From sustainability to resilience: an exploration of the development of sustainable architecture terminology

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This paper examines the transition of different terminology and buzzwords such as environmental, green, eco, sustainable and now the new term resilience in regards to architecture and the built environment. Using empirical data from a survey of 113 experts in the field of sustainable architecture – both practice and academic and follow-up interviews conducted with survey participants this paper questions the importance of labels, how they are defined and if these big-umbrella-terms offer room for exploration and opportunity or is the vagueness actually hindering the development of a more ‘sustainable architecture’. In addition, based on supporting literature, this paper also discusses the transitions of these terms - what they have meant historically, how they are developing, their influence and what they mean for the built environment and future endeavours. Understanding the role of these movements helps to understand the conceptual development of sustainability in relation to architecture, building and technology which offers an interesting insight to what may be the future of sustainable or now resilient architectural practices.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventLiving and Sustainability: An Environmental Critique of Design and Building Practices, Locally and Globally - Architecture, media, politics and society, South Bank University, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 9 Feb 201710 Feb 2017


ConferenceLiving and Sustainability
LocationArchitecture, media, politics and society, South Bank University
CountryUnited Kingdom


  • sustainable architecture
  • vocabulary
  • lexicon

Artistic research

  • No

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