Julkaisun nimiLocal policy networks in support of wood-based construction: A case study from Joensuu, Finland
KirjoittajatMd. Rayhanur Rahman, Ida Wallin, Ritva Toivonen, Anne Toppinen
JulkaisijaForest Policy and Economics
ISBN/DOIDOI:10.1016/j.forpol.2024.103225
Julkaisupäivä22.4.2024

Abstract

Wood-based construction (WBC) is considered important for climate change mitigation, as buildings provide long-term carbon storage and contribute to sustainable urban solutions. Research shows that a lack of coordination among policy actors hinders the more rapid development of WBC in many contexts. Gaining a better understanding of the characteristics of local WBC-related policy networks is critical for speeding up WBC development. We conducted an exploratory case study on one WBC forerunner city, Joensuu, Finland. The results from our quantitative social network analysis show that the WBC policy network of Joensuu is moderately dense and mostly consists of research and business organizations. However, the local hub, Business Joensuu, holds a central position in the network despite being an intermediary non-profit business and a regional development organization. Information and knowledge sharing are the most common resources distributed among the actors, which implicitly suggests that the network is primarily contributing to research and innovation around WBC. Considering the diverse policy goal priority, statements related to WBC, actors are mostly interested in climate change mitigation measured by reducing carbon emissions from construction materials, followed by creating new employment opportunities. From the policy perspective, our findings concerning the WBC policy network of Joensuu showcase the importance of national and international policies in the local diffusion of WBC and the key role of collaborative actors.

Julkaisun nimi“We Need to Build Carbon-Neutral Houses” – Discourses of Responsible Expertise in Finnish Professional Media
KirjoittajatLiisa Kääntä, Merja Koskela, Henna Syrjälä, Eveliina Salmela
JulkaisijaEnvironmental Communication
ISBN/DOIDOI:10.1080/17524032.2024.2327064
Julkaisupäivä13.3.2024

Abstract

In this study, we explore how expertise and responsibility are discursively intertwined in professional media. Based on quotations from building and real-estate industry professionals in news texts concerning sustainable building and housing, we identified three responsibility-related discourses: responsibility as a strategic professional vision, responsibility as techno-material expertise, and responsibility as a communal and societal orientation. These discourses of responsible expertise are important for voicing professional perspectives and emphasizing corporate social responsibility (CSR). In the sustainability transition, industry professionals are balancing between organizational and industry-level motives, between utility perspectives for “us” and “others,” and between managing impressions of doing good for the industry and for citizens or society at large. Through and with journalism, these professionals disseminate both individual and organizational expertise to the public in order to “make the industry and the whole society better and more sustainable.”

Julkaisun nimiIlmastoviisaan asumisen teemat ja kontekstit – Kun systeemimaailma kohtaa elämismaailman julkisessa keskustelussa
KirjoittajatMerja Koskela, Eveliina Salmela, Liisa Kääntä, Henna Syrjälä
JulkaisijaCommunicating with Purpose. Vaasa: VAKKI Publications 15.
ISBN/DOIISBN: 978-952-69732-2-7
Julkaisupäivä21.12.2023

Abstract

This study examines which topics climate-wise housing is connected to in public speech. Climate-wise housing stands for housing choices that take social, ecological and economic perspectives into account. The data of the study consists of a variety of journalistic texts and online discussions collected in a larger research project. Content analysis is used as a method, and the findings are discussed applying Habermas’ concepts of system and lifeworld. The results show that in the journalistic media, the system-level starting point is strong and the individuals’ point of view comes to the fore only in certain types of stories. Economics and technology in particular are important ways of understanding climate-wise housing. In online discussions, the starting point is citizens’ own lifeworld, which is connected to their everyday experiences. However, the topics of the discussions are also connected to the system through the presence of the (market) economy, which leads to seeing citizens in the role of consumers. As a whole, our analysis shows that climate-wise living becomes a part of citizens’ everyday life both through the system, for example as a result of political decisions, and through grassroot level choices. From both starting points, efforts can be made towards more climate-wise living.

