Social value in the built environment

Embedding social value into our built environment to create spaces that enhance wellbeing and strengthen our communities is essential, now more than ever. But how do we successfully measure its impact? Download the discussion paper

Our discussion paper, Social Value in the Built Environment — the result of a partnership between Hassell and the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) — consolidates the newest thinking in Australia and internationally on the shifting definition of social value and how best to measure its impact.

Social value in the built environment refers to the positive impact on people’s quality of life when buildings, places, and infrastructure support their environmental, economic, and social wellbeing.

While the creation of social value through built environment projects is not new, significant attention is now being directed to measuring the value created. By taking a systematic approach to the design, creation, and measurement of social value, we can ensure projects are delivering more benefits than they might have done otherwise.

It is our hope that this discussion paper will help governments and industry understand the current state of the measurement of social value in the built environment sector and spark a curiosity for what else is possible.”

— Davina Rooney, Chief Executive Officer, Green Building Council of Australia

Extensive work has been undertaken on the development, delivery, and measurement of social value within Australia and internationally. In Australia there has been an increase in the use of non-economic measures to provide a more complete picture of wellbeing as well as an increased focus on the importance of nature and biodiversity restoration.

In addition, the GBCA has done significant work to recognise social benefits and actions via its Green Star ratings system. As industry progresses and adopts the new rating tools, GBCA sees value in having industry measure and report social value in a standardised manner. Doing so will enable industry to advocate for the introduction of policies that enable social value – in line with multiple government policy goals.

Developing a shared understanding of social value is essential for our industry to ensure we’re accountable for the long-term impacts of our work, can communicate the value of great design and apply what we learn to design better buildings, places, and cities.”

— Liz Westgarth, Managing Director, Hassell


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