The Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) seeks a part-time Researcher over a three-month
period from February to May 2023 to conduct the following activities in Lisbon, Portugal. This post
will work closely with IHRB’s Programme Manager, Built Environment (Global) who will have oversight
for the research process, and IHRB Nordic’s Programme Manager, Built Environment (Europe) who
will have oversight for the visioning session, as well as with other project partners. We envisage that
30-45 days will be required for this work.
This research in Lisbon is part of a project comprising similar research cycles in four pairs of cities
globally over two years, and will be conducted in parallel with research in Melbourne, Australia. This
cycle follows the first one: conducted in Lagos, Nigeria and in Prague, Czechia
The project “Building for Today and for the Future” is developing a collaborative agenda for a just
transition of the built environment. It will identify pathways to reduce the climate footprint and
strengthen resilience of buildings and infrastructure, while also reducing social inequity and
respecting human rights. The project will also work to address and overcome the specific obstacles
that stand in the way of those pathways.
The three interconnected outcomes and activities are:
• Strengthening the evidence base: Deep-dive action research in eight cities globally, linking up
to their relevant national and regional contexts;
• Shifting mindsets: Visioning sessions that invite diverse local stakeholders to imagine what a
just and sustainable built environment looks like;
• Changing policy and practice: Strategic communications and policy advocacy to influence
government and industry practices.
The project will consider the full range of human rights but will have a particular focus on: meaningful
participation; spatial justice; the right to housing; and workers’ rights. An intersectional lens will be
applied throughout, considering the range of factors that affect people’s experience of the world
including gender, race, class, sexual orientation, physical ability and immigration status.
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The project is in partnership with ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability) with global thematic
input from Building and Woodworkers International (BWI) and the International Union of Tenants
(ITU), as well as other partners. It is funded by Laudes Foundation and Ove Arup Foundation.
1. Scope definition:
a. Identify and define Lisbon’s priority built environment decarbonisation/resilience
process(s) to be investigated (for example: improvements in energy efficiency and
construction practices; reductions of emissions from materials / circular building practices;
shifting to renewable energy sources for buildings; strengthened resilience of the built
environment to the impacts of climate change)
b. Identify key elements of context and framing that are sensitive to local narratives and
language, to aid the research and communication steps that follow
2. Research: Desk research; semi-structured interviews with 10-15 stakeholders (aiming for
representation of civil society, workers and tenants; government; business; finance; and
academia); and relevant site visits, to assess:
• Actors: Who is currently shaping the decisions about the selected
decarbonisation/resilience process(es) and how?
• National and urban policy landscape: How do regional, national and international
policies and financial initiatives for built environment decarbonisation and resilience
manifest on the territory?
• Impacts: How does the process already or potentially impact people (positively,
negatively), with an emphasis on the most vulnerable – and how are these impacts
distributed throughout the city? Priority themes to be considered: meaningful
participation; spatial justice and non-discrimination; the right to housing; and workers’
• Barriers and opportunities: What are the (political, economic, social) barriers and
opportunities for advancing just decarbonisation/resilience in the built environment in
Note: The researcher will be provided with key project documents, such as the Master Research Plan
for the overall project, a research toolbox including suggested research timeline, an initial stakeholder
mapping for the focus city, and suggested guiding questions for the interviews. The researcher is
expected to adapt these general guiding materials to the specific city-context, local narratives, and
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specific types of stakeholders, with support throughout from the Built Environment’s Global
3. Outreach: In parallel, introduce the Framework for Dignity in the Built Environment to the
stakeholders (the 10-15 interviewees). This Framework is a dynamic, internationally-applicable yet
locally adaptable tool for grounding built environment decision-making in international human rights
standards and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and for harnessing the specific
roles/responsibilities and leverage points between actors. Identify practical opportunities for applying
the Framework in the local context at policy and/or project level.
4. City Summary Report: Produce a four-page summary of the research findings, analysis and
recommendations, with an annex of relevant background materials, in close collaboration with IHRB’s
Programme Manager, Built Environment (Global). Note: the research outputs will be ideally further
elaborated into academic journal articles; while this is beyond the scope of this consultancy, the
research should be conducted with the appropriate scientific rigor and with this opportunity in mind.
5. Contribute to a global map of innovative/alternative economic models: During desktop and
fieldwork research, identify up to four examples of economic models/initiatives (in the city, country,
and/or within the wider region) that seek to address power imbalances and are conducive to a just
transition in the built environment: examples could include: equitable land-use measures or
community-ownership models; community-led planning processes; measures to curb overspeculation; green/social bonds. A model for identifying these models will be shared with the
6. Support a visioning workshop: Support the preparation for – and co-facilitate – a “visioning”
workshop that brings together diverse stakeholders, including those who have been interviewed for
the research, to identify pathways for a just transition in the city and to address barriers and
opportunities. Participate in the agenda development, support event planning, join and present
research findings at the workshop. A methodology for the visioning workshop will be shared with the
7. Process review: Participate in an online de-brief session at the end of the consultancy to review the
process and its outcomes, and to provide methodology recommendations for the next cities to be
investigated in the project.
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REQUIREMENTS, EXPERIENCE, AND QUALIFICATIONS
• Strong knowledge of the local urban context (social, political, economic, and built
environment), including the landscape of relevant civil society, business and government
stakeholders in Lisbon
• Demonstrated commitment to human and workers’ rights.
• Experience conducting similar research and analysis.
• Ability to communicate with stakeholders from multiple backgrounds/sectors.
• Excellent, clear writing and editing skills in English, as well as strong Portuguese
• Based in Lisbon
• Facilitation experience with different stakeholders (Desirable)
• Experience presenting findings in map formats (Desirable