|Tuesday, June 23|
People-environment relations are not static, but in constant change over time. Hence, they cannot be considered independently from the changing local and temporal context in which they are embedded. Unfortunately, most investigations are missing a long-term perspective. Many focus just on a single point in time and work with cross-sectional data. But it needs a closer look at the time course to grasp the complexity and contradictions of people-environment-relations. Based on a common conceptual foundation, we want to discuss long-term studies as one appropriate research design for examining these multidimensional interrelations. The focus of the symposium is on prospective longitudinal research designs that actually take place over a long period of time. Therefore, the term long-term study seems to be more appropriate, because it underlines the temporal dimension of the whole investigation. Against this theoretical backdrop, the objectives of the symposium are to clarify a common conceptual understanding, to provide a framework to reflect on the advantages and pitfalls of long-term approaches, and to advance a critical reflection on the importance of taking into consideration the transformations that shape people-environment-relations to derive implications for policy and future research.
* Sigrun Kabisch, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Germany
Long-term housing studies to establish user values
Vanessa Gomes da Silva, University of Campinas UNICAMP, Brazil
Silvia Pina, University of Campinas UNICAMP, Brazil
Regina Ruschel, University of Campinas UNICAMP, Brazil
Ariovaldo Granja, University of Campinas UNICAMP, Brazil
Daniel de Carvalho Moreira, University of Campinas UNICAMP, Brazil
* Doris Kowaltowski, University of Campinas UNICAMP, Brazil
Incremental improvement is the objective of post-occupancy evaluations (POE), preventing the repetition of errors. The concept of satisfaction is part of POE. In social housing (SH) it can support housing quality measurements and identify problems and solutions. In developing countries, satisfaction ratings have little influence on essential housing quality. Ratings are explored politically and may only express a rise in living conditions. Contrastingly, assessing values that families attach to their home elements can bridge the gap to understand their needs and preferences, but value-delivery is often impaired in such budget-constrained situations. Over twenty-five years, a group of researchers at the (omitted) investigate user values of nearby low-income self-built and SH projects. In this paper, selected studies illustrate a paradigm shift in which satisfaction perception was replaced with user value declarations. The first study assessed values in local large housing estates through the stated preference data technique based on value cards. Results showed that residents value security, access to nature, reduction in utility bills, and calm neighbourhoods. Subsequently a cost/benefit study was conducted to reallocate resources to elements with high-value ratings, eliminating those least appreciated, without compromising safety and construction standards. We also investigated questions of sustainability concerning the vicious circle of blame in SH, and neighbourhood design came under scrutiny, indicating the importance of community facilities with quality urban design. Our latest study is upgrading-focused and will apply the concept of value in living lab situations, using instruments to engage agents of upgrading proposals. Long-term benefits of value assessment are the facility to engage users in reflections and enrich design debates, as well as reduce mistrust. A further benefit is the validation of research methodologies. The pitfalls of value studies can be the instruments used, highly dependent on graphic communication and related to the social dynamics on values over time.
Reflecting a 40-year long-term study on the development of a housing district - Benefits and limitations
* Janine Pößneck, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research , Germany
Sigrun Kabisch, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research , Germany
The research project aims to study the growth and maturation of a new built housing district as part of a European city. Its construction started in the mid-1970s.To observe the social dynamics within a changing housing environment, a long-term study was initiated which lasts more than 40 years. Key topics refer to place attachment, housing satisfaction, neighborhood networks and socio-demographic characteristics, with reference to the built structure and infrastructural services. Eleven repeated and representative surveys among residents between 1976 and 2020 are the core of the long-term study. As the sample consists of fixed addresses, and not persons, the research design can be labeled “address panel”. Thus, it is not intended to pursue the housing biography of a fixed sample of persons. Rather, well defined socio-demographic groups of residents, e. g. considering age, income, profession, occupancy, specific location, apartment and neighborhood characteristics, describe the current housing conditions within each survey. The fixed addresses allow both, a spatial as well as a socio-demographic long-term monitoring and evaluation. By using the same methodological tool including same indicators over decades, a comparison of major influencing factors is possible. Conducting this long-term study faces a variety of challenges. Apart from lack of time, money and staff members in the long run, it demands a lot of patience and motivation by the project leaders. It is important to continuously demonstrate the research’s advantages including its integrative character and to justify the relevance of the selected approach for urban planning and political decision making. Hence, the benefits and limitations of the so-called “address panel” as longitudinal research design shall be clearly marked and critically reflected. The conceptual contribution will be exemplified by results and experiences of a long-term study, focused on the residents’ perception of the changing housing conditions over time.
