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Advancing sustainable consumption and production in cities: a transdisciplinary research and stakeholder engagement framework to address consumption-based emissions and impacts

10 Mar 2019

Source: Journal of Cleaner Production

Authors: Patrick Schröder, Philip Vergragt, Halina Szejnwal Brown, Leonie Dendler, Neal Gorenflo, Kira Matus, Jaco Quist, Christoph D.D.Rupprechth, Arnold Tukker, Ronald Wennersten


Urban consumption patterns and lifestyles are increasingly important for the sustainability of cities today and in the future. However, considerations of consumption issues, social norms, behaviour and lifestyles within current urban sustainability research and practices are limited. Much untapped potential for the reduction of the environmental footprint of cities exists in combined production and consumption-based approaches, particularly in the “demand” areas of mobility, housing, food, and waste. To change unsustainable consumption and production patterns in cities, research needs to be transdisciplinary, actively involving stakeholders through co-creation processes. This paper builds on the premise that the perspectives and approaches of Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) for cities require the involvement of non-traditional stakeholders that are generally not included in urban planning processes such as social change initiatives, citizen groups and informal sector representatives. We present a transdisciplinary research and engagement framework to understand and advance the transition to sustainable SCP patterns and lifestyles in cities. This transdisciplinary approach to SCP transformations in cities combines co-creation, participatory visioning processes and back-casting methods, participatory urban governance and institutional change, and higher-order learning from small-scale community initiatives. We illustrate our conceptual framework through three empirical case studies in cities which take an integrative approach to lowering ecological footprints and carbon emissions.