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Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 275; doi:10.3390/su8030275

Are People Responsive to a More Sustainable, Decentralized, and User-Driven Management of Urban Metabolism?

1
GSSI Social Sciences, Gran Sasso Science Institute, Viale Francesco Crispi, 7, L’Aquila 67100, Italy
2
Department of Building, School of Design and Environment, National University of Singapore, 4 Architecture Drive, Singapore
3
Environmental Engineering Research Center, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá 111711, Colombia
4
Department of City and Regional Planning, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia
5
Department of Environmental Science, Rhodes University, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 27 October 2015 / Revised: 7 March 2016 / Accepted: 10 March 2016 / Published: 16 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Towards True Smart and Green Cities?)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [213 KB, uploaded 16 March 2016]

Abstract

Smart, green, and resilient city paradigms have been mainly promoted through top-down and technocratic approaches. However, based on the notion to return to “the right to the city”, emerging community-driven initiatives are providing self-managed infrastructures contributing to urban sustainability transitions. This paper explores the relevance of the behavioral aspects of people-centered approaches in dealing with two different facets of urban metabolism: physical infrastructure (involvement with the management of decentralized infrastructures) and consumption patterns (involvement in proactive reduction of resources used). In the first case we assessed community perceptions about the roles, benefits, and willingness to proactively engage in the management of decentralized green infrastructures in Bogotá City, Colombia. For the second facet, we measured the effectiveness of change agents in re-shaping energy consumption decisions within urban social networks in South Africa and Saudi Arabia. This paper’s results show that pre-determined and standardized strategies do not guarantee positive, nor homogeneous, results in terms of meeting sustainability targets, or promoting community involvement. Hence, a better integration of people-centered and top-down approaches is needed through context-dependent policies, for enhancing both users’ appreciation of and commitment to urban metabolism participative management. View Full-Text
Keywords: people-centered approach; behavioral change; sustainability transition; Bogotá; South Africa; Saudi Arabia; energy saving; change actor; green infrastructure people-centered approach; behavioral change; sustainability transition; Bogotá; South Africa; Saudi Arabia; energy saving; change actor; green infrastructure
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Chelleri, L.; Kua, H.W.; Rodríguez Sánchez, J.P.; Nahiduzzaman, K.M.; Thondhlana, G. Are People Responsive to a More Sustainable, Decentralized, and User-Driven Management of Urban Metabolism? Sustainability 2016, 8, 275.

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