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Making Housing in Europe More Sustainable

Science and Policy Experts Propose New Research Agenda

European knowledge brokerage consortium CORPUS outlines research needs for moving toward sustainable housing in Europe // One third of average citizens’ total environmental impact is caused by housing // More than 100 experts from science and policy involved in the debate

Today European science and policy experts released “The CORPUS Research Agenda for Sustainable Housing in Europe”. Having a significant impact on the environment, health and social cohesion, housing is widely seen as a major issue in the politics of sustainable consumption and production (SCP).

More than 100 specialists from all over Europe have developed the research agenda in a unique joint effort. Within the agenda, they focus on the most urgent issues in sustainable housing. They allocate the identified hot research topics to four thematic strands that cover the economic and the social sides of sustainability as well as the environmental aspects of housing.

“Creating Attractive, Safe and Eco-friendly Neighbourhoods”
“Housing is one of the key issues in the attempt to make our current way of life more sustainable”, explains Gerd Scholl, scientist at the Berlin-based Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW). “Not only does housing account for approximately 40 % of our energy use and emissions, but it also concerns sustainability issues such as urban poverty, suitable dwellings for vulnerable groups, as well as access to health services and education. In brief, sustainable housing is about creating attractive, safe and eco-friendly neighbourhoods.”
Hot Topics: Social Innovation, Renovation of the existing building stock, and High-quality Data

According to the agenda, key areas of research in sustainable housing should, amongst other things, address social innovation like the collection and evaluation of emerging trends from marginal movements such as eco-villages. The experts also recommend fostering research in behavior change. As an example, they would like a better understanding of the impact of energy prices on citizens’ activities concerning energy efficiency investments. Among the hottest topics on the agenda is the renovation of existing building stock. In this context, the roles of owners and tenants, or possible funding mechanisms are research questions. The experts also stress the need for comprehensive data sets with high-quality data on existing building stock.

Pan-European Collaboration
The agenda has been developed as a result of collaboration by housing and consumption specialists from all over Europe. The European consortium “CORPUS – Enhancing the connectivity between research and policy-making in sustainable consumption”, which connects researchers and policy makers, in order to foster evidence-based policy-making in sustainable consumption, has hosted a series of three conventions. At workshops, the experts have discussed current housing trends and sustainability challenges, policy instruments and future visions for sustainable housing.

The consortium “CORPUS – Enhancing the connectivity between research and policy-making in sustainable consumption” is funded within the EU Seventh Framework programme. It aims to experiment with, and develop, new integrative modalities of knowledge brokerage on sustainable consumption policies. In addition to Sustainable Housing, the consortium has come up with a Research Agenda for Sustainable Food, and Sustainable Mobility. The website has been established as a platform for the exchange of knowledge and professional networking. The documentation of the housing workshop series is available at:

Dr. Gerd Scholl
Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW)
Potsdamer Str. 105, 10785 Berlin, Germany
Phone +49 (30) 884594-20
Further information on the CORPUS Food Group:
Download “The CORPUS Research Agenda for Sustainable Housing in Europe”:
The consortium comprises eleven partners from eight European countries. The participants of CORPUS are:
- Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW), DE
- Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, AT
- Copenhagen Business School (CBS), DK
- Copenhagen Resource Institute (CRI), DK
- Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Institute for European Studies (IES), BE
- Planète Publique, FR
- Regional Environmental Centre for Central and Eastern Europe (REC), HU
- Strategic Design Scenarios (SDS), BE
- National Institute for Consumer Research (SIFO), NO
- Vienna University of Economics and Business, Research Institute for Managing Sustainability (RIMAS), AT

- Finnish Ministry of the Environment, FI

Richard Harnisch | idw
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