This editorial article for the special issue of Sustainable Development ‘Sustainable architecture, design and housing’ introduces the main topics and reviews the following nine articles. The aim of the special issue is to discuss key concepts, methods, applications and lessons learned in sustainable architecture, design and housing. Sustainable architecture challenges new and ingenious architectural design at various levels. Examples are the following. (1) Minimizing the negative environmental impact of buildings by enhancing efficiency and moderating the use of materials, energy and development space. (2) Developing measures to relate form and adapt the design to the site, the region and the climate. (3) Establishing a harmonious, long lasting relationship between the inhabitants and their surroundings by addressing the essence of good form-giving (Abidin et al., 2008). In summary, sustainable architecture shall be well built, easy to use and beautiful. The selected articles highlight special aspects of sustainability in architecture, design and housing, either due to their novel theoretical contributions or in relation to tools, measurements and strategies. A main research objective on sustainable design is to promote understanding for the particular problems that architects and designers face and to discuss solutions to solve them. This can in turn also be described as the relevance of sustainable design research for the overarching sustainable development debate. Sustainable design is dynamic and comprises both normative, strategic, designerly and technical aspects (Cross, 2010). Three areas are thematically highlighted in this special issue.
- Overarching conception of sustainable architecture and design and their impact on a sustainable development.
- Methodologies and tools and their applications to sustainable design.
- Policy and strategy development to assess and implement sustainable design.
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