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City dweller aspirations for cities of the future: How do environmental and personal wellbeing feature?

Joffe, H; Smith, N; (2016) City dweller aspirations for cities of the future: How do environmental and personal wellbeing feature? Cities , 59 pp. 102-112. 10.1016/j.cities.2016.06.006. Green open access

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Abstract

This paper explores city dweller aspirations for cities of the future in the context of global commitments to radically reduce carbon emissions by 2050; cities contribute the vast majority of these emissions and a growing bulk of the world's population lives in cities. The particular challenge of creating a carbon reduced future in democratic countries is that the measures proposed must be acceptable to the electorate. Such acceptability is fostered if carbon reduced ways of living are also felt to be wellbeing maximising. Thus the objective of the paper is to explore what kinds of cities people aspire to live in, to ascertain whether these aspirations align with or undermine carbon reduced ways of living, as well as personal wellbeing. Using a novel free associative technique, city aspirations are found to cluster around seven themes, encompassing physical and social aspects. Physically, people aspire to a city with a range of services and facilities, green and blue spaces, efficient transport, beauty and good design. Socially, people aspire to a sense of community and a safe environment. An exploration of these themes reveals that only a minority of the participants' aspirations for cities relate to lowering carbon or environmental wellbeing. Far more consensual is emphasis on, and a particular vision of, aspirations that will bring personal wellbeing. Furthermore, city dweller aspirations align with evidence concerning factors that maximise personal wellbeing but, far less, with those that produce low carbon ways of living. In order to shape a lower carbon future that city dwellers accept the potential convergence between environmental and personal wellbeing will need to be capitalised on: primarily aversion to pollution and enjoyment of communal green space.

Type: Article
Title: City dweller aspirations for cities of the future: How do environmental and personal wellbeing feature?
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.cities.2016.06.006
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2016.06.006
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: City aspirations; Liveable cities; Low carbon agenda; Environmental wellbeing; Personal wellbeing
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1503680
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