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Livable and Sustainable Cities: Explorations of the City Soul and Energy-Efficient Housing based on Swedish Data on Citizens’ Preferences
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Urban Planning and Environment. Tyréns AB.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1750-3726
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Contemporary cities face many challenges, none the least from an urban planning perspective. Global climate change and urbanization is putting pressures on planning for combatting and adapting to, e.g., a warmer climate and an increased need for housing in already dense environments.

The aim of this thesis is to contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of residents’ opinions and preferences regarding various aspects of city livability and sustainability. Two of the papers discuss energy-efficient housing and two the identity/soul of the city and its neighborhoods. The papers are empirically oriented and rest on relatively large quantitative materials of Swedish data. The database used in the first two articles contains around 77,000 observations of single-family homes. The residential survey used in the two final papers was sent to a random sample of 6,600 residents in four cities, resulting in 2,573 respondents.

Regression is the primary analytical method and the results indicate a preference for sustainable housing, in terms of a price premium on heat pumps (attributes that both reduce the energy consumption and are easily observed in the house). It is further suggested that the perception of a strong city/neighborhood soul is linked to positive relations to the city and to positive perceptions of its physical characteristics. In particular, feelings of attachment, belonging, and pride as well as perceptions of aesthetics, arts, and symbols, seem to be linked to a strong city/neighborhood soul.

The presented research contributes to related literature through providing insight to Swedish residents’ preferences and opinions concerning energy-efficient housing and the city/neighborhood soul. It is shown that a citizen perspective based on carefully designed databases and appropriate analytical tools can be used by planners to gain new insights supporting urban livability and sustainability efforts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2017. , p. 34
Series
TRITA-SOM, ISSN 1653-6126 ; 2017-07
Keywords [en]
Attractive cities, place identity, green housing, urban planning, quantitative studies, residential satisfaction
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Planning and Decision Analysis
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-215196ISBN: 978-91-7729-501-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-215196DiVA, id: diva2:1146949
Public defence
2017-10-26, Sal Q2, Osquldas väg 10, KTH, Stockholm, 09:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20171004

Available from: 2017-10-04 Created: 2017-10-04 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. What about the Soul of the City?: Applying a resident perspective in four Swedish Cities
Open this publication in new window or tab >>What about the Soul of the City?: Applying a resident perspective in four Swedish Cities
2017 (English)In: Romanian Journal of Regional Science, ISSN 1843-8520, E-ISSN 1843-8520, Vol. 11, no 1, p. 36-61Article in journal, Editorial material (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper contributes to existing literature by developing a quantitative method for analyzing the city soul – a concept here used to study cities’ distinguishing features. The method is based in theory and tested by means of a survey, in which ~2,500 households in Sweden answered questions about their city. Results from e.g. regression analysis indicate significant relationships between the perceived strength of a city’s soul and the residents’ relation to their city as well as their perceptions of its characteristics. Particularly, the city soul seems to be linked to feelings of pride, attachment and belonging and to city characteristics related to art, beauty and stories about the cities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Regional Science Association International, 2017
Keywords
place identity, urban amenities, city perceptions, residential satisfaction
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Civil Engineering
Research subject
Planning and Decision Analysis
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-214968 (URN)
Note

QC 20171004

Available from: 2017-10-04 Created: 2017-10-04 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved
2. The Soul of Urban Neighborhoods and its Relation to the City Soul.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Soul of Urban Neighborhoods and its Relation to the City Soul.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

There seems to be a growing interest among planners in identifying and reinforcing features that differentiate their city from others. On a local level, it appears increasingly common that neighborhoods are described and branded based on their distinguishing features. It should therefore be interesting for planners and developers to understand what makes neighborhoods attractive and what distinguishes them from other neighborhoods in the city.

‘Neighborhood soul’ is used in this study to analyze neighborhoods’ distinctive features. It is defined as a set of physical, functional and emotional characteristics that influence the residents’ relation to their neighborhood as well as their perceptions of its distinctiveness. The overall aim of this study is to compare the residents’ perception of their city’s soul with the soul of their neighborhood, to identify potential similarities and differences between these two scales of place.

