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Article

Facilitating Low-Carbon Living? A Comparison of Intervention Measures in Different Community-Based Initiatives

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Center for Technology and Society, Technische Universität Berlin, Sekr. HBS 1, Hardenbergstraße 16-18, D-10623 Berlin, Germany
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Institute for Social Ecology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Schottenfeldgasse 29, A-1070 Vienna, Austria
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Institute for Social Change and Sustainability (IGN), Vienna University of Economics and Business, Welthandelsplatz 2, A-1020 Vienna, Austria
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Austrian Institute for Sustainable Development, Lindengasse 2/12, A-1070 Wien, Austria
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Center for Global Change and Sustainability (gW/N), University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Borkowskigasse 4/4, A-1190 Vienna, Austria
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1047; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041047
Received: 25 December 2017 / Revised: 25 March 2018 / Accepted: 28 March 2018 / Published: 2 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
The challenge of facilitating a shift towards sustainable housing, food and mobility has been taken up by diverse community-based initiatives ranging from “top-down” approaches in low-carbon municipalities to “bottom-up” approaches in intentional communities. This paper compares intervention measures in four case study areas belonging to these two types, focusing on their potential of re-configuring daily housing, food, and mobility practices. Taking up critics on dominant intervention framings of diffusing low-carbon technical innovations and changing individual behavior, we draw on social practice theory for the empirical analysis of four case studies. Framing interventions in relation to re-configuring daily practices, the paper reveals differences and weaknesses of current low-carbon measures of community-based initiatives in Germany and Austria. Low-carbon municipalities mainly focus on introducing technologies and offering additional infrastructure and information to promote low-carbon practices. They avoid interfering into residents’ daily lives and do not restrict carbon-intensive practices. In contrast, intentional communities base their interventions on the collective creation of shared visions, decisions, and rules and thus provide social and material structures, which foster everyday low-carbon practices and discourage carbon-intensive ones. The paper discusses the relevance of organizational and governance structures for implementing different types of low-carbon measures and points to opportunities for broadening current policy strategies. View Full-Text
Keywords: low-carbon municipalities; intentional communities; ecovillages; social practice theories; interventions in practices; low-carbon measures low-carbon municipalities; intentional communities; ecovillages; social practice theories; interventions in practices; low-carbon measures
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MDPI and ACS Style

Schäfer, M.; Hielscher, S.; Haas, W.; Hausknost, D.; Leitner, M.; Kunze, I.; Mandl, S. Facilitating Low-Carbon Living? A Comparison of Intervention Measures in Different Community-Based Initiatives. Sustainability 2018, 10, 1047. https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041047

AMA Style

Schäfer M, Hielscher S, Haas W, Hausknost D, Leitner M, Kunze I, Mandl S. Facilitating Low-Carbon Living? A Comparison of Intervention Measures in Different Community-Based Initiatives. Sustainability. 2018; 10(4):1047. https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041047

Chicago/Turabian Style

Schäfer, Martina, Sabine Hielscher, Willi Haas, Daniel Hausknost, Michaela Leitner, Iris Kunze, and Sylvia Mandl. 2018. "Facilitating Low-Carbon Living? A Comparison of Intervention Measures in Different Community-Based Initiatives" Sustainability 10, no. 4: 1047. https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041047

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