RMIT University
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Exploring Sustainable Housing Policy in Australia and Other Leading Jurisdictions

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posted on 2024-05-29, 06:05 authored by Fan Yang
Since the 1980s, global climate change has been the most significant environmental issue worldwide. Buildings account for up to 40% of total greenhouse gas emissions, while residential construction is the largest segment for the greenhouse gas emissions of the building industry. Therefore, researchers and policymakers worldwide have proposed sustainable housing to minimize greenhouse gas emissions from the residential sector. Leading jurisdictions like the European Union and California in the United States of America have developed regulations supporting sustainable housing, establishing international best-practice housing performance. However, by comparison, sustainable housing policy development in Australia has been limited as the current policies require more innovation, information and communication across stakeholder groups to tackle built-environment sustainability challenges. These limitations and potential barriers have decelerated Australia’s adoption of more sustainable housing deliveries. However, if the final aim of a sustainable housing transition is a housing requirement characterised by a sustainable dwelling, then establishing an appropriate policy and favourable regulatory environment is a critical step. Although some previous studies on Australia’s transition to low-carbon or low-energy housing exist, sustainable housing regulations have been updated over time. Therefore, a comparison review of the current ongoing policies between Australia and other leading jurisdictions is needed to fill this research gap. This thesis applies the policy comparison approach to investigate and evaluate the research gap, reviewing and comparing existing policies in Australia and leading jurisdictions to identify the key lessons to improve sustainable Australian housing policies. To explore the transition to sustainable housing requirements, selected policy documents were compared using a socio-technical transition framework. The policy comparison analysis process examined three case studies: Victoria, Australia; Copenhagen Denmark; and California, the United States. The discussion of the results considers improvements in the policymaking process and identifies key lessons for policy development in Australia. Drawing upon this international policy comparison review of the selected nations, recommendations for future research for Australian policy are then suggested.


Degree Type

Masters by Research


© Fan Yang 2023

School name

Property, Constr & Proj Mgt

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