Sustainable Housing Development (10 Credits) URBAN5097

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

Housing development is vital for meeting housing needs and demands but it also impacts upon climate change and carries high risks for environmental, economic and social sustainability. This course examines what sustainability means in relation to housing development, and provides a critical examination of current policy and practice. It adopts a multi-scalar approach and considers the sustainability and resiliency of regions and cities, neighbouhroods, and dwellings. The course uses blended learning techniques, incorporating field visits to live development projects at the cutting edge of sustainable housing practice, student-led presentations and debates and guest workshop by practitoners working to deliver more sustainable homes. The course asks students to challenge their understanding of 'sustainability' as it relates to housing and to develop new perspectives on how to create a more sustainable built environment in the future.


This course runs in Semester 2, and if taken as the 10 credits version is delivered in 3 hourly blocks, once per week, over 5 consecutive weeks with a tutorial.

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements:


Excluded Courses

Sustainable Housing Development (URBAN5049)





The course will be assessed by a 2,500 words essay (100% of credits) which will enable them to answer one of three questions focused on the practical application of sustainable housing development

Course Aims

The aim of this course is to introduce students to the concept of sustainable housing development in the context of climate change through the lens of the environmental, economic and social sustainability, and explore the process by which it is delivered at different spatial scales. The course furthermore seeks to develop students' confidence in evaluating sustainable housing at the national, city and regional levels, the neighbourhood scale, as well as developing students' technical knowledge about low carbon dwellings and how to deliver more sustainable homes and neighbourhoods in practice.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Explain what sustainability means from an environmental, economic and socio-cultural perspective and critically analyse the role of sustainability in policy for housing development;

Describe the policy context for housing development (including: housing policy, urban policy and planning and urban design policy), and analyse the impact of land availability, urban containment and compact cities, greenfield/brownfield development and affordability on sustainable housing outcomes;

■ Explain the process of sustainable housing design and develop a critical awareness of current critical issues in housing design (including: accessibility, energy use, zero carbon development, modular and off-site construction).

■ Evaluate the contribution of sustainable housing development to the processes of neighbourhood and urban change and be able to give a functional account of the importance of sustainable neighbourhood design in meeting human and societal needs in the context of climate change;

■ Evaluate housing development policies and confidently critique contemporary housing development projects using verbal and visual presentation techniques.

■ Participate confidently in group problem solving exercises relating to sustainability and housing.

Produce a professional written report that contains clear and robust arguments about sustainable housing development outcomes drawing on academic and grey literature sources relating to sustainability, housing development and climate change

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.


Attendance is a requirement for students on DG Dip/MSc Housing Studies.