Chrisna du Plessis is Head of the Department of Architecture at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.
Her research focuses on sustainable human settlement and the application of sustainability science in the built environment; and is currently concentrating on urban sustainability science at both theoretical and technical levels.
She is also Visiting Professor at Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden, and teaches a module on sustainability blueprints in a National University of Singapore MSc program. She is the International Council for Research & Innovation in Building & Construction (CIB) Theme Coordinator for Sustainable Construction.
She previously taught sustainable construction, mechanical services and research methodology at the Department of Construction Economics, University of Pretoria (2011-15). She was Principal Researcher at the Council for Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) Built Environment in Pretoria, and completed a sabbatical, writing a book about approaches to sustainability from within an ecological worldview and setting up the African Centre for Sustainable Built Environment.
Chrisna du Plessis is known internationally for her work on the evaluation of policy and research strategy for sustainable building and construction within developing countries. Her main expertise is the development of trans-disciplinary research and development programs that follow a complex systems approach to the development of human settlements as sustainable social-ecological systems.
She studied architecture at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, obtained a PhD in Urban Sustainability from the University of Salford, United Kingdom, and was awarded an honorary doctorate in technology from Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden.
Chrisna du Plessis has been working in the field of sustainable human settlement since 1996. She represented South Africa in the Earth Charter drafting and consultation process and provided input into several national and international policy and strategy initiatives on sustainable settlements. She was lead author of the United Nations Environment Program’s (UNEP) Agenda 21 for Sustainable Construction in Developing Countries.
Chrisna du Plessis moderated the workshop “Stimulate stakeholders – With incentives to implementation” at the 3rd International LafargeHolcim Forum 2010 in Mexico City. She was a member of the LafargeHolcim Awards jury for Middle East Africa in 2011 and 2017.