15.1 Subjective and Objective Maps - the Relation Between Appropriation of Space and Consumption Infrastructure

Melanie Jaeger , Center for Technology and Society, Berlin Institute of Technology, Berlin, Germany
Martina Schaefer , Center for Technology and Society, Berlin Institute of Technology, Berlin, Germany
It is largely accepted that consumption practices should be seen as an interplay between structural conditions and individual and social aspects. But still very little is known about how this interaction influences the daily organisation of consumption on an individual level. Consumption is on the one hand part of a system of daily routines, habits and rituals that, on the whole, serves as a relatively well-functioning response mechanism to individual, social and societal demands, assuring continuity as well as identity. On the other hand everyday routines are embedded in a surrounding context including infrastructure, supply with certain goods, access to support organisations and social networks. Life events such as the birth of a child or relocation challenge everyday routines, requiring adaptation to a new situation and new demands. Individuals that recently moved to another city are confronted with a new surrounding which has to be appropriated it in a way that suits their everyday needs. But also parents having their first child might experience new needs concerning the infrastructural possibilities in their surrounding.

The project “Life events as windows of opportunity for change towards sustainable consumption patterns” is addressing individuals that recently got their first child or moved to Berlin with a sustainable consumption campaign. The evaluation of the campaign considers both, the ‘objective’ surrounding of the participants in terms of available infrastructure for sustainable consumption and the ‘subjective’ surrounding investigating how individuals are appropriating their surrounding and incorporate it in the organisation of their daily life.

This presentation will concentrate on perception and appropriation of space by individuals that just moved to Berlin.

The process of adaptation is investigated through problem-centred interviews revealing narratives about the life event itself as well as daily consumption in the fields of energy, nutrition and mobility. The presented results will focus on processes of familiarization within the altered situation and the identification of different types of appropriation of space. Besides developing models of how altered life situations and infrastructures interact, this study attempts to discover starting points for interventions promoting more sustainable consumption.

The research to be presented is part of the “Life events as windows of opportunity for change towards sustainable consumption patterns” project, which is funded by the Social-ecological Research Program of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.