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Topical Collection "Sustainable Household Behaviors: Consumption and Mobility"

Editor

Prof. Dr. José Alberto Molina
E-Mail Website
Collection Editor
Department of Economic Analysis, University of Zaragoza, 50009 Zaragoza, Spain and Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), 53113 Bonn, Germany
Interests: household economics; population behaviors; labor markets; urban

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

It is clear that environmental impacts from household activities have grown in recent decades and are expected to intensify in the future. Households, as a group, are not the largest contributor to the most sustainable pressures, but their impact is significant and will almost certainly intensify. In this context, it is essential to better understand household environmental behaviors by analyzing the factors underlying households’ choices. This Special Issue is dedicated to the sustainable day-to day actions of households in two specific areas: consumption and mobility. A better understanding of the determinants of both consumption and mobility decisions will provide useful insights for policy makers. In particular, the Special Issue addresses questions such as i) the effects of sociodemographic, attitudinal, and contextual factors in sustainable household behaviors, with respect to consumption (food, energy, water, waste, etc.) and mobility (public and private commuting, school-to-home transportation, recreational mobility, etc.) and ii) households’ responsiveness to various kinds of environmental policy measures, addressed in these two areas. Thus, two crucial aspects in the debate over sustainable consumption and mobility are the importance of behavioral changes, and the role of government in providing essential infrastructure for the population to engage in more sustainable lifestyles. Most countries have implemented policies to reduce the environmental impacts from household activities, but most of these policies have resulted in only limited changes in behavior, with overall results appearing to be modest. Governments are working to help households to reduce their environmental impacts, with policies that promote sustainable behaviors, by examining the efficacy of different types of policy instruments and by identifying combinations of instruments for promoting more sustainable behaviors. This Special Issue intends, from a multidisciplinary approach, to provide new insights to policy makers for the design of environmental policies in consumption and mobility, with the primary objective being to change individual behaviors.

Prof. José Alberto Molina
Collection Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • household economics
  • population behaviors
  • consumption
  • mobility

Published Papers (8 papers)

2022

Jump to: 2021, 2020

Article
How COVID-19 Has Influenced the Purchase Patterns of Young Adults in Developed and Developing Economies: Factor Analysis of Shopping Behavior Roots
Sustainability 2022, 14(2), 941; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14020941 - 14 Jan 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1059
Abstract
The paper presents survey results from shopping behavior transformation in developed and developing countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in spring 2020. The survey includes the polling process that covered 515 and 117 young adults, respectively, for two economies and factor analysis [...] Read more.
The paper presents survey results from shopping behavior transformation in developed and developing countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in spring 2020. The survey includes the polling process that covered 515 and 117 young adults, respectively, for two economies and factor analysis to determine the latent intentions of purchase behavior. Shopping patterns were studied for food, medicine, goods of first priority, electronics, clothing, and shoes. According to factor analysis results, we determined nine factors that reveal some similarities in shopping behavior as pro-safe purchases and belt-tightening patterns for both economies. Along with that, we revealed that people from developed countries perceived the greater danger and fear due to the COVID-19 crisis than young adults from developing economy. Based on polling results, the post–COVID-19 shopping channel choice behavior was evaluated for developed and developing economies. Full article
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2021