Conducting a real-world, long-term study with changing user groups: challenges and opportunities
* Edward Edgerton, University of the West of Scotland, United Kingdom
Jim McKechnie, University of the West of Scotland, United Kingdom
Methodological approaches to people-environment transactions are extremely varied and reflect the diversity of environments studied and the multi-disciplinary nature of the field. In relation to learning or educational environments, numerous studies have investigated the impact of environmental change from small-scale interventions such as seating arrangements (Martin, 2009) to large scale interventions such as building new schools (Edgerton et al., 2011). Whilst many well-conducted studies have shown the impact of these changes, they often focus only on pre/post investigations and therefore fail to address the longevity of any impact. This failure raises questions as to whether any impact is simply a ‘novelty effect’ that may disappear over time (Gravetter, et al. 2015). Since people-environment transactions are not static, it is important to adopt a longer term perspective of environmental change. However, this is rarely done for a variety of reasons such as, cost, time, being able to access participant groups and ability to control extraneous variables. This paper is based on a long-term study (7 years) that was conducted with a Local Authority in Scotland that was undertaking a programme to rebuild five new secondary schools. The study collected a range of data from S1, S3 and S5 students (approximately 12, 14 and 16 years of age) in all five schools, at three different points in time: pre-construction (2 months before construction work started), post-construction (10 months after the schools had been completed) and post/post-construction (46 months after the schools had been completed). Given the time period involved, the cohort of students differed across each of the three data collection points; the data is therefore based on a comparison between comparable cohorts of students. Whilst the results demonstrated the longevity of the positive impact of the new schools, this paper will discuss the methodological challenges associated with the study and the implications of these.
Sustainable change? Conditions for long-term effects of pro-environmental behavior intervention programs
* Henk Staats, Leiden University, Netherlands
Environmental psychology has contributed to intervention programs that aim to achieve voluntary pro-environmental behavior change. Review studies have suggested that attention for the long-term impact of these intervention programs has been limited: few studies have taken follow-up measures with a substantial time-lag, and few of these few have demonstrated long-term effectiveness. Two studies by the author and colleagues will be discussed that incorporated long-term follow-up measures: The first reports on the effects of an intervention program on behavior change in an office setting that ran for two years and included a follow-up measure one year after completion of the program. The setting and the focal behaviors allowed unusually precise behavioral data, collected in a longitudinal design during 11 rounds of observations. The data allow an in depth analysis of behavior change and degree of maintenance. The second study reports on the effects of an intervention program for environmental behavior in the household. This study included a follow-up measure two years after completion of the program. The results of the two studies will be contrasted, and interpreted in a way that focuses on the match between the characteristics of the intervention programs and the psychological characteristics of the relevant behaviors and targeted populations. Inspired by the Flow of Behavior Change model (Geller (2002) hypotheses are developed that may be beneficial for environmental intervention program design.
Gazing Into the Future Long term studies and scientific crystal balls?
* Luisa Lima, ISCTE-IUL, Portugal
Long term studies are fundamental to assess the impact of environmental interventions. In fact, many important experimental studies give us information about immediate consequences of interventions, but only long term studies allow for the detection of late effects or even the fading out of the initial effects. However, in order to design long term studies, many early decisions have to be made in order to ensure that the right variables, the right samples and the right procedures will be in place – and for that the available science crystal balls not always help us. This presentation will be based on the challenges faced in almost 25 years study on the psychosocial impacts of a waste incinerator. The first study was conducted in 1995 and the last one in 2018, the 23th wave of data collection. The first survey study was conducted by face to face interview during the environmental impact assessment stage of the project, to inform the decision of building (or not) a waste incinerator. The decision to construct the incinerator required the regular monitorization of its psychosocial impacts. During the construction phase, one baseline and 4 assessment were conducted (2 two during summer and 2 during winter time). And after the construction, 12 more waves of face to face interviews and 5 of telephone surveys were conducted. Long term processes such as the adaptation to the threat and the normalization of the risks could be described, but our doubts persist on what were the impacts that were not foreseen.
* Sigrun Kabisch, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Germany
* Lord Sébastien, University of Montreal, Canada