Building Low Carbon Lifestyles : A qualitative study of the built environment’s potential to encourage low carbon lifestyles

University essay from KTH/Hållbar utveckling, miljövetenskap och teknik

Abstract: With over half of the world’s population living in urban settlements and an ongoing urbanization, cities today offer a unique opportunity to tackle climate change. Emissions of greenhouse gases derive from all products and services used, and in Sweden the average inhabitant emit 7 tons of greenhouse gases in carbon dioxide equivalents every year from privately acquired products and services, calculated from a consumption perspective. Long-term climate goals, and international climate agreements sets a limit of 1-2 tons. Lifestyle changes are important to achieve sustainable development, but planning practices today generally do not try to influence citizens’ consumption, and is presumed cannot affect inhabitants’ consumption of food, clothes, electronics, furniture, etc.  This thesis investigates how planning and the built environment can practically encourage more sustainable consumption patterns, and which of these practices would be suitable to implement in the current sustainability project of Norra Kymlinge. The study concludes that sustainable consumption patterns could be encouraged in Norra Kymlinge through: collaborative living, sharing infrastructure, green leases, food production, personal measurement, and semi self-built apartments. For future research, more quantitative studies on the topic are suggested. 

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