Julkaisun nimiPieniä neliöitä, aurinkopaneeleita ja kulutuksen vähentämistä – Ilmastotietäminen kodin käytänteissä
KirjoittajatSara-Ellen Laitinen, Eliisa Kylkilahti, Henna Syrjälä
JulkaisijaKulutustutkimus.Nyt
ISBN/DOIDOI:10.54333/kulutustutkimus.127368
Julkaisupäivä12.12.2023

Abstract

Consumers’ daily activities at their homes have an impact on the climate emissions of housing. We approach living as home practices. We study how consumers understand climate-wise housing and what kind of home practices they consider climate-wise. The concept of climate wisdom has not been previously defined in the scientific debate. We approach the concept through the practice of knowing, which means that wisdom is a practical activity based on knowing. The practice of knowing is a dispersed practice, while home practices are integrated practices, of which the practice of knowing can be a part. These practices can share climate wisdom with each other as an element of a general understanding. Consequently, knowledge of climate wisdom can be realized as climate-wise home practices. We analyzed consumers’ understanding of climate-wise housing from the interviews (n=30) by using thematic content analysis and practice theory reading. According to the study, climate-wise housing is understood broadly, but convergently. Climate-wise housing includes various knowledge-based everyday doings and solutions, which concern the choice of energy source, reduction of many types of consumption, recycling, waste sorting and sharing. Consumers have shared understandings of what is climate-wise, and climate wisdom can be seen as part of a practice of knowing. However, the understanding of climate wisdom does not necessarily appear as climate-wise actions implemented in everyday life.

Tiivistelmä

Kuluttajien arkisella toiminnalla kodeissa on vaikutusta asumisen ilmastopäästöihin. Lähestymme asumista kodin käytänteinä. Tutkimme sitä, miten kuluttajat ymmärtävät ilmastoviisaan asumisen ja millaiset kodin käytänteet ovat heidän mielestään ilmastoviisaita. Ilmastoviisaus-käsitettä ei ole aiemmin tieteellisessä keskustelussa määritelty. Lähestymme käsitettä tietämisen käytänteen kautta, jolloin viisaus on tietämiseen perustuvaa käytännön toimintaa. Tietämisen käytänne on hajautunut käytänne, kun taas kodin käytänteet yhdistäviä käytänteitä, joiden osa tietämisen käytänne voi olla. Nämä käytänteet voivat jakaa keskenään yleisen ymmärryksen elementin ilmastoviisaudesta, jolloin tietäminen ilmastoviisaudesta voi toteutua ilmastoviisaina kodin käytänteinä. Analysoimme kuluttajien ymmärryksiä ilmastoviisaasta asumisesta haastatteluaineistosta (n=30) temaattisen sisällönanalyysin ja käytäntöteoreettisen luennan avulla. Tulokset osoittavat, että ilmastoviisas asuminen käsitetään laajasti, mutta yhtenäisesti. Ilmastoviisas asuminen on tietämiseen perustuvia erilaisia arjen tekoja ja ratkaisuja, jotka koskevat energialähteen valintaa, monenlaisen kulutuksen vähentämistä, kierrättämistä, jätteiden lajittelua ja jakamista. Kuluttajilla on jaetut ymmärrykset siitä, mikä on ilmastoviisasta ja ilmastoviisaus voidaan nähdä osana tietämisen käytänteitä. Ymmärrys ilmastoviisaudesta ei kuitenkaan välttämättä näy arjessa toteutettuina ilmastoviisaina tekoina.

Julkaisun nimiThe importance of organization type: Construction sector perceptions of low-carbon policies and measures
KirjoittajatJouni Räihä, Selina Clarke, Paula Sankelo, Enni Ruokamo, Hanna-Liisa Kangas
JulkaisijaEnvironmental Science & Policy
ISBN/DOIDOI:10.1016/j.envsci.2023.103602
Julkaisupäivä17.10.2023

Abstract

To facilitate decarbonization in the EU’s building sector, the regulatory focus is shifting towards a life cycle perspective of emissions. The EU’s path in tackling embodied emissions is under development in the revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, which is utilizing Level(s) framework and EN 15879 as a methodological foundation. Member States are at different stages in their building life cycle regulation plan and Finland is preparing normative regulations to limit the carbon footprints of new buildings. We conducted a survey on how the different actors in the construction sector perceive new low-carbon policies under development in Finland. Our findings indicate that carbon footprint policies were generally seen as functional. However, perceptions differed significantly depending on the respondent’s organization type. The respondents involved in the construction design stage generally seemed more positive about the proposed regulations, whereas advocates (associations and interest groups) were more cautious than the organizations they represented. These findings help clarify the implementation and development needs of low-carbon policies.