This study utilizes data from a quantitative survey of 6,600 residents in four Swedish cities. Specifically, 1,300 respondents living in the city of Stockholm is used to analyze the strength of the city soul vis-à-vis the soul of neighborhoods. The results (from e.g. regression analyses) show that both the city’s and neighborhood’s soul are significantly related to the corresponding people-place relation and the physical/functional characteristics. In particular, the relative importance of the relation is observed for residents that were born in the city or moved there a long time ago. The neighborhood-specific analyses show that the Stockholm city districts differ in several respects. One contribution of this paper is the suggested conceptual model, which adds to the mainly psychological and sociological literature, in which few studies seem to be theory-driven. Furthermore, the paper pays considerable attention to the physical nature of places, which is another shortage in this literature.

Keywords
place identity, urban amenities, neighborhood perceptions, residential satisfaction
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Planning and Decision Analysis
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-215185 (URN)
Note

QC 20171004

Available from: 2017-10-04 Created: 2017-10-04 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved
3. Residential energy consumption and conservation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Residential energy consumption and conservation
2015 (English)In: Energy and Buildings, ISSN 0378-7788, E-ISSN 1872-6178, Vol. 102, p. 58-66Article in journal, Editorial material (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Swedish energy performance certificates for single-family housing provide rich information on energy consumption and various physical attributes. They also include estimates of the energy conservation potentials resulting from implementing cost-efficient energy saving measures. By matching the certificates issued for single-family houses in 2009 and 2010, with socio-economic data about the residents, local climate data and information about recent improvements of the building we have created a unique database, which can be used to explore a wide variety of questions related to energy consumption and conservation. One aim of this paper is to assess the role for energy consumption played by socio-economic characteristics of the residents as compared to physical attributes of the house. Another is to estimate the influence of housing attributes and climate on the "engineering estimates" of the conservation potentials. Our results show that while the quantitative impact of physical attributes dominate the energy use for heating and cooling, the opposite holds for household electricity. The assessed conservation potential, amounting to 15% of the energy consumption, is significantly related to both the housing attributes and the use of energy. The results also indicate a need to improve the information provided by the performance certificates.

Keywords
Building attributes, Energy consumption, Energy performance certificate, Energy saving potential, Household characteristics, Single-family houses
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified Economics
Research subject
Planning and Decision Analysis; Economics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-166838 (URN)10.1016/j.enbuild.2015.05.008 (DOI)000358458100005 ()2-s2.0-84930933027 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20150827

Available from: 2015-05-19 Created: 2015-05-19 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
4. Doing good but not that well?: A dilemma for energy conserving homeowners
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Doing good but not that well?: A dilemma for energy conserving homeowners
2016 (English)In: Energy Economics, ISSN 0140-9883, E-ISSN 1873-6181, Vol. 60, p. 197-205Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this paper the issue of market capitalization of energy efficient buildings is addressed by considering single-family housing in Sweden and through analyzing as to what extent the market price for a house is influenced by its energy performance. Are Swedish homeowners doing well by doing good? We make use of information provided by the Swedish energy performance certificates for single-family homes matched with data on the corresponding transaction prices, household characteristics and attributes of the neighborhood. The resulting database, covering about 77,000 individual observations, is used to analyze the relationship between the price of a house and its energy performance by means of a hedonic model. Unlike most other studies the energy performance is decomposed into energy consumption and several other variables characterizing the energy system. The main question addressed is if there is a price premium for energy efficient housing in Sweden. Our results differ from earlier studies and indicate no price premium related to the energy consumption but substantial premiums for housing attributes that improve the energy efficiency. A likely explanation is that prospective buyers of new homes base their expectations about future energy consumption on those attributes rather than on the energy consumption of the previous owner.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2016
Keywords
Price premium, Energy efficient housing, Single-family houses, Energy saving potential, Building attributes, Energy performance certificate
National Category
Civil Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-199759 (URN)10.1016/j.eneco.2016.09.025 (DOI)000390496000020 ()
Note

QC 20170120

Available from: 2017-01-20 Created: 2017-01-16 Last updated: 2017-11-29Bibliographically approved

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