Project info

Citizens as agents of change in decarbonizing suburban and rural housing

Decarbon-Home provides research excellence in the intertwined and ongoing climate-related and social challenges which necessitate a major transition in the Finnish housing system. The key challenge to address is to reduce equitably the climate impact of Finnish housing and construction, which represent approximately 30% of the total GHG emissions and 40% of total energy use. Decarbon-Home analyses the housing system challenges from environmental, technical and social science silos to form a comprehensive understanding and create novel, human-centred solutions to climate-wise housing, especially via renovations.

Sustainability transition in suburban and rural areas

The focus areas are suburban and rural; the urban focus is on the suburbs of the 1960s and 1970s and the rural focus is on the peripheral areas. The challenges in these areas result in the most critical housing stock regarding climate change mitigation being typically inhabited by the most vulnerable social groups (e.g. elderly, immigrants and unemployed). These impose new requirements for sustainable building and housing renovations, including their material, technological and human aspects. Analysing the pre-conditions for the wider adoption of innovative solutions, energy overhauls and other mitigation technologies, the project supports and enhances the nation-wide transition to climate neutral, socially equitable, and inclusive residential communities.

Multi-disciplinary research approach

To accelerate the transition, better understanding and mobilization of changes in individual, institutional, regulatory, communication and knowledge sharing practices is needed. Decarbon-Home offers a unique, multi-disciplinary basis to understand citizen preferences, social structures, policy-making, innovations and transition pathways. With solid competence from transdisciplinarity, the consortium is specifically built to address these questions and create novel, state-of-the-art scientific contributions in relevant research fields. With high ambition and enthusiasm toward co-creation and higher communality, several collaborative tools and working methods are employed together with a rich variety of committed stakeholders.

Consortium and stakeholders

The consortium brings together researchers from the University of Helsinki (both institutes HELSUS Institute of Sustainability Science and URBARIA Institute of Urban and RegionalStudies), Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), University of Vaasa and Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech, Estonia). The team collaborates with top-level international researchers in relevant fields, through regular engagement with the Scientific Advisory Board. The consortium implements intensive interaction and co-creation actions throughout the project. Solutions for suburbs and rural areas will be co-created with case municipalities in Helsinki, Joensuu, Turku and Vantaa. Co-creation with case municipalities occurs in close collaboration with citizens, stakeholders and international collaboration.

Research work packages of the project are:

  1. Citizens’ agency
  2. Socio-spatial inequalities
  3. Co-creative solutions for municipalities
  4. Accelerating the transition


Decarbon-Home is funded by the Strategic Research Council (SRC) established within the Academy of Finland. The funding is confirmed for the first (1.10.2020-30.9.2023) and the second three year period (1.10.2023-30.9.2026).