Catalysing Change for Sustainability in Education: The Relationship Between Sustainable Building Design and Institutional Change

Strachan, Glenn Edward (2015) Catalysing Change for Sustainability in Education: The Relationship Between Sustainable Building Design and Institutional Change. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

Glenn Strachan_PhD Thesis_Catalysing Change for Sustainability in Education_Final July 2015_Redacted signature only.pdf
Available under License All Rights Reserved.

Download (2MB) | Preview


This PhD thesis is concerned with the influence of sustainable design in further education (FE) college buildings on whole institutional change for sustainability. The research focuses on the first decade of the 21st century in England and Wales when increasing engagement with the sustainability agenda in the FE sector included linking sustainability criteria to the funds for new building projects. The original contribution of the thesis is twofold. Firstly, it reveals the extent to which these new buildings contributed to institutional change for sustainability in the FE sector and identifies ways to maximise future sustainable building projects as a resource for institutional change. Although there was substantial investment in new buildings and a growing interest in sustainability during the period of the study, no evidence exists of research into the links between sustainable design and institutional change in the FE sector. Secondly, the thesis develops an original research approach, contributing to the multi-disciplinary field of research into sustainability and sustainable development. The thesis adopts a biographical approach from social science research and adapts it to produce narrative accounts of the development of two buildings with recognised sustainability qualities, one in England and one in Wales. These biographies are then analysed for evidence of institutional change for sustainability using the systems perspective that underpins the view of sustainability presented in the thesis. The thesis establishes two frameworks, one for recognising sustainable design within FE college buildings and one for identifying change for sustainability in FE institutions. The biographies of the buildings were developed using data collected by biographical research methods and the focus of the analyses is on the relationships that existed around each building’s development and its physical presence on campus. The thesis reveals that even colleges with a reputation for sustainability have not fully exploited the introduction of a sustainably designed building onto a campus as a catalyst for institutional change. The outcomes from the research offer key points for maximising the influence of future building projects in terms of achieving institutional change for sustainability and identify areas for further research into the influence of sustainable design on institutions in the FE and other education sectors. The development of the research approach in this thesis presents an alternative for researching sustainability in education and other fields.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Uncontrolled Keywords: Further Education Colleges, England and Wales; Sustainable architecture;
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human geography. Human ecology. Anthropogeography
L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC5201 Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education
N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > Countryside and Community Research Institute
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2016 14:30
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2021 21:34

University Staff: Request a correction | Repository Editors: Update this record

University Of Gloucestershire

Bookmark and Share

Find Us On Social Media:

Social Media Icons Facebook Twitter Google+ YouTube Pinterest Linkedin

Other University Web Sites

University of Gloucestershire, The Park, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 2RH. Telephone +44 (0)844 8010001.