Housing Sustainability in Low Carbon Cities: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Housing Sustainability in Low Carbon Cities

1st Edition

By Ralph Horne


214 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

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Housing affordability, urban development and climate change responses are great challenges that are intertwined, yet the conceptual and policy links between them remain under-developed.

Housing Sustainability in Low Carbon Cities addresses this gap by developing an interdisciplinary approach to urban decarbonisation, drawing upon more established, yet quite distinctive, fields of built environment policy and design, housing, and studies of social and economic change. Through this approach, policy and practices of housing affordability, equity, energy efficiency, resilience and renewables are critiqued and alternatives are presented. Drawing upon international case studies, this book provides a unique contribution to interdisciplinary urban and housing studies, discourses and practices in an era of climate change.

This book is recommended reading on higher level undergraduate and taught postgraduate courses in architecture, urban studies, planning, built environment, geography and urban studies. It will also be directly valuable to housing and urban policy makers and sustainability practitioners.


"Ralph Horne provides a fascinating and thoughtful account of the messy realities that confront policymakers grappling with the task of advancing housing sustainability. Full of theoretical and practical insights, this book deserves to be read by all those with an interest in the politics of housing and climate change." Professor Keith Jacobs, University of Tasmania, Australia

"Any transition to a low carbon future will require that the places we call home become more sustainable. Housing Sustainability in Low Carbon Cities brings a new perspective on the forms of inhabitation we need, providing an engaged, critical perspective of the potential and challenges ahead, and creating an agenda for change." Professor Harriet Bulkeley, University of Durham, UK

"Ralph Horne casts his unique multidisciplinary eye over the question of housing in this book, and in so doing inspirationally shifts the terms in which the sustainable housing debate is conducted. His detailed illustrations of how sustainable housing is practised will become foundational resources for urban policy makers as they experiment with transitioning to low carbon futures."Professor Robyn Dowling, The University of Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning, Australia

"Horne’s book carefully weaves three, often separate strands of the emerging urban agenda namely carbon control, accountable governance and spatial and economic inequality, into a lucid, compelling narrative. Linking building science and behavior change, and urban economies and housing affordability, the book offers scholars and practitioners of urban sustainability and housing studies a guide to emerging theory and empirical work in this rapidly emerging interdisciplinary field."Professor Julian Agyeman, Tufts University, USA

"Housing Sustainability in Low Carbon Cities is a welcome reminder that affordability is the crux of housing policy, and is likely to become ever more sensitive in the future. In a market economy, sustainable cities involve a trend towards higher energy prices to promote savings on consumption and higher land prices to reduce their spatial footprint. Though sustainability is not the only factor driving higher consumer costs, concerns about affordability and associated concerns about fairness and social justice are likely to accompany any transition towards the sustainable city. In this context, Housing Sustainability in Low Carbon Cities serves to open up a new agenda for housing and urban research and, through the development of the concept of ‘Lifetime Affordable Housing’, offers the outline of a framework to analyse this new agenda."Barry Goodchild, Professor of Urban Planning, Sheffield Hallam University, UK

"The strength of this book is in the links it makes between housing and the broader environment, between production and consumption, between hard and soft science and between places and people. It demonstrates an understanding of sustainability in a practical sense."Prof Jon Kellett, University of Adelaide, Australia

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Housing sustainability in low carbon cities

Part I Perspectives, policies and transitions

2. Boundaries and blind spots: Measurement and assessment

3. Perspectives on housing sustainability in low carbon cities

4. Policy settings and approaches

5. Transitions to housing sustainability in low carbon cities

Part II Dynamics of housing sustainability

6. Housing production and practice

7. Households, consumption and carbon

8. Lifetime Affordable Housing in an era of carbon restraint

9. Home improvements: Low carbon retrofit and renovation

Part III Governance of housing sustainability in low carbon cities

10. Urban intensification, sustainability and the city

11. Smart, sustainable and resilient? — An ethical cities agenda

12. Governing household carbon

13. Housing sustainability in low carbon cities

About the Author

Ralph Horne is Professor of Geography at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia.

About the Series

Routledge Equity, Justice and the Sustainable City series

This series positions equity and justice as central elements of the transition toward sustainable cities. The series introduces critical perspectives and new approaches to the practice and theory of urban planning and policy that ask how the world's cities can become ‘greener’ while becoming more fair, equitable and just.

Routledge Equity Justice and the Sustainable City series addresses sustainable city trends in the global North and South and investigates them for their potential to ensure a transition to urban sustainability that is equitable and just for all. These trends include municipal climate action plans; resource scarcity as tipping points into a vortex of urban dysfunction; inclusive urbanization; "complete streets" as a tool for realizing more "livable cities"; the use of information and analytics toward the creation of "smart cities".

The series welcomes submissions for high-level cutting edge research books that push thinking about sustainability, cities, justice and equity in new directions by challenging current conceptualizations and developing new ones. The series offers theoretical, methodological, and empirical advances that can be used by professionals and as supplementary reading in courses in urban geography, urban sociology, urban policy, environment and sustainability, development studies, planning, and a wide range of academic disciplines.

To submit proposals, please contact the Editor, Rebecca Brennan ([email protected], twitter: @BrennanRebecca1), or the Series Editors, Julian Agyeman ([email protected], twitter: @julianagyeman) and Stephen Zavestoski ([email protected]).

Julian Agyeman, Tufts University Boston-Medford, USA

Stephen Zavestoski, University of San Francisco, USA

Editorial Advisory Board:

Dr Antwi Akom, Professor & Founding Director, Social Innovation and Urban Opportunity Lab, University of California, San Francisco and San Francisco State University, USA

Dr Jayne Engle, Director, Cities, McConnell Foundation, Adjunct Professor, McGill University, Canada

Dr Ayona Datta, King’s College London, UK.

Dr Jenia Mukherjee, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, India 

Professor Cheryl Teelucksingh, Ryerson University, Canada

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Sustainable Development
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Environmental Policy