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 Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs
07.11.2017 | Technische Universität München

nachricht NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies
20.10.2017 | Naval Research Laboratory

All articles from Interdisciplinary Research >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

UCLA engineers use deep learning to reconstruct holograms and improve optical microscopy

22.11.2017 | Medical Engineering

Watching atoms move in hybrid perovskite crystals reveals clues to improving solar cells

22.11.2017 | Materials Sciences

New study points the way to therapy for rare cancer that targets the young

22.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>