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Effective Interventions to Engage Citizens in Energy Sufficiency: How City Officials and Researchers Can Successfully Collaborate in Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Proceedings (peer-reviewed)
Author Moser Corinne, Blumer Yann, Stauffacher Michael, Seidl Roman, Tomic Uros, Kobe Carmen,
Project Using formal social groups to promote energy sufficient behaviour in cities
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Proceedings (peer-reviewed)

Title of proceedings 3rd Conference of the Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative SCORAI


Many cities employ interventions to encourage their citizens to change their energy consumption practices. Some interventions are successful and some are not, but most have not been systematically evaluated. This is particularly the case in small and mid-sized cities, which often lack the requisite knowledge and resources. However, systematically designed and evaluated interventions are necessary in order to learn from the interventions and identify and potentially replicate the most effective approaches. We therefore propose a collaborative approach between researchers and cities to develop and evaluate interventions. Our analysis is based on a transdisciplinary project involving three different interventions in three Swiss cities. Our purpose is not only to contribute to better interventions but also to contribute to improved collaboration between cities and researchers. Each of our interventions differed with regard to the degree that researchers and city officials participated in its design and evaluation. In the first intervention—promoting the use of E-Bikes instead of cars—city officials had a more active role in the intervention design, while researchers pursued accompanying research. In the second intervention—promoting energy-efficient showerheads—researchers took a more active role in the intervention’s design and evaluation, while city officials provided the test site for a field study. In the third intervention—promoting bike use for sports trainings among sports clubs and individuals exercising at fitness clubs—both city officials and researchers collaborated closely on the intervention’s design and evaluation. In this paper, we give an overview of the process and outcomes of all three interventions and reflect on the factors that enabled collaboration between city officials and researchers, both specifically within the context of our project and also on a more general level. We do this using a reflective story wall process within our project to identify the enabling factors for research-city collaboration. We complement the identification of these enabling factors with insights drawn from a workshop with other city officials and researchers. At this workshop, we further discuss how collaboration between city officials and researchers could be further stimulated.