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Partnership in the Built Environment for Realizing the 2030 Agenda: A Soft Systems Model Incorporating Systems Theory and the Circular Economy

  • Published on November 2, 2023

Sustainability calls for national and supranational collaboration between people, institutions, states, countries, and regions. The built environment can foster these partnerships leading to sustainable cities and communities. Using the language expressing the sustainable development goals (SDGs), this entry presents an argument for how the built environment can contribute to meeting the needs of the 2030 Agenda. The benefits of quality education, clean water and sanitation, affordable clean energy, decent work, increased employment opportunities, and collaboration with governing institutions will reflect in industry innovation, responsible consumption and production, economic growth, combating the impacts of climate change on biological communities, improved gender equality, reduced poverty and inequality, and strengthened institutions, facilitating peace and justice. A strategic vision is derived from sound theoretical foundations to combine all these sustainable development goals. However, this also points to a gap in industry practices at the national and supranational level. This chapter incorporates secondary literature on systems theory and the circular economy to develop a conceptual framework for a soft systems model for the built environment to realize the 2030 Agenda. The model proposes to combine systems theory with a circular supply chain through partnerships to recognize the sustainability of the built environment. The SDGs and their indicators must be met at different levels of the supply chain while identifying responsible stakeholders to report progress. The soft systems model proposes complementary solutions to interconnected global problems.

Professor Usha Iyer-Raniga is at the School of Property and Construction Management at RMIT University. Usha is co-leading the One Planet Network’s Sustainable Buildings and Construction Programme (SBC), United Nations 10 Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (UN 10FYP SCP) aligned with Sustainable Development Goal 12, as well as the newly formed Integrated Platform for Circular Economy, Climate Resilience, and Energy. This research is directly related to the work of the UN OPN SBC programme.

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