Explain and discuss how economic theory might contribute to meeting the challenge of sustainable construction.
In June, 2013 the United Nations reported that the current World Population of 7.2 billion is projected to increase to 8.1 billion people in 2025 and 9.6 billion in 2050. However, the available resources have remained limited against many wants/ needs and natural resources consumptions exceeding their replenishment. ‘The challenge to provide an improved standard of life to an exponentially growing population, with finite available resources, is becoming increasingly difficult. To address this issue, the concept of sustainability has emerged in the past decade’ (Jones et al, 2010).
The economic concept of sustainable development was well summarised by the UN report ‘Our Common Future’, the Report on the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED, 1987) which stated that ‘Humanity has the ability to make development sustainable to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’. The report acknowledges that there are limitations imposed by the present state of technology and social organization and by the ability of the biosphere to absorb the effect of human activities. Since the release of Our Common Future report the concept of sustainability has been further developed. According to Hill and Bowen (1996), four attributes of sustainability namely social, economic, biophysical and technical has been singled out to advance understanding of sustainable construction.
Further literatures have highlighted three pillars namely social, environmental and economic pillars (Beheiry et al, 2006; Jones et al, 2010; Myers, 2013; Zimmermann et al, 2005; Ding, 2007; Ortiz et al, 2007; Basiago, 1999 and Plessis, 2006). Sha et al (2000) identified four pillars namely social, political, economic and technical. A study on Local agenda 21 and barriers to...