Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Creating Sustainable Cities for 2040

13.08.2003


The year 2040 could see many people working from home several days a week staying in touch with colleagues through videophone and internet connections. When planning a holiday, people will be limited to a certain number of air miles per year, although additional air miles may be purchased from others at auctions. This will reflect the true environmental cost of air travel.



This is one possible vision of people who participated in research at the University of Surrey’s Psychology Department, which as part of the pan-european ToolSust project, aims to promote sustainable consumption in the European cities of tomorrow.

“Europe’s future economic development faces a fundamental challenge to simultaneously balance the demands of global economic competition with progress in ‘green’ innovation and technology. Although technological advances offer promising solutions to environmental problems, the potential of these solutions will only be realised when consumers adopt them and use new products and technologies in sustainable ways,” Leanne Tite, Research Fellow at the University of Surrey explained.


Most of the residents surveyed for the study considered environmental problems to be serious and thought recycling and household energy conservation to be the most important. Local authorities saw traffic and transport as the most pressing environmental problem, although reducing car use only featured third on residents’ list of most important economic activities, according to research carried out by Dr Birgitta Gatersleben, also of the Psychology Department.

Only a quarter of the consumers interviewed linked shopping choices to environmental problems. Although many shoppers would like to buy more organic food, seasonal variations, poor availability and higher prices deterred them. The various eco household products and appliances have also not tempted many consumers to part with their money and are unlikely to do so in the near future. Key barriers to purchase of these products include high prices, lack of availability, lack of information and labelling, uncertainties about the quality of products, difficulty in locating them in supermarkets, lack of range and inconvenient quantity of goods sold in packages.

Changes to protect the environment are most widely adopted when they fit easily into the everyday lifestyles of consumers. Different lifestyle changes require different degrees of effort, for example substituting conventional products with eco-products when shopping is easier than changes requiring revised daily routines such as using public transport.

So what would a sustainable European city be like? According to Leanne, there are many ways to achieve this, but some of the ideas generated at a series of workshops included:

* Government intervention and market forces to create a more environmentally sustainable economy and society.

* Taxation shifts from labour to non-renewable materials.

* Resources polluting enterprises could be heavily taxed.

* Specific taxes could apply to non-nutritious fast food sales and on air travel to reflect their true environmental costs.

* Money raised from green taxes could be ploughed back into research and development of green technologies such as hydrogen powered zero-emission cars, improvements and extensions to rail and water networks which could be used for freight transportation.

“We envisage that the growth of local economies could be encouraged through legislation stating that all shops must stock at least 50% locally produced goods. This may encourage manufacturers to downsize production scales and relocate production facilities, bringing local jobs to more communities.

“Waste could be minimised through re-use and renovation of goods, consumption values may need to change, with people buying fewer new products and more money being spent on services.”

Liezel Tipper | alfa
Further information:
http://www.surrey.ac.uk

More articles from Interdisciplinary Research:

nachricht Bergamotene - alluring and lethal for Manduca sexta
21.04.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

nachricht How to color a lizard: From biology to mathematics
13.04.2017 | Université de Genève

All articles from Interdisciplinary Research >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>