Knowledge co-production seeks to enable an integration of the varying knowledge and data gathered across various parts and levels of the project. Therefore a shared ontology is generated, serving for an interaction between the qualitative and quantitative research as well as for an open dialogue at the same eye level: an effective framework facilitating for multilateral communication among researchers, policymakers (European stakeholder workshops) and regional stakeholders (Case Study workshops) that enables a context in which the project findings can be interpreted and used commonly.
The knowledge co-production becomes very obvious in the work with the sustainable initiatives, in the seven Case Study (CS) regions in: Galicia (Spain), Delft-Rotterdam-Hague (Netherlands), Mühlviertel in Upper Austria (Austria), Central Germany (Germany), Lazio (Italy), Aberdeen (UK/Scotland) and Banat-Timis (Romania). The understanding why people start initiatives or are members of those, what the effects are on their lifestyles, on their wellbeing as well as on their environmental footprint and how other niche players or relevant actors/groups can be found to build networks and diffuse the initiatives further.
The analysis of the CS-regions included both comprehensive lifestyle change initiatives (e.g. transformations of all aspects of lifestyles) as well as issue-based initiatives (e.g. transformation of energy sources and end-use patterns of behaviour) with potential implications for sustainable lifestyle transformations and their pathways. It thus: a) contributes to the testing and refining of theoretical models developed in WP3; b) provides data for the economic and agent-based simulations in WP6; c) provides relevant information on actual lifestyle and economic alternatives that can then be evaluated in terms of environmental impact in WP7.
The case studies cover six areas of lifestyle consumption: work-leisure balance and leisure options, energy consumption of households, mobility patterns, food consumption, construction and housing, as well as consumption of manufactured goods.
A systematic analysis of the environmental footprints of different lifestyles under different scenarios was conducted to provide an insight into the importance of different consumption categories and the changes in drivers for environmental impacts. Specific lifestyle changes, such as changes in diets, mobility patterns, recreation, the status and use of homes, and work-life balance were investigated to analyse the potential effect of lifestyle change on environmental footprints and hence the desirability and importance of lifestyle changes for attaining sustainability perspectives.
In order to gather input on what is needed to achieve sustainability targets of regional lifestyles, exploratory back-casting scenario workshops for future sustainable lifestyles were conducted in all case study regions. In these workshops a range of relevant stakeholders aimed to develop normative visions based on sustainability targets at the level of lifestyles and identifying technological, lifestyle, behavioural, and institutional changes and back-casting scenarios. The output of this task provided the necessary input for the assessments of alternative future scenarios, consisting of combinations of changes in technology, lifestyles and economic structure.