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: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>