Julkaisun nimiInnovators, followers and laggards in home solar PV: Factors driving diffusion in Finland
KirjoittajatEnni Ruokamo, Marita Laukkanen, Santtu Karhinen, Maria Kopsakangas-Savolainen, Rauli Svento
JulkaisijaEnergy Research & Social Science
ISBN/DOIDOI:10.1016/j.erss.2023.103183
Julkaisupäivä22.6.2023

Abstract

Generating electricity from solar energy is a way for households to participate in the ongoing transition to decarbonized and more decentralized energy systems. A large empirical literature has examined the drivers and barriers associated with household solar PV adoption. An emerging strand of this literature investigates what distinguishes earlier adopters from later adopters and non-adopters. However, there is yet limited understanding of the differences between earlier and later adopters, as few papers have applied formal statistical models to compare different customer segments. The present study addresses this gap. We examine how the factors that influence household solar PV choices differ between earlier adopters, potential adopters – households that have considered installing solar PV but have not yet done so – and non-adopters. We analyze these choices using rich data from a household-level survey conducted in Finland. The findings show that the adoption of solar PV is linked to a multitude of socio-demographic and financial factors and personal motivations. There are clear differences in the motives and perceptions of adopters, potential adopters, and non-adopters. Accounting for such differences between customer segments will help to better design and target public policy instruments and marketing campaigns that aim to incentivize and nudge households toward solar PV investments.

Julkaisun nimiA tale of five cities: The role of municipalities in the market diffusion of wooden residential multistory construction and retrofits
KirjoittajatAnne Viljanen, Katja Lähtinen, Vesa Kanninen, Anne Toppinen
JulkaisijaForest Policy and Economics
ISBN/DOIDOI:10.1016/j.forpol.2023.102991
Julkaisupäivä26.5.2023

Abstract

To enhance sustainable urban development, cities may contribute to the market diffusion of wooden multistory residential construction (WMC) and to wood use in the renovations of old multistory residential buildings (i.e., wooden retrofits). For the construction sector, building with wood enables a shift from the dominant concrete-based building regime, which has hindered the industrialization of building processes and the use of prefabricated modules. Although industrial wood construction has become more common in Finland in the 2000s, WMC and especially wooden retrofits have remained niche systems in residential building markets. The aim of our study is to provide information on how municipalities, especially cities at the core of urban development, may contribute to the market diffusion of WMC and wooden retrofits through policy instruments and via their involvement in local business ecosystems (BE). The interview data of the study were mainly gathered from 40 professionals representing the five case cities, but we also included other experts connected to local BEs that linked with the WMC and wooden renovation cases. We employed qualitative methods in the analyses. Our study shows that WMC and wooden retrofits could be catalyzed by both policy instruments and collaboration in BEs. Results show that policy instruments have been more effective when they include characteristics of the building projects (e.g., instrument usability differs between municipalities or private persons as building owners). To be powerful actors, municipalities could take on more active collaborative roles within the local BEs (e.g., as initiators of projects as building owners or as active enablers). As an implication of these results, city-level experimentation could benefit from a full range of policy measures and mixes to accelerate the diffusion of WMC and wooden retrofits.

Tiivistelmä

Kaupungit voivat merkittävästi vaikuttaa puun käyttöön uudis-, korjaus- ja täydennysrakentamisessa. Esimerkiksi kerrostalojen lisäkerrosten rakentamisessa ja julkisivujen korjauksissa puiset ratkaisut ovat mahdollisuus resurssitehokuuden parantamiseen ja kiertotalouden vahvistamiseen. Tutkimusaineistomme perustuu viidessä suomalaisissa kaupungissa tehtyihin 40 haastatteluun. Tulostemme mukaan kaupungit voivat ottaa puurakentamisen mahdollistajina erilaisia rooleja suhteessa muihin toimijoihin sekä käyttäessään erilaisia poliittisia ohjauskeinoja ja niiden yhdistelmiä. Muut toimijat näkivät usein myös kaupunkien roolin puurakentamisen edistämisessä jopa merkittävämpänä kuin haastatellut kaupunkien edustajat, jotka taas itse korostivat kaupungin roolia eri toimijoiden välisen yhteistyön edistäjänä.

