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How do Europeans want to live in 2040 ? Citizen visions and their consequences for European land use

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    Rights statement: The Author(s) 2017. This article is published with open access at Springerlink.com

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https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10113-016-1091-3
Original languageEnglish
JournalRegional Environmental Change
Early online date12 Jan 2017
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Jan 2017

Abstract

The aspirations, motivations and choices of individual European citizens are a major driver of the future of global, European and local land use. However, until now no land use study has explicitly attempted to find out how the general public wants to live in the future. This paper forms a first attempt to survey European citizens to understand their desired future lives in relation to consequences for European land use. We used a crowdsourcing experiment to elicit visions from young Europeans about their lives in 2040. Participants completed a graphic novel around carefully selected questions, allowing them to create a story of their imagined future lives in pictures. The methodology worked well, and the sample seemed reasonably representative albeit skewed towards an educated population. In total, 1131 responses from 29 countries were received. Results show a strong desire for change, and for more sustainable lifestyles. There is desire for local and ecologically friendly food production, to eat less meat, to have access to green infrastructure and the ability to cycle to work. However, international travel remains popular, and the desire for extensive food production and owning detached houses with gardens will likely result in complex land use trade-offs. Future work could focus more specifically on quantifying these trade-offs, and inform respondents about the consequences of their lifestyle choices. This was a first attempt to use crowdsourcing to understand citizen visions for their lives in the future, and our lessons learend will help future studies improve representativeness and increase responses.

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