What are the future trends in sustainable design for retail centres?

What are the future trends in sustainable design for retail centres?
What are the future trends in sustainable design for retail centres?


Retail centres form the backbone of many communities. More than simply places to shop, they can enrich the communities they serve as destinations for socialising, culture and education.

There’s a growing focus in retail design on “lifestyle shopping centres”, says Frasers Property Australia general manager of sustainability Paolo Bevilacqua. 

“Sustainability was about the environmental aspects. Now there’s a shift back to the people,” he says.

“Buildings are for people so the impact of health-related initiatives such as improving air quality and access to day light, are being considered much more closely.”

Gardens and “green walls”– with vertical plantings – are increasingly being integrated into shopping centres’ designs. Facilities that encourage people to commute by bicycle, public transport and on foot are also gaining popularity.

“Now we’re starting to see urban agriculture within shopping centres as a way to connect people to nature,” Bevilacqua says. “These types of features have been shown to make people feel better in a space and stay there longer.”

The World Green Building Council found in its Health, Wellbeing & Productivity in Retail report, released in February, that beyond improving customers’ experiences, retailers can boost profits by providing greener, healthier stores.

The concept of sustainable development is not new but Stephen Choi, Vice-Chair of the Board for the Living Future Institute of Australia, says there’s still room for improvement.

“We have to do better than just continuing with more of the same; we have to try to create a built environment where every single act of design and construction made the world a better place,” Choi says.

In line with this aim, the International Living Future InstituteTM coordinates the Living Building Challenge, a design standard for sustainable buildings.

The LBC inspires the creation of buildings that have a positive impact on their environments and communities. Choi says unlike other standards, it uses nature as a benchmark rather than a bare minimum construction code. It is a philosophy and advocacy tool as well as a certification system.

It asks us to imagine a building designed and constructed to function as elegantly and efficiently as a flower: a building informed by its bioregion’s characteristics, that generates all of its own energy with renewable resources, captures and treats all of its water, is toxic free and beautiful.

To become a Living Building®, a new project must meet a stringent set of requirements, not only to be water and energy positive efficient and use sustainable materials, but also to promote health, happiness and equity, and to be beautiful places.

For more information, download our eBook here.

Retail Development Environment

Community Discussion

Be the first one to comment on this article
What would you like to say about this project?