Julkaisun nimiLand-use Planning in Municipalities as a Driver for Sustainable Residential Building in Finland: A Regional Innovation System Approach
KirjoittajatAtte Koskivaara, Katja Lähtinen
JulkaisijaJournal of Sustainability Research. Special issue: Sustainability in the Built Environment
ISBN/DOIDOI:10.20900/jsr20230006
Julkaisupäivä26.4.2023

Abstract

Land-use planning has been identified as an important tool in pursuing sustainability by guiding the construction and development of our built environment. Sustainability action places large requirements for municipalities to develop and introduce priorities in their planning. Land-use planning system in Finland relate to regulation and decisions of authorities connected to national, regional, and municipal levels. In general, municipal level has the most power in decision making by holding e.g., planning monopolies. Municipal land-use planners operate in the junction of different actors including businesses, local politicians, citizens, and research institutions. Thus, they provide an interesting opportunity to study the operationalization and objectives of land-use planning in different regions. This study takes the regional innovation system approach to illustrate planning systems, involvement of different stakeholders and the sustainability objectives of land-use planning in varying regions in Finland. Quantitative methods (i.e., exploratory factor analysis, statistical tests) are used in the online survey data analysis. Our results suggest a strong connection between informal planning system and municipalities’ sustainability objectives as well as stakeholders representing research and governance organizations whereas statutory planning system is more connected with users of existing knowledge. Regarding regional characteristics, urban municipality planners were found to perceive informal planning as more important than planners in other municipalities. Additionally, connected to the results on sustainability objectives, urban municipality planners paid attention especially on goals for sustainable building, while those working in other municipalities emphasized both goals on sustainable building and securing ecosystem services.

Tiivistelmä

Maankäytön suunnittelulla on tärkeä rooli kestävän rakentamisen ja asumisen mahdollistamisessa. Onnistuneet kaavoitusratkaisut edistävät hyvinvointia, aluetaloutta ja kestävää kehitystä rakennetussa ympäristössä. Tutkimuksessamme selvitimme lakisääteisten ja epämuodollisten maankäytön suunnitteluprosessien sekä eri sidosryhmien rooleja suomalaisten kuntien maankäytön suunnittelussa ja näiden suhteita kuntien ekologisen kestävyyden tavoitteiden kanssa. Tutkimme myös näiden osa-alueiden eroja kaupunkimaisten ja muiden kuntien välillä. Tuloksemme osoittavat merkittäviä yhteyksiä epämuodollisten maankäytön suunnitteluprosessien, uuden tiedon tuottamisen, sekä kuntien kestävyystavoitteiden välillä. Lakisääteisten maankäytön suunnittelumekanismien kohdalla ei tuloksistamme samankaltaisia yhteyksiä noussut esille. Lisäksi havaitsimme, että kaupunkimaisten ja maaseutumaisempien kuntien välillä on eroja näissä maankäytön suunnittelun kannalta tärkeissä osa-alueissa.

Julkaisun nimiAccepting Depoliticisation? Council Members’ Attitudes Towards Public-Public Contracts in Spatial Planning
KirjoittajatPiia Bäcklund, Vesa Kanninen, Tomas Hanell
JulkaisijaPlanning Theory & Practice
ISBN/DOIDOI:10.1080/14649357.2023.2199459
Julkaisupäivä19.4.2023

Abstract

This paper focuses on how local council members consider public-public contractual spatial planning practices. Our approach addresses concerns over the depoliticisation of planning processes within a neoliberal governmentality. Our findings from three Nordic countries show that some of the council members accept being sidelined from contractual processes. Local council members may thus become complicit political subjects who foster depoliticisation through their own actions. We argue that council members’ interpretations concerning contractual practices give direction, not only to future planning practice, but also to societal understanding of the idea of the political in spatial planning.

Julkaisun nimiExploring the potential of circular economy to mitigate pressures on biodiversity
KirjoittajatEnni Ruokamo, Hannu Savolainen, Jyri Seppälä, Susanne Sironen, Milja Räisänen, Ari-Pekka Auvinen
JulkaisijaGlobal Environmental Change
ISBN/DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2022.102625
Julkaisupäivä6.12.2022

Abstract

The effects of circular economy on biodiversity are poorly understood. This study provides observations on approaches for assessing circular economy and illustrates, with a Finnish case study, the potential of circular economy to mitigate pressures on biodiversity. The case study focuses on the construction and real estate sectors, as well as the forest industry. The findings imply that circular economy actions that reduce the extraction of virgin raw materials and relieve land use pressures are effective. Improving material efficiency, increasing the cascading use of wood, and optimizing the use and reuse of materials and products, as well as extending the lifetime of buildings and optimizing space use, have good potential for mitigating pressures on biodiversity in Finland. However, as forest utilization has a major impact on Finnish biodiversity, certain actions that possibly increase the use of forest resources (e.g., replacing fossil-based, concrete, or steel materials with wood-based solutions) may impair biodiversity if biodiversity-enhancing forest management practices are not utilized. Assessing the biodiversity impacts of circular economy is challenging, and the need for further research and the development of indicators and assessment methods is clear.