City dweller aspirations for cities of the future: How do environmental and personal wellbeing feature?

Joffe, H. and Smith, N. 2016. City dweller aspirations for cities of the future: How do environmental and personal wellbeing feature? Cities. 59, pp. 102-112. doi:10.1016/j.cities.2016.06.006

TitleCity dweller aspirations for cities of the future: How do environmental and personal wellbeing feature?
AuthorsJoffe, H. and Smith, N.
Abstract

This paper explores city dweller aspirations for cities of the future in the context of global commitments to radically
reduce carbon emissions by 2050; cities contribute the vast majority of these emissions and a growing bulk
of theworld's population lives in cities. The particular challenge of creating a carbon reduced future in democratic
countries is that the measures proposed must be acceptable to the electorate. Such acceptability is fostered if carbon
reduced ways of living are also felt to bewellbeing maximising. Thus the objective of the paper is to explore
what kinds of cities people aspire to live in, to ascertain whether these aspirations align with or undermine carbon
reduced ways of living, as well as personal wellbeing. Using a novel free associative technique, city aspirations
are found to cluster around seven themes, encompassing physical and social aspects. Physically, people
aspire to a city with a range of services and facilities, green and blue spaces, efficient transport, beauty and good design. Socially, people aspire to a sense of community and a safe environment. An exploration of these themes reveals
that only a minority of the participants' aspirations for cities relate to lowering carbon or environmental
wellbeing. Far more consensual is emphasis on, and a particular vision of, aspirations that will bring personal
wellbeing. Furthermore, city dweller aspirations align with evidence concerning factors that maximise personal
wellbeing but, far less, with those that produce lowcarbonways of living. In order to shape a lower carbon future that city dwellers accept the potential convergence between environmental and personal wellbeing will need to
be capitalised on: primarily aversion to pollution and enjoyment of communal green space.

KeywordsCity aspirations, Liveable cities, Low carbon agenda, Environmental wellbeing, Personal wellbeing
JournalCities
Journal citation59, pp. 102-112
ISSN0264-2751
Year2016
PublisherElsevier
Publisher's versionJoffe & Smith (2016)-1.pdf
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1016/j.cities.2016.06.006
Publication dates
Published01 Jul 2016
LicenseCC BY 4.0

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