Guest editors: Alison Kwok (U of Oregon) and Fionn Stevenson (U of Sheffield). E-mails: and
Abstract submissions closed on 07 November 2019.
Built environment education is at a critical juncture to ensure that the workforce has the capacities and capabilities (knowledge and skills) to rapidly decarbonise built environments and reduce environmental degradation, for both new construction and the existing building stock. A rapid transition is needed in universities and training colleges in order to address the Climate Emergency through the scope and nature of the knowledge and skills that are provided to students and existing professionals / workers. Currently, a workforce without the appropriate low-carbon skills at national and global levels is delivering immediate and long-term negative consequences due to the longevity of buildings, infrastructures and cities. The decisions and designs made now and over the next few years will continue to impact for 60+ years.
The achievement of ambitious energy and environmental targets requires a rapid and wide extension of the necessary knowledge and the related skills. The window of time to achieve this change in the workforce is just a few years and must be addressed now as a matter of urgency.
The present systems of professional and vocational knowledge creation and transfer (which varies considerably from country to country and program to program) need to be challenged to produce very different forms of interdisciplinary and disciplinary knowledge and skills. Opportunities for synchronicity and rapid propulsion need developing – both within disciplinary boundaries and between disciplines.
Current and future students need to be rapidly upskilled with appropriate knowledge to create zero carbon buildings, neighbourhoods, cities and infrastructure, working with practice and industry. Even more importantly, new knowledge and skills are required to retrofit the vast existing building stock and infrastructure associated with it. This means providing such knowledge to vocational workers and professionals, but almost no education and training programmes address this. The upskilling of the existing workforce is also a vital component, particularly to ensure that the skills of current / future students mesh with those already in practice.
This raises new needs for the present educational and training pedagogies, curricula and practices for planning, design, engineering, operation, construction and facility management professionals as well as vocational workers, building operators, managers, maintainers and clients. How can education and training be rapidly changed to ensure the creation of zero-carbon built environments? How can this transition be implemented successfully? What positive examples and models can be drawn upon or adapted?
Papers in this special issue will address key questions and offer solutions in these key areas:
You are invited to submit an abstract for a journal paper in this special issue of Buildings & Cities. In the first instance, please send a 500 word (maximum) abstract defining the scope, methods and results to editor Richard Lorch by 07 November 2019. The initial submission must include:
Abstracts will be reviewed by the editors to ensure a varied, yet integrated selection of papers around the topic of the special issue. Authors of accepted abstracts will be invited to submit a full paper (6000-7500 words), which will be subject to a double-blind review process.
Deadline for abstract submission: 07 November 2019
Full papers due: 03 February 2020
Referees' comments: 03 April 2020
Final version due: 11 May 2020
Publication: July 2020
Buildings & Cities is an international, open access, double-blind peer-reviewed research journal. Its focus is the interactions between buildings, neighbourhoods and cities by understanding their supporting social, economic and environmental systems. More information including its Aims & Scope and Editorial Board can be found online: www.buildingsandcities.org
Buildings & Cities is an open access journal and has an article processing charge of £950. If you do not have institutional support, please contact the editor to discuss. We endeavour to assist those without funding to publish in our journal.
If you have a question, please contact: Richard Lorch , Alison Kwok , Fionn Stevenson
 Professionals, vocational workers and technologists tasked with creating, operating and maintaining the built environment, as well as retrofitting existing building stocks.
 The term ‘zero carbon’ is used here to acknowledge a radical reduction in embodied and operational carbon. There are a variety of terms and different approaches: net-zero, carbon positive, etc but the focus of this special issue is on creating capabilities and capacity. The determination of appropriate metrics and targets is the focus of a forthcoming Buildings & Cities special issue: Carbon Metrics for Buildings and Cities. https://www.buildingsandcities.org/calls-for-papers/carbon-metrics-for-buildings-and-cities.html
Alongside personal comfort systems (PCS) devices, clothing is another key site for (re)design in a body-centred personal comfort paradigm. Janine Morley (Lancaster University) explains how clothing and PCS could transform how thermal comfort is achieved whilst delivering energy savings and, potentially, increased satisfaction.
Many cities throughout the world have set carbon and / or energy targets including renewable energy production and emissions reduction goals. Despite the commitment to take action, cities do not directly control the majority of the uses of energy or consumption-related sources of carbon emissions within their boundaries. Could a focus on household energy use, personal travel and consumption of material goods help to achieve this transition at city level? Tina Fawcett (University of Oxford), Kerry Constabile (University of Oxford) and Yael Parag (Reichman University) consider whether and how cities could harness personal carbon allowances in a practical manner.