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Sustainable Design(1) & Construction
The ethical response, in built or wrought form, to the concept of
'Sustainable Human & Social Development'.

(1) Includes Spatial Planning, Architectural/Engineering/Industrial Design & e-Design.

International Conference Papers

Sustainable Human & Social Development
Development which meets the responsible needs, i.e. the Human & Social Rights(2), of this generation - without stealing the life and living resources from future generations, especially our children ... and their children.

(2) As defined in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UN OHCHR).

Inspired by the Culture of the North American Indigenous Peoples ... this definition incorporates the concept of '7 Generation Thinking'.

Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA)

A continual evaluation and optimization process - informing initial decision-making,
or design, and shaping activity/product/service realization, useful life and termination,
or final disposal - of the interrelated positive and negative social, environmental,
economic, institutional, political and legal impacts on balanced and equitable
implementation of Sustainable Human & Social Development.

Full & Complete Definition of 'Sustainable Development'
[Paragraph 1 of Chapter 2, 1987 WCED (Brundtland) Report]

Sustainable development is development that meets the needs
of the present without compromising the ability of future generations
to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts:
  • the concept of 'needs', in particular the essential needs
    of the world's poor, to which overriding priority should be given;
  • the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and
    social organization on the environment's ability to meet present
    and future needs.

C J Walsh

Strasbourg, France
9th - 10th December, 1999

'Person-Centredness' of the Built Environment
A Core Value of Sustainable Design

Click Here to Download PDF
(PDF File, 160kb)

These are interesting times ; the benefits of modern technology have bypassed and long overtaken the stirring thoughts, visions and catchcries of Architects at the beginning of the 20th. Century.
However, at this time in Europe, we must now ask ourselves some difficult questions .....

" What should be the Design Agenda for the 'built environment' in the new millenium ? "
" Do we actually understand the 'real' needs and desires or 'real' people in an inclusive society ? "

It is Sustainable Design  -  the art and science of the design, supervision of related construction / de-construction, and maintenance of sustainability in the built environment  -  which is currently generating a quantum leap in the forward evolution of a more coherent design philosophy.

Principle 1 of the 1992 Rio Declaration on Enviroment and Development states......

' Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development.
They are entitled to a healthy and productive lifein harmony and nature. '

Deeply embedded, therefore, within this philosphy is the concept of 'person-centredness' , i.e. that core design value which places real people at the centre or creative concerns, and gives due consideration to their health, safety and welfare in thebuilt environment ; a sensory rich and accessible ( mobility, usability , communications and information ) environment ; fire safety ; thermal comfort ; air, light and visual quality ; protection from ionizing / electromagnetic radiation ; nuisance noise abatement ; etc. An important 'person-centred' design aid is the questionnaire survey, which is not only a very valuable source of information, but formalizes meaningful consultation between practitioneers and end users.



C J Walsh

Bari, Italy/ 16th - 17th December, 1999

Construction Related Sustainability Performance Indicators

Click Here to Download PDF
(PDF File, 161kb)


The European Charter on Sustainable Design & Contruction has placed special emphasis on implementation through the informed use of contruction related sustainability performance indicators, i.e. setting targets and monitoring 'real' performance in the built enviroment , which includes buildings, civil engineering projects, transport, service support systems and infrastructure.

In particular, Principle 26 of the European Charter states ........

' Harmonised short , medium and long-term strategies in the policy areas of energy efficiency, environmental protection and sustainable development should be planned for implementation in the Eurpean Union over the following time frames :-

(i) up to 2010 ;   (ii) between 2011 and 2040 ;   (iii) between 2041 and 2100.

Such is the threat to quality of life and human progress caused by current enviromental degradation, and such is the great timelag between implementation of corrective actions and resulting benefical enviromental impacts, that sustainability performance should be benchmarked at year 1990 in the Member States of the E.U.

Detailed performance indicators for all stages of planning, design, construction / de-construction, maintenance and disposal should be used to target improvements in the sustainability performance, verify target attainment, and continually re-adjust targets at appropiate intervals thereafter. '


C J Walsh

Brussels, Belgium / 5th & 6th April, 2000

Technology Watch & Innovation in
the Construction Industry

Click Here to View

  Towards a European
Research Area
European Commission Communication          
Brussels  2000-01-18         
COM(2000) 6

In the European Union, a clear legal basis in its Constitution, continuing political commitment at the level of Council of Ministers, legally binding compliance with the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the urgent assignment of the Commission to implement policies on sustainable development, more balanced economic progress, social justice and inclusion, etc., and strong public support for such policies, are slowly generating sufficient pressure to force a radical change of pace and direction on what has been, until now, an inefficient, environmentally destructive, and very wasteful major industrial sector, i.e. construction.

A proper, rational response for the industry might be to produce an articulated vision of a future 'built environment' which deals effectively with this pressure, and which also clarifies the nature of the task in front of us, the actions and timescales required, and the paths to be taken ........

' The big picture on this planet, and the long-term goal over the next century in Europe, is the creation of a sustainable 'built environment' within a flourishing 'natural environment', each co-existing with the other in harmony and dynamic balance, and each in their own way, capable of providing for responsible and equitable human, social, cultural and economic development. And although construction related sustainability performance indicators will dictate future progress towards this regional goal, nothing less than a quantum leap in the evolution of design philosophy and construction work methods will be required to even begin to meet this daunting challenge. '

Especially at this time, therefore, there is no greater need than to encourage creativity and innovation in all aspects of construction, and to produce a focused, empirical research agenda. The approach to developing 'real', cost effective solutions, in the form of practical guidelines, must be widely multi-disciplinary. An active dialogue between practitioners, researchers and end-users, based on direct and meaningful consultation, partnership, and consensus, must become the standard.