Jump to: 2022, 2020

Article
Assessing Urban Metabolism through MSW Carbon Footprint and Conceptualizing Municipal-Industrial Symbiosis—The Case of Zaragoza City, Spain
Sustainability 2021, 13(22), 12724; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132212724 - 17 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 817
Abstract
This paper proposes a holistic vision of the urban metabolism (UM), viewing the city as a subsystem within an industrial ecosystem (IE) in which municipal-industrial symbiosis is essential to achieve sustainability goals. For this purpose, the metabolism of a large Spanish city, Zaragoza, [...] Read more.
This paper proposes a holistic vision of the urban metabolism (UM), viewing the city as a subsystem within an industrial ecosystem (IE) in which municipal-industrial symbiosis is essential to achieve sustainability goals. For this purpose, the metabolism of a large Spanish city, Zaragoza, was studied by analyzing the main fractions of its MSW. A methodology based on carbon footprint (CF) was developed to analyze the environmental impact—in terms of CO2—of the influence of households’ behavior, the City Council’s strategies, and the main MSW fractions. Zaragoza’s IE represents a footprint of 931,250 CO2 tons for the fractions studied, of which 438,000 CO2 tons are due to organic fraction, 180,371 to plastics and 154,607 to paper and cardboard, which are the three most significant contributors. If households selectively separated 100% of their waste, the footprint would drop to 648,660 tons of CO2. Furthermore, monetary savings were quantified through the CO2 emissions price. The proposed methodology accounts for the CF of the whole IE, not just the city. Moreover, it enables the creation of Sankey diagrams to visualize the distribution of emissions of each subsystem, highlighting the importance of cooperation between the city and its recycling industries to reduce its CF. Full article
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Article
Sustainable Behavior among Romanian Students: A Perspective on Electricity Consumption in Households
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9357; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13169357 - 20 Aug 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 707
Abstract
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates that the environmental pressure from households will increase significantly by 2030. Sustainable consumption means making consumers aware of the social and environmental impacts of the goods and services they use. In this respect, special [...] Read more.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates that the environmental pressure from households will increase significantly by 2030. Sustainable consumption means making consumers aware of the social and environmental impacts of the goods and services they use. In this respect, special attention must be paid to electricity consumption since its generation affects the environment. The present research aims at capturing electricity consumption behaviors among students, after having applied an online questionnaire between March and April 2021, recording 816 responses. The results of this research highlighted the fact that for seven out of fourteen statements, percentages of over 50% for the “always” and “often” answer variants were recorded, but cases when the highest percentages were for the “rarely” and “never” answer variants (e.g., “You read the hours on the light bulb packs before purchasing them”, “You put your mobile phone in the power saving mode so that you don’t have to charge it so often” and “You unplug the electrical and electronic equipment that you do not use”) were also observed. Decrypting consumer behaviors is a key point for building strategies that will lead to consumers’ awareness of conserving electricity in households and, thus, to a reduction in their environmental impact. Full article
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Article
Sustainability, Efficiency, and Competitiveness in Rail Mobility: The ADIF-Spain Case Study
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 8977; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13168977 - 11 Aug 2021
Viewed by 602
Abstract
This work aims to propose alternatives to the EFQM (European Foundation for Quality Management) Model from the perspectives of sustainability, efficiency, and competitiveness, with an application to the railway sector in Spain. Concerning improvement factors, a retroactive analysis is based on a second-degree [...] Read more.
This work aims to propose alternatives to the EFQM (European Foundation for Quality Management) Model from the perspectives of sustainability, efficiency, and competitiveness, with an application to the railway sector in Spain. Concerning improvement factors, a retroactive analysis is based on a second-degree confirmatory factorial analysis, suggesting a new grouping of factors. With respect to the transformation process, a systemic proposal of seven cross-cutting elements (Integral Framework for Transformation into Outstanding Organizations) is presented, providing a sequence of reflection and action initiatives to successfully address the current environmental sustainability, efficiency, and competitiveness challenges in the railway sector through a case study, ADIF (Administrador de Infraestructuras Ferroviarias). The proposal for this Integrated Framework for The Transformation of Organizations is carried out to consolidate the EFQM Model, not only as a management evaluation tool, but also as a quality of management and sustainability instrument, increasing its role as a driving mechanism for actions that generate an effective improvement and transformation in an organization dedicated to mobility. The confirmation of all the hypotheses related to the relationship between Leadership and Strategy, on the one hand explanations., and People, Alliances and Resources, and Processes on the other, along with the four Criteria of Results (People, Clients, Society, and Key Results), allows for the proposal of an EFQM Model that evolves around three major constructs: Guidance, Action, and Feedback. The implications of this work focus on three areas: (1) theoretical, as it is the first analysis of this magnitude to be performed in literature; (2) research, as it opens new hypotheses for contrasting with other organizations in the sector; and (3) management, as it proposes a sustainable organizational and business model. Full article
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Article
Influence of the Population Density of Cities on Energy Consumption of Their Households
Sustainability 2021, 13(14), 7542; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13147542 - 06 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 779
Abstract
36% of the energy consumed and 40% of emissions are due to buildings in the residential and tertiary sectors. These antecedents have forced governments to focus on saving energy and reducing emissions in this sector. To help government decision-making and facilitate energy planning [...] Read more.
36% of the energy consumed and 40% of emissions are due to buildings in the residential and tertiary sectors. These antecedents have forced governments to focus on saving energy and reducing emissions in this sector. To help government decision-making and facilitate energy planning for utilities, this work analyzes the energy consumption that occurs in city buildings. The information used to carry it out is publicly accessible. The study is carried out from the point of view of the population density of the cities, and these are analyzed individually. Furthermore, the area actually occupied by the city has been considered. The results are studied by inhabitant and household. The proposed method has been applied to the case of Spanish cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants. The results show that the higher the population density, the higher the energy consumption. This occurs both per inhabitant and per household. Furthermore, the consumption of electrical energy is inelastic, which is not the case with the consumption of thermal origin. Full article
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2020

