Preparedness for a low-carbon future – knowledge level of built environment students

Unuigbe, Maria orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-7199-4303 and Zulu, Sambo (2023) Preparedness for a low-carbon future – knowledge level of built environment students. International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment . ISSN 1759-5908

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Purpose – The UK Government has committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, being the first
major nation to do so. While laudable, it raises the question, “are future built environment professionals
(BEPs) equipped for this?” Although studies related to students’ perspectives exist, they broadly focus on
sustainability-related pedagogical aspects, with limited studies conducted in the built environment (BE). This
study makes the case that it is timely to investigate this from an emerging perspective using the term “low-carbon
future” (LCF), given that it is germane to achieving net-zero emissions and is at the forefront of
academic and practice discourse. Therefore, this paper aims to investigate the knowledge level of UK BE
students’ in higher education institutions (HEIs) specific to the term LCF.

Design/methodology/approach – This is a systematic scoping study review of published papers
related to sustainability in BE curricula in the UK HEI context.
Findings – The findings reveal that LCF remains at a nascent stage, with no study specifically addressing
it. It indicates a knowledge gap that could impact the grounding students require to address current and
future sustainability challenges.

Research limitations/implications – The review focused on a specific term, which, while relevant, is
very niche. A review of other emerging terms, considering LCF as a theme, and/or empirical data from diverse
stakeholders in UK HEIs could enrich the results.

Practical implications – This study provides significant insight into the status of sustainability
inclusion in the BE curriculum. It would serve as a reference for stakeholders involved in equipping future
BEPs with the requisite knowledge and skills to deal with sustainability challenges that will be consequential
beyond the UK context. It would also inform future research.

Social implications – Sustainability-informed and equipped BEPs will be influential in shaping their
immediate surroundings and how people engage with them, which will contribute to developing a more
equitable and sustainable society.

Originality/value – Beyond contributing to the discourse on sustainability literacy in UK HEI from an
emerging concept perspective, this study would be useful as possibly the first of its kind. Therefore, it fills the
theoretical gap and proffers recommendations that would be beneficial for curriculum development.

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