C J Walsh

An Examination of Disability
in the context of
Sustainable Human & Social Development

(Original Paper July 2000 - Published by McGraw-Hill in USA)

The new World Health Organization's International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health heralds not only a dramatic change in the language and philosophy of 'disability', which is both positive and liberating, but the possibility of creating a more tangible, interactive relationship with mainstream society, because of its reference to the following 'Contextual Factors' ........

(a) Environmental :
Those factors which are external, or extrinsic, to the context of a person's life and living, e.g. the physical world and its features, other people in different roles, social attitudes and values, institutional policies and action programmes, legislation, service and support systems in society ;

(b) Personal :
Those factors which are internal, or intrinsic, to the context of a person's life and living, e.g. age, gender, level of education, socio-economic status, and life experiences.

On the other hand, social turbulence in Europe since the end of the Cold War, demographic / global warming / ozone depletion pressures, and the value-driven legislation of the European Union (E.U.) are combining to alter, perceptibly, the popular consensus concerning future human development.

This Paper examines 'disability' and 'contextual factors' from the broad perspective of Sustainable Human and Social Development . It remains, then, for the reader to decide whether or not the concepts of 'Universal Design' / 'Design-for-All' are sufficiently elastic to remain on the European Disability Agenda for the short term - up to the year 2010.

May 2001 Update - Presented at the Montreal World Congress
' Inclusion by Design : Planning the Barrier-Free World '
1st - 5th June, 2001

Click Here to Download May 2001 Paper
(PDF File, 1155kb)
Letter from Montreal Congress Organizers
(Click to view)




1998 European Charter on Sustainable Design & Construction
Drafted by CJ Walsh

Having become much more involved in the development of this WebSite and, specifically, the new way of working in this Electronic Medium, a different approach to the drafting of Conference/Workshop Presentations was felt to be very necessary.

For Flexibility and to place the proper emphasis on Content - not on Style,
Conference Presentations after 2002/2003 are in PDF (Portable Document Format).

2004 Rio Declaration on Sustainable Social Development, Disability & Ageing

Drafted by CJ Walsh





OASRN Sustainable Architecture

Porto, Portugal / 27th-29th June 2007

Sustainable Architecture
Facilitation Design & Fire Safety Integration

(updated after presentation and local interaction)

C J Walsh

Click Here to Download PDF
(PDF File, 2.02Mb)

One of the principal challenges to implementing a Sustainable Approach to
Architecture is achieving a horizontal and seamless integration of many different areas
of Building Performance. In this Presentation, Facilitation Design and
Fire Safety are examined.

Practical Design Solutions for everyday implementation are first elaborated.
These Solutions - important components in a more innovative and robust concept of Accessibility-for-All - are then placed in the context of current European Union law.

Specific mention is also given to Article 11 (Situations of Risk) in the
2006 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights




TYCO Fire & Security (UAE) Building Seminar - Sustainable Fire Engineering

Thursday, 22nd September 2011
ASFP Ireland Fire Seminar & Workshop - RDS, Dublin

A Gentle Whisper in Your Ear ...
Sustainable Fire Engineering IS THE FUTURE !
... for a Safe & Sustainable Built Environment in the 21st Century

CJ Walsh

Click Here to Download PDF
(PDF File, 3.99 Mb)




TYCO Fire & Security (UAE) Building Seminar - Sustainable Fire Engineering

'The Lowry', Manchester, England / 10th-13th May 2010

Sustainable Climate Adaptation

The Critical Link between Sustainable Development &
Climate Change in the Built Environment

CJ Walsh

Click Here to Download PDF
(PDF File, 721kb)

Asked directly, at a Dublin meeting, about how the relationship between Climate Change and Sustainable Development had been dealt with in the 2007 WMO/UNEP Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 4th Assessment Report - where it was mentioned almost as an afterthought - Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, IPCC Chair, replied that he was personally disappointed that something more substantial had not been done to explore this link. He seemed surprised to receive the question.

The 2009 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Summit, which was held in Copenhagen from 7th-19th December, was chaotic ... and its outcome was divisive. Since then, it has been particularly noticeable that the IPCC, Dr. Pachauri's position within that organization, and the Science of Climate Change itself ... have all been targeted by an increasing number of vocal sceptics in Developed Countries, particularly the U.S.A. If anything is clear, it is that the Politics of Climate Change must now be carefully dissected and analyzed before an effective global response to Climate Change can be properly mobilized and reliably implemented.

Learning from these events, the urgent priority for those organizations/individuals involved in the design, construction, management or operation of the Built Environment ... is to quickly elaborate a Climate Change Strategy which is 'politically' and 'technically' appropriate for the near and long-terms ... while, at the same time, avoiding any short-term roadblocks to progress.

This Paper explores the symbiotic relationship between the concept of Sustainable Human and Social Development and the reality of Climate Change ... a link which is critical to the development of that elusive consensual global response ... and essential for the effective implementation of a Built Environment Climate Change Strategy.

Fortuitously relevant, in these interesting times ... having commenced in June 2008 ... the on-going development of a CIB Working Commission 108 ('Climate Change and the Built Environment') Project will also be outlined, which will result in the publication of the Report: 'Sustainable Climate Change Adaptation in the Built Environment', during 2010.



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