SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLES - AN EXPERIMENT IN LIVING WELL : Northern European examples of sustainable planning
This study examines the concept of sustainable lifestyles. It is concluded that the concept of sustainable lifestyles is derived from the bigger term sustainable development and that the concept sustainable lifestyles exists as an antipode to unsustainable lifestyles. Sustainable lifestyles are still a new concept within the academic field of urban planning and design and some confusion regarding the definition remains.
Three case studies were made investigating urban planning for sustainable lifestyles. The sites were Houthaven in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Royal Seaport in Stockholm Sweden and Western Harbour in Malmö, Sweden. Urban planning for sustainable lifestyles was explicitly carried out in the Royal Seaport, in the other two cases the concept of sustainability was approached more generally but nonetheless the methods used were quite similar in all three cases.
How people in the society of today are seen as responsible for e.g. buying ecological food, driving ecological vehicles and living a sustainable lifestyle, are analysed through the approaches of governmentality and biopower. There has been a shift from a centralised governing of sustainability implementations to a decentralised one where the individual responsibility stands in focus.
There are different views of what a sustainable behaviour and lifestyle could incorporate. According to the technocentric approach, technical solutions to environmental problems are sufficient, but according to the ecocentric approach, behavioural changes are needed in order to obtain sustainability. This has implications for the planning of sustainable lifestyles. In some cases technical solutions are favoured in front of behavioural ones and the other way around. The two tracks of understanding leads to two different pathways of sustainability and a need to recognize and comprehend the differences are crucial in planning for sustainable lifestyles.
Sustainable behaviour and habits relate to actions, which e.g. minimizes the use of natural resources or incorporates the switch from an unsustainable habit to a sustainable one. Sustainable behaviour is often referred to as pro-environmental behaviour and circles around consumption. There are several ways of replacing unsustainable habits with sustainable ones discussed in this study.
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