Brenda Vale

Professorial Research Fellow
Wellington School of Architecture

Prof Brenda Vale is no longer accepting enquiries for new postgraduate candidates.


MA, Dip. Arch, PhD

Research interests

My current research interest include:

  • ecological footprinting
  • sustainable building design
  • zero energy housing design
  • history of prefabrication.

Current research projects

My current research is focussed on the new Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (FRST) project to deliver ecological footprinting and systems approaches to sustainable development of communities. The project will focus on the determination and subsequent understanding of the ecological footprints of existing New Zealand lifestyles and the communities that support those lifestyles. Using local data from two local authorities, a small semi-rural one in the South Island and a larger suburban one in the North Island, combined with national statistical data, the research will determine the balance between the roles of human behaviour and the physical environment in determining overall footprint, and hence overall environmental impact.

A second part of the research will be to study the idea of a “sufficiency economy”, as developed by the government of Thailand, and establish what a sufficiency economy might mean in the context of a New Zealand community and its footprint. As part of this, the research will use historical analysis to study New Zealand communities in the past, to see at what stage their footprint went past the fair share of resources that a sufficiency economy would represent. The aim will be to show what a community in sustainable balance with its environment would be like in both physical and social terms.

Research partnerships/collaborative work

I am currently working with the University of Auckland Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering in a project exploring the phase change materials and their application to buildings and Otago Polytechnic is part of the FRST project.

Selected publications


Vale, R., & Vale, B. (2009). Time to eat the dog: the real guide to sustainable living. (pp. 384). Thames and Hudson. London, United Kingdom.

Book chapters

Vale, B A., & Vale, R J D. (2010). Is the High-Density City the Only Option?. Designing High-Density Cities. Ins by Ng, E. (Eds). (pp. 21-26). London, Earthscan.

Journal articles

Vale, R J D., & Vale, B A. (2009). Footprinting Urban Form and Behaviour in New Zealand, Architectural Science Review, 52, 4. (pp. 254-260). 1758-9622.

Chansomsak, S., & Vale, B. (2008, March). 'The Buddhist approach to education: an alternative approach for sustainable education'. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, Vol 28, 1. (pp. 35-50). DOI: 10.1080/02188790701850063.

Vale, B., & Vale, R J D. (2008). Sustainability: an individual or collective endeavour?. International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development, 3, 3/4. (pp. 185-200).

Full list of publications