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Paradoxes and Possibilities for a ‘Green’ Housing Sector: A Swedish Case

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  • Pernilla Hagbert

    ()
    (Department of Architecture, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg 41296, Sweden)

  • Mikael Mangold

    ()
    (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg 41296, Sweden)

  • Paula Femenías

    ()
    (Department of Architecture, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg 41296, Sweden)

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    Abstract

    As global and local visions for sustainable living environments are increasingly supported by policies and concrete practices in construction, the building and housing sector is seeking to mitigate its environmental impact as well as assume a greater social responsibility. The overarching policy objectives set to concretize what a sustainable housing development entails, however, tend to rely on equivocal terminology, allowing a varied interpretation by key industry practitioners. Though in line with an ecological modernization paradigm in policy, the promotion of a market-driven environmentalism in housing faces multiple challenges as varying interests and perspectives collide. Supported by empirical findings of a semi-structured interview study conducted with housing developers in a new ‘green’ urban district in Göteborg, Sweden, theoretical frameworks surrounding the paradoxical path towards a sustainable housing development are presented. Inconsistencies between outspoken ambitions; social dimensions; and the framing of efficiency in new housing are discussed. Possibilities for the housing sector are given in the recognition of new forms of development, where a systemic perspective is required in the alignment between how industry, policy and the market perceives housing development and what is actually sustainable.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Sustainability.

    Volume (Year): 5 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 5 (May)
    Pages: 2018-2035

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    Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:5:y:2013:i:5:p:2018-2035:d:25485

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    Related research

    Keywords: sustainable development; housing; building sector; developers; equivocal terminologies; social capital;

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    1. van den Bergh, Jeroen C.J.M., 2011. "Environment versus growth -- A criticism of "degrowth" and a plea for "a-growth"," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(5), pages 881-890, March.
    2. Graham M Turner, 2008. "A Comparison of the Limits to Growth with Thirty Years of Reality," Socio-Economics and the Environment in Discussion (SEED) Working Paper Series 2008-09, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems.
    3. Michael Huesemann & Joyce Huesemann, 2008. "Will progress in science and technology avert or accelerate global collapse? A critical analysis and policy recommendations," Environment, Development and Sustainability, Springer, vol. 10(6), pages 787-825, December.
    4. Hugo Priemus, 2005. "How to make housing sustainable? The Dutch experience," Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 32(1), pages 5-19, January.
    5. Malmqvist, Tove & Glaumann, Mauritz & Scarpellini, Sabina & Zabalza, Ignacio & Aranda, Alfonso & Llera, Eva & Díaz, Sergio, 2011. "Life cycle assessment in buildings: The ENSLIC simplified method and guidelines," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 1900-1907.
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