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Everyday sustainability transitions through green building: Spatial perspectives on materialities, discourses and lived sustainabilities

Affolderbach, Julia and O'Neill, Kirstie ORCID: 2024. Everyday sustainability transitions through green building: Spatial perspectives on materialities, discourses and lived sustainabilities. European Urban and Regional Studies 31 (2) , pp. 168-183. 10.1177/09697764231216407

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In 2019, governments across Europe set the goal to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Through its high share of energy use and carbon emissions, the building sector is seen as central in this endeavor. While European Union (EU) and national regulation and incentive schemes provide an important context, how green building is realized often plays out at subnational spatial scales, including how green buildings are designed and embedded in existing regional and local (infra)structures. More localized scales can be especially important when considering the sustainability of buildings in operation. In contrast to the design and construction phases of green buildings, very little attention has been paid to post-occupancy studies and the practices of building users in enabling or constraining sustainability transitions. These actors are, however, crucial in reducing carbon emissions as a fabric-only or technologically-focused approach will be insufficient. This article seeks to contribute to a better understanding of the role of building users and the impact of green buildings once in operation through the frame of lived sustainabilities. It focuses on changes shaped by interdependences between discourses on green buildings including expectations, framings and understandings, activities as associated with living and working in buildings, as well as materialities of green buildings. Furthermore, we present a research agenda that highlights how wider everyday practices are affected by the entangled spatial dimensions of sustainability transitions which define different contexts and bring to the fore the role and importance of spatial scales in terms of the impact green buildings might have.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 0969-7764
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 10 January 2024
Date of Acceptance: 31 October 2023
Last Modified: 27 May 2024 19:21

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