Can water security be achieved in the urban environment through the implementation of the Neo Institutional theory government regulation and legislation?

Joseph Verrills, Sukanlaya Sawang, Jay Rajapakse

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceedingpeer-review


The research seeks to address the current global water crisis and the built environments effect on the increasing demand for sustainability and water security. The fundamental question in determining the correct approach for water security in the built environment is whether government regulation and legislation could provide the framework for sustainable development and the conscious shift providing that change is the only perceivable option, there is no alternative. This article will attempt to analyse the value of the neo institutional theory as a method for directing individuals and companies to conform to water saving techniques. As is highlighted throughout the article, it will be investigated whether an incentive verse punishment approach to government legislations and regulations would provide the framework required to ensure water security within the built environment. Individuals and companies make certain choices or perform certain actions not because they fear punishment or attempt to conform; neither do they do so because an action is appropriate or feels some sort of social obligation. Instead, the cognitive element of neo institutionalism suggests that individuals make certain choices because they can conceive no alternative. The research seeks to identify whether sustainability and water security can become integrated into all aspects of design and architecture through the perception that 'there is no alternative.' This report seeks to address the omission of water security in the built environment by reporting on a series of investigations, interviews, literature reviews, exemplars and statistics relating to the built environment and the potential for increased water security. The results and analysis support the conclusions that through the support of government and local council, sustainability in the built environment could be achieved and become common practice for developments. Highlighted is the approach required for water management systems integration into the built environment and how these can be developed and maintained effectively between cities, states, countries and cultures.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication Proceedings of Achieving Sustainable Water Management in the Built Environment through Legislation and Regulation : Master of Architecture Research Conference
Place of PublicationBrisbane
PublisherQueensland University of Technology
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Water Security, Urban Environment, Neo-Institutional Theory, Governement Regulation, Legislation


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