Jump to: 2022, 2021

Article
Sustainable Commuting: Results from a Social Approach and International Evidence on Carpooling
Sustainability 2020, 12(22), 9587; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229587 - 17 Nov 2020
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 2533
Abstract
Sustainable commuting (SC) usually refers to environmentally friendly travel modes, such as public transport (bus, tram, subway, light rail), walking, cycling, and carpooling. The double aim of the paper is to summarize relevant prior results in commuting from a social approach, and to [...] Read more.
Sustainable commuting (SC) usually refers to environmentally friendly travel modes, such as public transport (bus, tram, subway, light rail), walking, cycling, and carpooling. The double aim of the paper is to summarize relevant prior results in commuting from a social approach, and to provide new, international empirical evidence on carpooling as a specific mode of sustainable commuting. The literature shows that certain socio-demographic characteristics clearly affect the use of non-motorized alternatives, and compared to driving, well-being is greater for those using active travel or public transport. Additionally, this paper analyzes the behavior of carpooling for commuting, using ordinary least squares (OLS) models, which have been estimated from the Multinational Time Use Study (MTUS) for the following countries: Bulgaria, Canada, Spain, Finland, France, Hungary, Italy, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Results indicate that carpooling for commuting is not habitual for workers, as less than 25% of the total time from/to work by car is done with others on board. With respect to the role of the socio-demographic characteristics of individuals, our evidence indicates that age, gender, education, being native, and household composition may have a cross-country, consistent relationship with carpooling participation. Given that socializing is the main reason for carpooling, in the current COVID-19 pandemic, carpooling may be decreasing and, consequently, initiatives have been launched to show that carpooling is a necessary way to avoid crowded modes of transport. Thus, the development of high-occupancy-vehicle (HOV) lanes by local authorities can increase carpooling, and draw attention to the economic and environmental benefits of carpooling for potential users. Full article
Article
Higher Density Environments and the Critical Role of City Streets as Public Open Spaces
Sustainability 2020, 12(21), 8896; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12218896 - 27 Oct 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1324
Abstract
This paper explores the relationship between crowding and streets as public open spaces in high-density urban environments from the perspectives of perceived density and human needs, two antecedents to crowdedness. City streets are the places through which various forms of crowding are perceived [...] Read more.
This paper explores the relationship between crowding and streets as public open spaces in high-density urban environments from the perspectives of perceived density and human needs, two antecedents to crowdedness. City streets are the places through which various forms of crowding are perceived and experienced. Hence, they can play a role in easing this sense of crowding if corresponding strategies are put in place. The paper argues that practices, such as traffic calming and self-building, can transform the streets to serve as public open space, which increases spaciousness and eases crowding. It also puts forward tactical urbanism as a strategy for city governance to create the right conditions encouraging flourishing civil society initiatives in a dense primary environment that is invigorating and at the same time has a level of crowding perceived as both comfortable and liveable. Full article
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Article
Migration and Food Consumption: The Impact of Culture and Country of Origin on Obesity as an Indicator of Human Health
Sustainability 2020, 12(18), 7567; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12187567 - 14 Sep 2020
Viewed by 767
Abstract
Previous research demonstrates that the 1965 American immigration wave has tended to attenuate the obesity pandemic in the United States. Based on a survey carried out by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS) in 2012 and 2016, we observe the correlation between [...] Read more.
Previous research demonstrates that the 1965 American immigration wave has tended to attenuate the obesity pandemic in the United States. Based on a survey carried out by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS) in 2012 and 2016, we observe the correlation between BMI, age, native language, and years-since-migration to Israel. BMI (=kgm2) is a conventional measure of obesity, where BMI ≥ 25 is considered overweight and BMI ≥ 30 as type I obesity. The results indicate that compared to 11 groups of immigrants, the median BMI among native Israelis is lower. While the prevalence of overweight (BMI ≥ 25) among Hebrew speakers is below 50%, in 11 groups of immigrants, the prevalence of overweight is above 50%. A noteworthy exception is the immigrants from Ethiopia, who exhibit lower overweight prevalence compared to native Israelis and all other population groups. Finally, while male Hebrew and Russian speakers cross the overweight benchmark at the same age (35 years), native Israeli women (Hebrew speakers) cross this benchmark only when they reach 50 years (15 years after the males) and Russian women cross this benchmark only five years after the Russian men. These research findings may be of assistance in public health and culture-oriented medicine. Full article
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Migration and Food Consumption: The Impact of Culture and Country of Origin on Obesity as An Indicator of Human Health

