Chapter 10: From information provision to participatory deliberation: engaging residents in the transition toward sustainable cities
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Among the many challenges cities face in transitioning toward sustainability is the question of how to involve local residents. Achieving urban sustainability goals will require not only broad political support (Carvalho and Peterson 2012), but also changes in residents’ consumption and lifestyle choices (Dietz et al. 2009). This chapter explores how cities can actively engage their residents in meeting these goals. Borrowing from others, we define engagement to mean a ‘personal state of connection’ in which individuals are not only aware of sustainability issues, but are concerned, motivated and able to take appropriate actions (Lorenzoni et al. 2007; Whitmarsh et al. 2011). Cities are experimenting with a variety of strategies to foster citizen engagement. These can include communication and education efforts aimed at raising awareness and knowledge of sustainability challenges; behavior change interventions that encourage residents to make more sustainable choices in their personal lives; and participatory approaches that involve residents in the visioning, planning and implementation of sustainability initiatives. Because cities are employing all these strategies for the purpose of engaging target audiences, we will refer to them collectively as ‘engagement strategies’ in the remainder of this chapter.

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