Mobilizing the Courage to Implement Sustainable Design Solutions: Danish Experiences

Susanne Balslev Nielsen, Birgitte Hoffmann, Maj-Britt Quitzau, Morten Elle

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


    Within the built environment, stakeholders tend to implement well-known design solutions, even though sustainable alternatives exist. The key question posed in this paper is: what characterizes successful processes of implementing sustainable design solutions? In an attempt to answer the question, the work focuses on examples of successful implementation in an attempt to understand the competences required. Danish frontrunner projects are described and analysed: one case concerns the implementation of lowenergy houses and another describes innovative planning processes in the water sector in order to ensure consideration of sustainable design criteria in the early phases of building projects. In the first case, the public authority succeeds in supporting design managers and other stakeholders to implement sustainable design solutions; in the second case, establishment of new multidisciplinary networks and creative work forms constitutes the outset for change. The work is inspired by the actor-network theory, emphasizing the momentum of prevailing practices, and the need to (re)develop networks to support implementation of sustainable design solutions. Conclusions point to the importance of design managers and others to develop socio-technical networks and storylines to integrate sustainability in the design and building processes. Implementation of sustainable design solutions takes more than courage; it requires key competences in catalysing network changes.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalArchitectural Engineering and Design Management
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)53-61
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


    • implementation
    • competences
    • socio-technical networks
    • Sustainable design solutions


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