Social Practice Design as a Green Transition Tool for Sufficient Living

Andre Sanchez Montoya*, Matthew Burnett, Iddo Goren, Maria J. Figueroa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


While cities must prepare to accommodate an increasing share of population growth in the coming decades, the increasing consumption of floor area is a prevalent and challenging trend in high-income Western countries that needs to be reversed in order to meet net zero carbon goals. A sustainability paradox emerges as housing demand within growing urban centres contrasts with the reality that the building sector is the fourth largest global carbon-emitting sector and is responsible for one of the highest levels of material resource consumption on the planet (Lamb et al. in Environ Res Lett 16:073005, 2022). Environmental Research Letters, 17(4), 049502 2021). Recent research supports the proposition that reductions in resource consumption are possible with the consideration of sufficiency measures and practices applicable to the building stock (Millward-Hopkins et al. in Glob Environ Chang 65:102168, 2020; Saheb in Buildings and Cities J, 2021). However, this research has not discussed how to advance or operationalise ideas and concepts like sufficiency or how innovative solutions can lead to achieving a reduction of floor area in the existing building stock. This research begins to address this gap by investigating whether a social practice methodology applied as an innovative tool can help decouple the overconsumption of floor area. This model re-assesses and elevates the existing housing stock as a strategic asset that can be densified.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDesign for Climate Adaptation : Proceedings of the UIA World Congress of Architects Copenhagen 2023. Vol. 4
EditorsBillie Faircloth, Maibritt Pedersen Zari, Mette Ramsgaard Thomsen, Martin Tamke
Number of pages21
Place of PublicationCham
Publication date2024
ISBN (Print)9783031363221, 9783031363191
ISBN (Electronic)9783031363207
Publication statusPublished - 2024
EventUIA World Congress of Architects Copenhagen. UIA 2023: Sustainable Futures Leave no one Behind - Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 2 Jul 20236 Jul 2023


ConferenceUIA World Congress of Architects Copenhagen. UIA 2023
Internet address
SeriesSustainable Development Goals Series

Bibliographical note

Published online: 01 January 2024.


  • Sufficiency
  • Absolute sustainability
  • Social practice design
  • Practice-oriented design
  • Post-occupancy evaluation
  • Densification
  • Urban re-development
  • Housing transformation
  • Retrofits
  • Co-living
  • Compact living
  • Sustainable lifestyles

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