This project arose from the joint desire of WWF and Lafarge to contribute original research to move the construction sector towards a sustainable future. We examined 11 exemplary urban districts and neighborhoods around the world from inception to inhabited, using a systemic and holistic perspective. We extracted the success and failure factors, and uncovered new strategies that accelerate sustainable development both on a project and building sector level.

What Did we Find?

We found tangible conclusions for every of the 11 projects that help new settlements learn and improve. In the book, we extracted successful approaches that increase overall performance as well as sustainability performance.

We found that sustainability targets change the practice of urban development as well as the roles of contributors and beneficiaries. Implementing the lessons learned in these projects will significantly speed up new sustainable development projects around the world. In addition, we’ve found strategies to achieve improved performance in the construction industry globally.

Overview of the main observations

The Report

The results are available in a comprehensively illustrated book, readable online at ISSUU.

The report contains a wealth of examples, recommendations and lessons learned, on both a project level and a sector level, in two parts.

Part 1
is an overview of lessons and conclusions, covering among others:

  • How is sustainable urban development different?
  • A holistic design and 360 degree scope
  • Mind-shift: build to be resilient
  • Ambition setting
  • Business models
  • Work culture
  • Road map for Sector change
  • Performance monitoring

Part 2
  documents in detail how the studied projects successfully apply the presented strategies. These projects serve as inspiration and proof that the suggested strategies lead to significantly improved performance levels.
Each project shows a schematic timeline of which parties had what responsibilities. These overviews show a 'blueprint' of the project's planning process and at-a-glance oversight of the character of each project.

Key Moments


Many thanks go to all the people who contributed to this research via interviews, access to the sites, materials, support, and research, among which:

  • Laila Petrie (WWF)
  • Vincent Mages (Lafarge)
  • François Baillon (FIDIC)
  • Vallishree Murthy (British Glass)
  • Clare Broadbent (World Steel)
  • Phillippe Fonta (WBCSD)
  • Soraya Smaoun (UNEP)
  • Curt Garrigan (UNEP)
  • Jean-Paul Jeanrenaud (WWF International)
  • Jennifer Meunier (WWF International)
  • Carina Borgstrom Hansson (WWF Sweden)

Jan. 30, 2015

Client & Partners

Project team

  • Tom Bosschaert


  • Elias de Valk

    Industrial Ecologist
    Except Integrated Sustainability

  • Matthew Fraser

    Industrial Ecologist, Designer
    Except Integrated Sustainability

  • Michiel van der Vight

    Senior Associate
    Except Integrated Sustainability

  • Laila Petrie

    Project Lead

  • Vincent Mages

    Sponsor Partner

  • Rachael Visser

    Executive Assistant


Related Items