Facilitating low-carbon living? A comparison of intervention measures in different community-based initiatives

Schaefer, Martina, Hielscher, Sabine, Haas, Willi, Hausknost, Daniel, Leitner, Michaela, Kunze, Iris and Mandl, Sylvia (2018) Facilitating low-carbon living? A comparison of intervention measures in different community-based initiatives. Sustainability, 10 (4). p. 1047. ISSN 2071-1050

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Abstract

The challenge of facilitating a shift towards sustainable housing, food and mobility has been taken up by diverse community-based initiatives ranging from ‘top-down’ approaches in low-carbon municipalities to ‘bottom-up’ approaches in intentional communities. This paper compares intervention measures of these two types, focusing on their potential of re-configuring daily housing, food and mobility practices. Taking up critics on dominant intervention framings of diffusing low-carbon technical innovations and changing individual behaviour, we draw on social practice theory for the empirical analysis of four case studies. Framing interventions in relation to re-configuring daily practices, the paper reveals differences and weaknesses of current low-carbon measures of community-based initiatives in Germany and Austria. Low-carbon municipalities mainly focus on introducing technologies and offering additional infrastructure and information to promote low-carbon practices. They avoid interfering into residents’ daily lives and do not restrict carbon-intensive practices. In contrast, intentional communities base their interventions on the collective creation of shared visions, decisions and rules and thus provide social and material structures, which foster everyday low-carbon practices and discourage carbon-intensive ones. The paper discusses the relevance of organisational and governance structures for implementing different types of low-carbon measures and points to opportunities for broadening current policy strategies.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Depositing User: Sabine Hielscher
Date Deposited: 28 Mar 2018 10:52
Last Modified: 24 Apr 2018 06:06
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/74698

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