Built environment

More people in the world live in towns and cities than rural areas. This brings environmental issues into urban areas requiring integrated and innovative solutions to water supply, sewerage, waste and energy, protecting green space, redeveloping land and ensuring resilient infrastructure and buildings. The emergence of global mega cities with populations of more than 10 million people will only amplify these issues.

Sustainable communities should be inclusive and safe, environmentally sensitive, well designed and built, well connected and fair for everyone. These principles require good governance and planning to ensure they are effectively delivered.

CIWEM’s work in this area includes planning, resilience, public health, air quality, transport, urban drainage, energy efficiency, green infrastructure, contaminated land and wider sustainable development issues.


Special Interest Groups, Networks and Technical Panels working on the built environment are:

Urban Drainage Group Contaminated Land Network
Air Panel Rivers and Coastal Group



Read our in-depth reports:

  A Place for SuDS?

Assessing the effectiveness of delivering multifunctional sustainable drainage

motorway traffic web Clearing the Air, priorities for reducing air pollution in the UK bicycles2 web The case for action by the Active Transport for healthy living coalition
Green infrastructure Multi-functional Green Infrastructure many green bottles - Copy Less is More, waste prevention and resource optimisation across a life cycle


Planning advice for integrated water management

Planning Advice Note

A guidance document for integrating water management at the strategic scale of planning and design to achieve sustainable development by the Natural Capital Leaders Platform

Supplementary case studies


Policy Position Statements are available on the following related subjects:

Aviation Microplastic pollution
Active transport Contaminated land
Deculverting of water courses Brownfield Development
Lead in drinking water Nitrogen dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere
Population and consumption Arts and the Environment
Faiths and the environment


Consultation responses

Department for Transport Cycling and walking investment strategy

for other responses please see our consultation page