Greening the City: How to Get Rid of Garden Pavement! The ‘Steenbreek’ Program as a Dutch Example
1. Introduction: Reduction of Green Surface in Cities
1.1. Pavement in Cities
1.2. The Role of Gardens in Cities for Wellbeing
1.3. Steenbreek and Steenbreek Alike Programs
2. Materials and Methods
3. Theory on Behavioral Change
3.1. Behavioral Change
3.2. The Behavioural Change Model
3.3. Factors That Can Be Influenced by External Programs
3.3.1. Predisposing Factors
Biological and Psychological Factors
- Household: The most direct influence comes from members of the household. Consent must be reached within this group before a change in the appearance of the garden can take place (see Figure 1). All members of a household have needs and wishes. Children want to play (needs), and can have wishes influenced by what they see and hear at school (green school yards).
- Neighbours and other actors: There are two ways that the norms of neighbours can influence people: 1. Perceptions of what others are doing (descriptive norms) 2. What they think others expect them to do (injuctive norms) . Descriptive norms for greening the city are: seeing others greening (or paving) their garden, which imposes a social norm for doing the same, thus suggesting a tipping point in greening or paving. Injunctive norms can inhibit or promote adaptation, depending on whether people believe that others approve or disapprove of this adaptation. However, Bouman and Steg  stated that individuals’ personal values are difficult to change and that individuals’ perceptions of others’ values might be more malleable. This is because perceptions of group values are based on limited and biased information, so the perceived group values often deviate from the real group values, also in the area of willingness to change. This suggests campaigning with information about the number of people that want to change (see also nudging). Van Valkengoed en Steg  stated that public participation may change perceived descriptive and injunctive norms related to adaptation. The work of a group of citizens can establish a descriptive norm that suggests to the general public that others are willing to engage in adaptation behaviour. Even people who are not actively participating themselves, but hear that different community members are involved in adaptation planning can be influenced.
- Municipalities: In addition to legislation, municipalities can influence the behaviour of inhabitants in two ways: by showing a good example and by cooperation. According to Van Valkengoed and Steg  there are six reasons why cooperation between municipalities and inhabitants can influence their behaviour (related to sustainability): 1. A two-way dialogue/conversation can help to determine each other’s responsibilities; 2. Jointly developed success-measurements for outcomes can increase the perception of inhabitants in relation to the effectiveness of the work carried out (to develop adaptation measures); 3. It can also raise perceived autonomy and empowerment of citizens, which can increase their personal motivation for undertaking further, individual adaptive measures; 4. It can increase trust in government and the perceived fairness of adaptation planning. Higher trust in government has been found to be positively, albeit weakly, associated with more engagement in private adaptation behaviour; 5. If citizens are actively involved in adaptation planning, changing behaviour may be perceived as part of a ‘citizens’ duty’ or a ‘community value’, which may strengthen people’s injunctive norm that adaptation is desirable and approved by members of the community; 6. It increases the effectiveness of communication strategies because the collaborating inhabitants become a source of (municipality) information. Through co-operation with local NGO’s municipalities can be more effective, because inhabitants will more easily accept a message from locals.
- Influencers: Just showing a vision directed at greening cities and showing moral sentiments about this, without even making regulations, is an incentive for (many) people to change behaviour. Zawadzki et al.  showed this for climate change, where the moral sentiments of political leaders predicted respondents’ willingness to save energy to reduce climate change and their support for the Paris Climate Agreement. In other words, politicians, and influential people in general, should provide a role model themselves and be explicit about the role that inhabitants can play in greening the gardens.
3.3.2. Information Factors
3.3.3. Ability Factors
3.3.4. Supporting/Obstructing Factors
Life Changing Events
3.4. Behavioural Change Factors That Cannot Be Influenced Directly by Programs
3.4.1. Awareness Factors
Cues to Action
3.4.2. Motivation Factors
3.4.3. Intention State
3.4.4. Behavioural State
4. Results: Assessment of Steenbreek Initiatives in Terms of Behavioural Change
4.1. Influence of Steenbreek on Predisposing Factors
4.1.1. Biological and Psychological Factors
4.1.2. Physical-Environmental Factors
4.1.3. Social-Cultural Factors
4.2. The Use of Information Factors by Steenbreek
4.3. The Support for Ability Factors by Steenbreek
4.3.1. Implementation Plans
4.3.2. Performance Skills
4.4. Supporting/Obstructing Factors Removed by Steenbreek
4.4.2. Life Changing Events
4.5. Learning from Additional Factors
4.6. Relevant Factors Related to Behavioral Change
4.6.1. Physical-Environmental Factors
4.6.2. Social-Cultural Factors
4.7. Applying the Garden Greening Behaviour Model to the Example Given Earlier
5. Discussion and Recommendations
5.1. Matching Theory with Practice
5.2. Actors and Measurements
- Greening private gardens should be combined with greening the public space, to have a maximum effect on biodiversity , water retention, liveability, etc. Besides, a green public space can inspire people to green their garden too (physical-environmental factors). It shows that other actors like the municipality take their responsibility for greening seriously, which is also an important factor in behavioural change (social cultural factors).
