Environmental sustainability of future social housing

School of Architecture, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom

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Prof. Karim Hadjri


Dr. Krzysztof Nawratek, School of Architecture, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom

Dr. Ignacio Guillén, School of Architecture, Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain


Sustainable Towns, Valencia, Spain.

South Yorkshire Housing Association Ltd, Sheffield, UK.

Research project

The world continues to suffer from significant environmental problems such as pollution, excessive waste and a reliance on fossil fuels, leading to climate change. There is urgent need to produce policies and guidelines to guide environmental sustainability, which will help achieve low-carbon construction and lifestyles. The built environment and housing in particular can play a major role in attaining environmental sustainability through recycling of building materials and energy efficient construction and housing.

The purpose of this project is to review current sustainability standards used for housing provision to establish environmental sustainability performance of existing low-carbon housing, and to identify the environmental sustainability building standards which will be required to meet low-carbon targets. The overall aim is to develop new guidelines for affordable sustainable homes.

Qualitative and quantitative research methods will be used to identify and develop environmental building standards. This will help establish current issues with achieving low-carbon social housing and the steps and approaches needed to reach the delivery of affordable and sustainable homes within the framework of social housing.

The project will have secondments at Sustainable Towns to analyse co-design processes in sustainable community development; and at South Yorkshire Housing Association to understand the needs of sustainable development initiatives and co-creation processes.

->To conduct individual research project, interlinked with the other ESRs projects, focusing on:
  • Reviewing current sustainability standards
  • Identifying environmental building standards
  • Analysis of co-design in sustainable community developments
  • Using qualitative and quantitative research tools to inform the development of guidelines
  • Development of a framework to achieve affordable low-carbon homes
  • Involvement of residents in the building lifecycle to reduce the energy performance gap
->To participate in the network-wide activities (workshops, summer schools, conferences).
->To carry out the training required by the PhD programme of the host university.

As part of the individual research project, ESRs will carry out two secondments, each of 3 months, at the partner organisations.

ESRs are expected to have completed a doctoral thesis that can be defended at the host institution within or shortly thereafter the project lifetime.

Host university

The Sheffield School of Architecture is a large, lively and diverse School with a strong social and ethical tradition, as befits a School within a Faculty of Social Sciences. The School has a strong reputation for excellence and innovation in teaching (joint first in the UK National Student Survey 2016). The Architect’s Journal Top 100 Survey rates us as one of the best UK Schools outside London, and we are the only School consistently within the top five as ranked across all the main UK league tables.

Research is currently carried out in three research groups: Space, Cultures and Politics; Design, Engagement and Practice; People, Environments and Performance. Each group brings together academic staff, researchers and postgraduate research students within common areas of interest. In addition, the School develops world class practice-based research within the work of staff and students through collaborative leadership and collegiate support. We have the first academic ‘Urban Room’ in the UK, via our LiveWorks, project which encourages engaged research in the community.


Prof. Karim Hadjri (

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