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  3. Planning and Building Sustainable Cities

Planning and Building Sustainable Cities (LAWS90029)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2018
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeLAWS90029
Availability(Quotas apply)
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

The concepts of urban sustainability are driving the regulation of the built form of our increasingly large, complex and smart cities. The global sustainable development goals have also led urban regulators to embrace more participatory and innovative forms of governance for our society and economy.

This subject explores how those concepts apply in the regulation of planning and construction and the framework and governance for the development of smart, resilient and sustainable cities. In particular, it will focus on the role of municipal and state laws in achieving liveable communities.

The subject will cover the Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD) Local Planning Policies and consider whether planning regulation in Victoria incorporates best practice in environmental assessment. It will explore the interesting tension between building and planning law and the respective contribution of each in driving sustainable outcomes.

Another component of this subject will follow the introduction of building information modelling (BIM) arising out of the architecture, engineering and construction management sectors. This topic offers a further but alternate perspective of shifting regulatory dynamics that pitch towards sustainability objectives, whether on built environment projects or across broad-scaled applications.

This subject has been designed for those interested in the intersection between planning and construction law and environmental law. The course includes guest lectures, visiting some of Melbourne’s iconic green buildings and assessing urban planning initiatives, such as the Queen Victoria Market Redevelopment, for their contribution to the development of Melbourne as a sustainable city.

Principal topics include:

  • Sustainability in the city; exploring new ideas on what sustainable development means in an urban setting, policy priorities for sustainability, ideas of new governance for sustainability, and new economic and legal models to achieve sustainability outcomes
  • Green building and climate change developments, directions and policy, including resilience and risk
  • Urban planning and sustainability, including the use and role of land-use planning laws and local governance to achieve improved sustainability features in the built urban environment, focusing on Victorian laws
  • The broad regulatory setting for green buildings and urban sustainability, including a sustainability analysis of the National Construction Code
  • Sustainability rating tools for energy efficiency and the regulation of green buildings, through voluntary and mandatory schemes, including GreenStar and BASIX, and a comparison of green rating and standard tools in Australia (NABERS), the United States (LEED) and the United Kingdom and Europe (BREEAM)
  • An introduction to building information modelling (BIM) relative to sustainability opportunities and challenges, from construction projects and local and international policy perspectives
  • An applied case study analysis of how integrated sustainable urban construction law works in practice.

Intended learning outcomes

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Have an advanced and specialised understanding in an urban and contemporary context of the role and function of law – regulatory and contractual – to achieve sustainability objectives in the built environment
  • Have an appreciation of the changing role and forms of governance and economy within a sustainable city and the manner in which these changes are affecting laws and legal relationships
  • Have the skills to be able to deal at an advanced level with the major regulatory aspects of planning and buildings sustainability cities
  • Have an understanding of the sustainability objectives and requirements within the Building Code of Australia
  • Understand and be able to apply the ESD Local Planning Policies and sustainability assessment practices
  • Be able to critically reflect on, and be confident in working across the complexities and interaction points between environmental, planning and construction law in the pursuit of liveable, smart and resilient communities
  • Have an understanding of BIM and BIM related conceptualisations that have the capacity to be tailored towards achieving sustainability objectives and outcomes through built environment related policy, contracts and projects
  • Have the research and communication skills to independently examine and analyse the complexities and emerging legal issues relating to urban planning and construction laws for sustainability.

A student who has successfully completed this subject will also have the reflective, cognitive, creative, communication, technical and research skills to evaluate the law in relation to these issues.

Last updated: 29 March 2019