Sustainability Summit

Creating social sustainability value chain – designing places that work well for people and the environment

Creating the physical, cultural and social places that support wellbeing and a sense of community involves a process of engagement with the people who inhabit those places.

This also touches on urban renewal, which offers an opportunity to improve the quality of life of the residents and to build sustainable cities.

There are several key points to note: social sustainability is as much about the process as it is about the outcome, the design of the physical place is critical, and the physical outcomes need to be integrated with social infrastructure systems.

In essence it’s a value chain that goes something like this: Design-led processes underpin good design outcomes; good design outcomes create quality public realm; quality public realm provides the conditions that support social sustainability and wellbeing. It’s a story that needs to be articulated and presented now to those shaping public policy and aspiring to achieve the broad kind of progress that includes socially sustainable outcomes.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this presentation, you should be able to:

  • Define the concept of ‘Social sustainability’ as it relates to the built environment.
  • Explain the notion that ‘social sustainability is as much about process as it is about outcome’.
  • Outline the role that government play in helping to achieve social sustainability
  • Outline the role that architects and designers play in helping to achieve social sustainability.

(Competency Codes: Design: PC 3, PC 26, PC 28, PC 29)

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Session Information

View the 2023 Sustainability Summit on demand.




Gavin Ashley



Tammy Beck

Williams Ross Architects