A sustainable home? Reconceptualizing home in a low-impact society
Doktorsavhandling, 2016

This thesis addresses the environmental and socio-economic impact of modern ways of living, focusing on home-related concepts and practices for transitions to a less environmentally harmful and more socially just society. Exploring diverse conceptualizations of a sustainable home, the aim is to broaden discourses on less resource-intensive ways of living and residing. Employing a primarily qualitative and explorative research approach, the thesis presents three empirical studies on how sustainability in housing and concepts of home are perceived among different actors: 1) developers and architects involved in a new “green” urban development; 2) “ordinary” residents in a tenant-owned multi-family housing association; and 3) “home-front transitioners” engaging in low-impact practices. The findings highlight the complexity of approaching a sustainable housing development. On one hand, the empirical insights reveal structural lock-ins in mainstream market-led development, with a techno-centered view of sustainability, conventional understandings of residents’ preferences and household configurations, and lack of competence regarding social dimensions. On the other hand, there appears to be a gap between a reported interest among residents in living in less resource-intensive ways (including living smaller, simpler, or more collaboratively), and relevant alternatives within the current housing market. Attempting to find ways of going beyond these unilateral interpretations and lock-ins, the thesis suggests conceptualizing home as a node, framing understandings of home and everyday practices as a starting point for transitions to a low-impact society, rather than seeing the dwelling as an object upon or in which sustainable technologies and solutions can be placed. This is further linked to exploring agency in and of the home, acknowledging residents as active agents rather than “end-users” or consumers. In conclusion, the thesis emphasizes the need to problematize contemporary discourses on sustainability in housing. It makes a case for the need to rethink how we view home in relation to a radically reduced resource intensity, proposing a reconceptualization of home in transitions to a low-impact society.

social practices

transition

low-impact

home

housing

sustainability

Scaniasalen
Opponent: Professor Carole Després, Université Laval, Canada

Författare

Pernilla Hagbert

Chalmers, Arkitektur

Paradoxes and Possibilities for a ‘Green’ Housing Sector: A Swedish Case

Sustainability,; Vol. 5(2013)p. 2018-2035

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift

Sustainable homes, or simply energy-efficient buildings?

Journal of Housing and the Built Environment,; Vol. 31(2016)p. 1-17

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift

“It’s Just a Matter of Adjustment”: Residents’ Perceptions and the Potential for Low-impact Home Practices

Housing, Theory and Society,; Vol. 33(2016)p. 288-304

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift

Is there such a thing as a sustainable home? This PhD thesis problematizes contemporary discourses on sustainability in housing and makes a case for the need to rethink how we view home as part of transitions to a low-impact society. Three research studies are presented, exploring interpretations of sustainability and concepts of home expressed among: 1) developers and architects involved in a new “green” urban development project; 2) “ordinary” residents in a tenant-owned multi-family housing association; and 3) “home-front transitioners” engaging in low-impact ways of living. The results highlight the complexity of approaching a sustainable housing development. On one hand, the current market-led development tends to focus on technological solutions and quite conventional forms of housing. On the other hand, residents express an interest in living in less resource intensive and more diverse ways – including living smaller, simpler or sharing spaces and resources. To find ways of moving beyond the mismatch between what is built and visions for a more sustainable way of living, this thesis proposes that we view home as a node for everyday life and as a starting point for larger changes in how we live, rather than seeing the dwelling as an object upon or in which sustainable technologies and solutions can be applied. Furthermore, this shift in perspective means that we need to think of residents not only as “end-users” or consumers, but also as agents in creating change.

Ämneskategorier

Socialpsykologi

Arkitekturteknik

Samhällsbyggnadsteknik

Social och ekonomisk geografi

Arkitektur

Övrig annan samhällsvetenskap

Husbyggnad

Drivkrafter

Hållbar utveckling

Styrkeområden

Building Futures

ISBN

978-91-7597-423-1

Doktorsavhandlingar vid Chalmers tekniska högskola. Ny serie: 4104

Scaniasalen

Opponent: Professor Carole Després, Université Laval, Canada

Mer information

Skapat

2017-10-07