Yuval Arbel, Chaim Fialkoff and Amichai Kerner

Abstract: Previous literature demonstrates that the American immigration waves attenuate the obesity pandemic in the United States. Based on a five-year panel longitudinal survey (2012, 2013, 2014-2015 and 2016), carried out by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS), we observe the correlation between the BMI, age, mother’s tongue and years-since-migration in Israel. The BMI (=kg/meter2) is a conventional measure of obesity, where BMI≥25 is considered overweight, and BMI≥30 as type I obesity. Israel experienced two major immigration waves, which doubled its population: a reactive immigration wave mainly from Arab States in 1948-1971, and a proactive immigration wave with high level of human capital from FSU starting from 1985. Initial results of our study demonstrate that compared to the base category of 15-year-old native Israelis, whose mother’s tongue is Hebrew (95% CI: 21.19 – 21.86 kg/meter2), the BMI of 15-year old immigrants from Russia is lower by 7.11% (p=0.00840; 95% CI: 18.15 – 20.81 kg/meter2). In contrast, compared to the base category of 15-year-old native Israelis, whose mother’s tongue is Hebrew (95% CI: 22.13 – 22.59 kg/meter2), the BMI of 15-year old immigrants from Arab states is higher by 28.3% (p=0.0006; 95% CI: 26.05 – 34.29 kg/meter2). This BMI gap is reversed with the age variable for both the Russian and Arab States immigrants. Research findings may be of assistance in public health, and culture-oriented medicine.

Keywords: Matched-Pairs; Body Mass Index; Obesity

 

Sustainable Commuting: Results from Disciplines Related to Population

José Alberto Molina 1, J. Ignacio Gimenez-Nadal 2 and Jorge Velilla 3,*

1   University of Zaragoza, BIFI and IZA

2   University of Zaragoza, BIFI and CTUR

3   Department of Economic Analysis, Faculty of Economics, University of Zaragoza, C/ Gran Via 2, 3rd floor, 50005 Zaragoza, Spain

*   Correspondence: email: [email protected]; Tel.: +34-876-76-18-18; Fax: +34-976-76-19-96

Extended Abstract: Commuting is, obviously, a transport issue, which daily generates around the world a very high level of CO2 emissions. This is increasingly serious because of the environmentally unfriendly effects. In this context, it is necessary that policy makers design and implement efficient policies aimed at decreasing these emissions and promoting better management of the environment. Logic dictates that the use of public transport and physical models are environmentally friendly solutions for personal transport.

