Buildings & Cities: Social Value of the Built Environment

Guest Editors: Flora Samuel (U of Reading) & Kelly J. Watson (Hatch Urban Solutions)

Deadline for Abstracts: 1 NOVEMBER 2022

The UN Sustainable Development Goals define many values and actions for environmental, social, economic and climatic issues. Social value can be a driver to radically change built environment practices and outcomes. However, the questions surrounding the social value of the built environment – definitions, inclusion processes, delivery, evaluation and benefits – remain unclear and require further development by governments, industry, researchers and civil society. This special issue explores social value in relation to both placemaking (urban design, architecture and real estate) and construction (procurement and labour) processes.

The emergence of the social value agenda has real potential for the promotion of justice, equality and social cohesion in our built environment. Social value is often defined in different ways by sector, industry and context. A useful working definition is “the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the relevant area” (PSSVA, 2012).

This working definition demonstrates an interrelationship with triple bottom line sustainability, as well as the importance of prioritising impact within a defined spatial area, which could be local, regional, national or wider. Other definitions emphasise the importance of stakeholders and beneficiaries recognising and placing a value on the changes they experience in their lives (Social Value UK, n.d.; Pearce, 2003; Johnston, 1992), as well as the quantification and measurement of positive impacts.

Read more here.