Robert Vale

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


MA, Dip Arch, PhD

Research interests

My current research interests include:

  • ecological foot-printing
  • sustainable building design
  • zero energy housing
  • sustainable transport.

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 the 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 involved in a collaborative research project with Landcare Research as a consultant to “Life Cycle Liabilities of Transport Infrastructure”.

Selected publications

Authored book

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

Chapter in book

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 contribution - research article

Gabe, J., Vale, R., & Vale, B. (2009). Trompe l'oeil: architects, consumers, and the need to rediscover technical function for ecologically sustainable housing. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 33. (pp. 604-610).

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.

Full list of publications