Sustainable commuting (SC) usually refers to environmentally friendly travel modes, such as public transport (bus, tram, subway, light rail), walking, cycling, and carpooling. SC has a number of important relationships with disciplines other than transport from the perspective of individual behaviors, primarily related to population issues. First, the analysis of objective and subjective determinants requires the use of economic/econometric methods in a context of psychological theories. Second, SC exhibits obvious implications for the physical and mental health of individuals. School/University SC also has important associations with education, along with significant associations with labor demand, given the relevant role of employers in the commuting modes of their employees. This paper reviews the most important results derived from the relationship between SC and these population disciplines.

With respect to the subjective determinants, the literature has demonstrated that SC, in the context of the Theory of Planned Behavior, is mainly influenced by intentions, which, in turn, are predicted by three social-cognitive factors: attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavior controls. Beyond these factors, we must also account for the presence of restrictions, such as limited skills, life-chances, and external conditions, that also influence SC. Additionally, the evidence shows that residents who live in areas of high population density are much more likely to adopt SC.

Regarding objective determinants, the relationship between an individual’s income and SC is central, with the evidence being less than conclusive. However, the bulk of the literature shows that lower-income regions have a greater prevalence of SC (walking, cycling, and public transportation) compared with areas of higher income. Other objective determinants are related to the physical environment, with the literature showing that such factors are more important for the prevalence of public transportation than for that of walking and cycling to work. The relationship between these two objective determinants shows that physical environmental factors are more important for SC participation in higher-income neighborhoods than in lower-income ones.

A subgroup of SC modes, which includes walking and cycling to work, is known as active commuting (AC). There are, at least, five reasons for attempting to stem and reverse shifts way from AC, that is to say, health, public finance, climate change, social connectedness, and labor productivity. Physical inactivity is currently a major international public health issue (leading to obesity and cardiovascular issues) and more efforts are needed to promote physical activity, not only in the leisure sphere, but also within the commuting element of the work experience.

The literature shows that greater AC is associated with higher levels of physical well-being. However, studies that examine the impact on well-being of travel for recreational purposes are much more common than those that examine routine commuting. There is no general association between AC and mental well-being, although most of the evidence shows that, compared to driving, well-being is greater for those using active travel or public transport, with this positive effect being considered in cost-benefit assessments of public interventions seeking to promote SC. In this context, the required AC promotion should include urban planning, workplace programs and policies, and installing bicycle lanes, among others.

Despite the high policy interest of School/University SC, there is only limited research examining active commuting among students (elementary/high school/university). Some evidence shows that between

40% and 50% of high school students report using AC to get to and from school. Students are less likely to actively commute to school if they are girls, daily smokers, or attending a rural school. Curiously, weather conditions (temperature, precipitation) do not appear to predict active commuting to school. Negative correlates include parental perception of other children in the neighborhood, no traffic lights or crossings, and a busy road barrier en route to school. The literature shows that reducing barriers to using active modes, such as reducing actual and perceived travel time by bus and bicycle, would have the greatest impact on commuting patterns.

Regarding labor demand, one potential solution in the literature for alleviating CO2 emissions has been to identify the role of the employer in sustainable commuter programs. An increasing body of evidence analyzes the attitudes and policies of employers towards staff travel and sustainable commuter plans. Although more large firms should develop SC plans in the short term, both small and large businesses appear to be committed to a high level of staff parking provision. Employers are aware of the transport problems their workers face, and cite the need for central government legislation and tax incentives before themselves taking action to implement substainable commuter plans.

 

Effecting Sustainable Food Consumption Behaviors and Food Waste among Households in Australia’s Multi-Cultural Society

Christina Y.P. Ting

Extended abstract: Climate Change and its impacts have consequential effects on people and food production. Increasing greenhouse gases (GHG) have caused changes in the predictability and reliability of temperature and rainfall, and frequency and intensity of natural disasters such as drought, and flood. These changes have impact on food cultivation globally. There is thus a need to focus on food security, particular in the areas of sustainable food consumption and food waste.