- All parties around the inhabitants should send the same message of greening the garden, and should show that they work together . These parties include a municipality, water board, housing cooperation, but also neighbourhood organizations, garden centres and garden television programs.
- Combining greening and social measures can have a positive impact. When the social measures lead to having a grip on ones’ own life (removing a barrier), it means that for some people more room for other issues like the garden enter their perspective. In particular when social projects lead to empowerment, this can also lead to larger ability factors to green the garden.
- Besides raising awareness and softly influencing environmental behaviour, legal and financial measurements are also being deployed. In The Netherlands legal measures are not yet used, except by some housing corporations that demand that tenants make their gardens green again when leaving the house. One neighbourhood in Amsterdam  is very vulnerable for heat and flooding, so the municipality does not allow new pavement. However, there will be no direct enforcement, according to Beumer . This can still be effective for a certain group of people who like to follow rules (‘hierarchists’). Examples from abroad (Germany, Belgium) give indications that a combination of financial, legal and exemption measures would be very helpful.
5.3. Freedom Dilemma
5.4.1. For Steenbreek
5.4.2. For Municipalities
5.4.3. For Research
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Conflicts of Interest
Appendix A. 2019 Situation in Schiemond, Rotterdam
Appendix B. Overview Correlation Values
Appendix C. Survey Results
|1. Which garden do you like best?||2. Which garden does your garden most resemble?|
|1 paved garden||7 (1.8%)||37 (9.3%)|
|2 well maintained garden||118 (30%)||126 (31.8%)|
|3 ecological garden||224 (56.9%)||116 (29.3%)|
|4 neglected garden||45 (11.4%)||61 (15.4%)|
|5 do not have a garden||56 (14.14%)|
|1. Paved Garden||2. Well Maintained Garden||3. Ecological Garden||4. Neglected Garden|
|3. When would you be willing to make your garden more ecological?|
|My garden has already an ecological lay-out||53|
|I am not willing to do so||53|
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|Predisposing: Biological and psychological||-||+/-||Biological and psychological effects of a green garden are underexposed|
|Predisposing: Physical and environmental||+||+||Many projects aiming to green the public space surrounding gardens|
|Predisposing: Social cultural||influencers||-||+/-||Influencers are used on national level|
|Neighbours and other actors||+||+||Much emphasis on ‘together’|
|households||+/-||+/-||Difficult to reach, probably via children/school projects|
|Information||Two-way process||+/-||+/-||Awareness is available, implementation of two-way process in some initiatives|
|Using other sources||+||+||In implementation and spreading the message|
|Message||+/-||+/-||Clear message, could be more tailored to the private social ecological situation|
|Channel||+||+||Many types of channels are used|
|Ability factors||Implementation plan||+/-||+/-||Good examples but not used everywhere|
|Performance skills||+||+||Many ways to improve performance skills|
|Supporting/obstructing||Barriers||+/-||+/-||Some of the six identified barriers are always addressed (money, plants), some not so often (language, more urgent problems, time)|
|Life change||-||+/-||Some strong examples, that could be used more widely|
|Additional factors||Cues to action (awareness)||-||+/-||No interventions after a hazard.|
|Habits||+/-||+/-||No awareness yet, except for Bluumkes feur jou|
|Knowledge (awareness)||+/-||+/-||Some joint effort for spreading the message|
|Efficacy (motivation)||-||-||Being more precise about the effect of private actions|
|Intentional state||-||-||Initiatives could be much more focused on the contemplation state|
|Experiment (behaviour)||-||+||Small interventions for greening the garden are often carried out|
|Maintenance (behaviour)||-||-||No examples of coaching in maintenance|
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Stobbelaar, D.J.; van der Knaap, W.; Spijker, J. Greening the City: How to Get Rid of Garden Pavement! The ‘Steenbreek’ Program as a Dutch Example. Sustainability 2021, 13, 3117. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063117
Stobbelaar DJ, van der Knaap W, Spijker J. Greening the City: How to Get Rid of Garden Pavement! The ‘Steenbreek’ Program as a Dutch Example. Sustainability. 2021; 13(6):3117. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063117Chicago/Turabian Style
Stobbelaar, Derk Jan, Wim van der Knaap, and Joop Spijker. 2021. "Greening the City: How to Get Rid of Garden Pavement! The ‘Steenbreek’ Program as a Dutch Example" Sustainability 13, no. 6: 3117. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063117