the founding Director of the Certificate of Advanced Studies in Sustainable Development at the University of Geneva from 2003 to 2015.

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