(February 2012) Changing Energy-Based Consumption Patterns by Creating Climatically Responsive Urban Spaces
Recent studies present that climate change will continue in the future with relatively unpredictable impacts on people and the environment. Urban planners and designers try to develop climate responsive design principles and strategies in order to reduce the ecological impact of the built environment. Climate responsive urban development can benefit from an inductive method starting from the scale of living unit and extending to the scales of cluster, neighborhood and the city. For instance, each single building with its different walls and facets, shows a variety of characteristics in terms of issues such as thermal insulation, ventilation and net long wave radiation exchange. Right along with, building groups either in street line or cluster pattern, lead to changes on the ground temperature levels. The differences in materials and construction of each single units also give rise to the formation of urban heat islands, which evidently effects everyday life in terms of comfort and health.
However, climate change mitigation is not a single-acting phenomena which cannot be handled only by technical planning and design interventions. It is also vital to change patterns of consumptions and production in the society. In other words, in order to develop sustainable solutions to climate change, it is essential to enable long-term changes in individual mind-sets and lifestyles (Lorenzoni, Nicholson-Cole and Whitmarsh, 2007). Therefore, for sustainable cities, planners and designers should consider creation of urban spaces responsive to both climatic conditions and the indigenous social and economic values lasting for many years. The change in the consumption pattern of a society directly relates to how the society responses to the effects of climate change and how they act in order to reduce these negative impacts. Thus, people's response to climate change, which is mainly shaped by indigenous social and economic values, can be very critical in many respects in mitigation processes. These responses can either increase or decrease the possible future impacts (Bord, Fisher and O'Connor, 1998). Sheppard (2005) categorises human responses to the environment under four major titles as cognitive, psychological, behavioural and physiological responses.
Review of literature reveals three major factors that affect consumer's response to climate change. These include socio-spatial, socio-economic and socio-cultural variables. In different domains, space-related consumption that affect climate change differ from each other. Perhaps, innovative systems to adopt climate change are found in different socio-cultural and socio-economic contexts. This research will explore the emissions profiles of selected UK case study areas representing a developed country and selected Turkish case study areas representing a developing country. In this way, different hidden barriers from different socio-economic and socio-cultural contexts will be revealed and potential energy consumption reduction opportunities for each cases will be identified by using both quantitative and qualitative research techniques.