The voluntary program series, Part 3: the muddy business of low-carbon building certification and classification

First published on the Fifth Estate:   In the previous posts I discussed the difficulty of regulating low-carbon building development and transformation; and the move towards voluntary programs in this area. In this and the next two posts I will address three dominant designs of voluntary programs for low-carbon buildings I have studied in Australia,... Continue Reading →

The voluntary program series, Part 2: rewards and enforcement

First published on the Fifth Estate: In my first article I explained why voluntary programs have become popular in governing the transition to a low-carbon built environment. In this post I explore voluntary programs and their rapid uptake in a wide range of sectors and countries in more depth. I specifically address expectations about how... Continue Reading →

The voluntary program series, Part 1: The value and limits of voluntary programs for low-carbon buildings

First published on the Fifth Estate: Voluntary programs have become increasingly popular in the transition towards a low-carbon economy. They are particularly dominant in the area of low-carbon building development and transformation. Australian examples are Green Star and CitySwitch, both applied throughout Australia, 1200 Buildings in Melbourne, and the Better Building Partnership in Sydney. These... Continue Reading →

Making cities better: voluntary programs aren’t enough

Originally posted on: Voluntary programs are all the rage. From ratcheting up cybersecurity to fighting obesity, firms in the United States and elsewhere voluntarily make pledges to do better than governmental regulation. Firms are rewarded for doing so. Governments may stall the introduction of mandatory regulation, clients may be more inclined to buy their goods, and investors... Continue Reading →

Urban sustainability: Australian cities are leading the world … for now

Originally posted on:,7199   Cities hold a significant potential to make a rapid change toward reduced resource consumption and waste production, greenhouse gasses included. Yet, an ongoing reliance on traditional building codes will however not result in the change needed. Innovative governance tools hold more potential. My new book highlights that Australian cities may lead the... Continue Reading →

Cities need innovative governance tools and brave politicians to combat climate change

Originally posted on: In our highly urbanised world, cities create problems as well as provide solutions. Many of humanity’s challenges exist at city level. Cities are an unsustainable source of resource depletion and pollution, and account for 40 per cent of global energy consumption and over 30 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, there... Continue Reading →

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