Australia aims to half of its food waste by 2030 (Commonwealth of Australia (COM) 2017). Every year, Australian households throw away 3.1 million tonnes of edible food at a cost of A$2,200 – A$3,800. While food waste has economic and social impact, it contributes to GHG emissions for anaerobiotic food decay in landfill release methane gas, one of the GHG. Australian government thus has put in place the National Food Waste Strategy (COM 2017) that aligns with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12 (to ensure sustainable production and consumption patterns). This Strategy focuses on the circular economy where resources are kept in use as long as possible, minimising negative impacts and regenerate biological and technical cycles. Different stakeholders ranging from State governments to local councils and non-profit organisations (NPO) have embarked on different ways to change food consumption behaviors and to reduce food waste. For instance, OzHarvest, an NPO, receives excess or unwanted edible food from supermarkets and give them to communities who need them. The local metropolitan councils have put in place kerbside organic collection bins where households can discard their food waste together with the green waste. As an English-speaking country, information is mostly available in the English Language on the different ways in how and why Australians should reduce food waste. With a diverse population of Australian-born, migrants from voluntary migration, business and refugee backgrounds, that speak more than 26 languages, conveying these messages in a-one-size-fits-all measure may not be effective. Those from non-English speaking backgrounds will have to access similar information in their language via indirect ways.  They either search for the information in their spoken language by using the links to other languages in the websites or call the national interpreter telephone number that is listed. This means that those from non-English speaking backgrounds will have limited direct access or have to use extra steps to access the information. This will have an impact to effect positive changes towards food consumption and waste reduction and it’s a challenge in a multi-cultural society. Moreover, each group’s cultural and religious practices may hinder or enhance such measures to reduce food waste. The current COVID-19 pandemic in Melbourne, Australia, has highlighted these differences in culturally-related behaviors and economic impacts on addressing the elimination of the virus.

This paper will first discuss the Australia’s federal government’s National Food Waste Strategy that aligns with circular economy framework. This framework, that aligns with the SDG12, lays out the different stakeholders from farmers to retailers and households. This is followed by the discussion of the various measures appropriate by these stakeholders. These measures are discussed using the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (2019) framework of ‘hierarchy to reduce food waste and grow community’. In this hierarchy framework, ‘source reduction’ is the most preferred way and ‘landfill and incineration’, the least preferred. From here on, the author will analyse the measures taken by the various stakeholders and then focus on the ‘source reduction’ of household’s food consumption behaviors and food waste. This is because by reducing the food source, there will inevitably be reduction in food consumption and waste.  The author will derive data from secondary sources such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and various local government councils such as the City of Melbourne and City of Whitehorse. As cultural and religious practices have impact on consumption behaviors, diet and food waste, the author will derive data from primary and secondary sources. Reference will be made to these differences, with particular reference to migrants from China settling in Australia and other ethnic groups. By identifying the sources of food waste and the potential cultural and religious practices on food consumption behaviour and waste, policies on efficient food waste prevention and generation, and long-term food waste reduction that are applicable to different ethnic households can be put in place. These outcomes can assist policy makers to effect positive consumption behavioural changes to reduce food waste at community levels in multi-cultural society.

 

Pursuing Higher Density Environments with Comfortable and Invigorating Crowding: The Critical Role of City Streets, Open Spaces and Tactical Urbanism

Abstract: This paper explores the relationship between crowding and streets (open space) in high-density urban environments from the perspectives of perceived density and human needs, two antecedents to crowdedness. City streets are the places through which various forms of crowding are perceived, and therefore their potential role in easing the sense of crowding can be expected with corresponding strategies. The idea is thus put forward that the street, underpinned by practices like traffic calming and self-building, serves as the fundamental public open space to increase spaciousness and to ease crowding. It also suggests how city governance can create the right conditions to encourage flourishing civil society initiatives in a bid to build a dense primary environment which is invigorating and at the same time has a level of crowding that is perceived as both comfortable and livable.

Keywords: perceived density; human needs; dense sprawl; compactness; primary environment; traffic calming; self-building; tactical urbanism

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