Aims & Scope

Photo: Dennis Hill
Photo: Dennis Hill

Buildings and Cities is an international, open access, peer-reviewed, academic journal publishing high-quality research and analysis on the interplay between the different scales of the built environment: buildings, blocks, neighbourhoods, cities, national building stocks and infrastructures.

The journal focuses on built environment policy, practices and outcomes and the range of economic, environmental, political, social and technological issues occurring over the full life cycle.

It provides a platform for new ideas, innovative approaches and research-based insights that can help improve the built environment.

Buildings & Cities aims to make research accessible and relevant to academics, policymakers, practitioners, clients, and occupants.

Buildings & Cities' wide scope embraces:

  • SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS (SDGs) & CLIMATE CHANGE: making cities, neighbourhoods and buildings inclusive, safe and resilient. Interactions with and impacts on: ecologies, biodiversity and ecosystem services; resource usage (land, water, air, energy, materials / mass flows); climate change (mitigation and adaptation, e.g. planning, design, management); transitions to low-carbon societies; carbon accounting / budgets; sustainable development (social, economic, environmental and natural capitals); regenerative development; circular economy, longevity and obsolescence; public health and wellbeing; public space and social inclusion; participatory planning and management; affordable housing; informal settlements; social justice (housing, rights to the city, land tenure, land use and value); resilience and long-term planning; urban development and land-use; urban density; urban morphology; spatial analysis; urban microclimates; rapid urbanisation; migration; links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas.
  • ENERGY: energy and urban morphology, energy performance, energy policy, energy demand, energy behaviours, energy efficiency, exergy, mass retrofits, energy and carbon metrics, zero carbon buildings, embodied energy, energy epidemiology, renewable energy, energy storage, energy transitions, space heating, space cooling, district heating, energy retrofits, control systems.
  • POLICY: urban governance; land use; density; resource consumption; well-being and public health; formulation and evaluation of public and institutional policies for buildings, neighbourhoods and cities; economic, environmental and social analysis of policies and regulations; policy outcomes; enforcement strategies; real estate market mechanisms; value capture; ‘big data’; research and innovation capabilities; knowledge and technology transfer; organisational structures and networks; (stakeholder) institutions and institutional change; engagement processes; building regulations, alternative regulatory strategies for climate and energy issues
  • PRACTICE, PERFORMANCE, OUTCOMES & IMPACTS: design, technical, social, organisational, and economic aspects of usability (fitness and adaptability); the performance and evaluation of urban areas, neighbourhoods and buildings; feedback loops; information access / sharing, including BIM, PoE and BPE data; the broad value and impacts of buildings, neighbourhoods, cities. Exploring the agency, capabilities, motivations and influence of public leaders, clients, professionals, urban citizens / inhabitants and others on decisions and outcomes over the project lifecycle. Professionalism, ethics, changing roles, professional services firms, public sector capabilities.
  • SOCIETAL DEMANDS & CAPABILITIES: Defining and exploring the changing demands and aspirations on urban and architectural development; understanding citizens/inhabitants’ desires, needs and behaviours; stakeholder participation, contractual agency, social justice/equity; value measurement and appropriation; performance of buildings and cities (as products and services); digital society: sensing, monitoring, control, AI and consumer services; stewardship and protection of societal interests; demographic changes, migration and urbanisation strategies.

Papers are published in the following formats:

  • Research articles (up to 8,000 words) present the latest research
  • Synthesis articles (up to 8,500 words) critically review the state of knowledge in key areas of interest
  • Methods articles (up to 5,000 words) describe the development of innovative research methods and practices; new ways of understanding research
  • Replication articles (up to 4,000 words) test previous findings and validate existing data sets. This can report on "failure" results. Registered reports are a submission option for replication studies, with peer review of the research design prior to the data collection.
  • Policy Analysis articles (up to 3,000 words) put forward evidence-based analysis of particular policy approaches
  • Briefing Notes (up to 2,500 words) make research results and their implications on key built environment topics accessible to the end users of research: policymakers, practitioners, clients or occupants.

Peer Review Statement

All manuscript submissions are subject to initial appraisal by the Editors, and, if found suitable for further consideration, to double-blind peer review by independent, anonymous expert referees.  Further changes may be required in response to the reviewer’s comments and suggestions.  In all instances the Editor’s decision on publication is final.

Transparency, Open Data & Ethics

Authors of published research must comply with BUILDINGS & CITIES’ approach to standards of transparency.  These include:

  • Citation standards: Authors are required to provide appropriate citation for others’ intellectual content, data and materials following this journal's author guidelines
  • Data transparency:Data must be posted to a trusted repository.  Exceptions must be identified at article submission.
  • Analytic methods: Methods (including code / algorithms) must be posted to a trusted repository. Exceptions must be identified at article submission.
  • Design & analysis transparency: Journal requires adherence to design transparency standards for review and publication.
  • Study & analysis preregistration:Authors must state whether preregistration of study or analytical procedure exists and, if so, where to access it.
  • Ethics: The research conforms with international human rights and ethical requirements of relevant research bodies, professional institutions and the author's organisation.

Latest Commentaries

Mombasa City, Kenya. Photo: Sebastian Wanzalla

Brian Dean and Elizabeth Wangeci Chege (Sustainable Energy for All) respond to the Buildings & Cities special issue Alternatives to Air Conditioning and explain why thermal comfort is not only a construction industry problem to solve but needs to be placed in the policy agenda on global warming. Thermal adequacy is still not understood as an essential need for human survival and that governments have an essential role.

Image: Dedraw Studio, Getty Images

Tom Hargreaves and Nickhil Sharma (University of East Anglia) comment on contributions of the Buildings & Cities special issue Energy, Emerging Technology and Gender in Homes on the role of gender in technology development and the energy transition. This must be broadened further to social justice issues. A failure to do so risks fuelling resistance and pushback to new and emerging energy technologies. Three key avenues for future research and practices for a just energy transition and emerging technologies are set out.

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