2011 volume 43(12) pages 3011 – 3029
doi:10.1068/a43529

Cite as:
Barr S, Shaw G, Coles T, 2011, "Sustainable lifestyles: sites, practices, and policy" Environment and Planning A 43(12) 3011 – 3029

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Sustainable lifestyles: sites, practices, and policy

Stewart Barr, Gareth Shaw, Tim Coles

Received 12 November 2010; in revised form 7 July 2011

Abstract. Proenvironmental behaviour change remains a high priority for many governments and agencies and there are now numerous programmes aimed at encouraging citizens to adopt sustainable forms of living. However, although programmes for addressing behaviour change in and around the home are well developed, there has been significantly less attention paid to activities beyond this site of practice. This is despite the environmental implications of consumption choices for leisure, tourism, and work-related activities. Through focusing on sites of practice as a key framing device, this paper uses data from a series of in-depth interviews to identify three major challenges for academics and practitioners concerned with understanding and promoting more environmentally responsible behaviour. First, attention must shift beyond the home as a site of environmental practice to consider the ways in which individuals respond to exhortations towards ‘greener’ lifestyles in other high-consumption and carbon-intensive settings, Second, in broadening the scope of environmental practice, policy makers need to revisit their reliance on segmentation models and related social marketing approaches. This is in the light of data that suggest those with strong environmental commitments in the home are often reluctant to engage in similar commitments in other sites of practice. Third, researchers and policy makers therefore need to move beyond the traditional ‘siting’ of environmental practice towards a spatially sophisticated conceptualisation that accounts for the multiple settings of consumption through mapping the relationships that exist between sites of practice.

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