Centre for Applied Research on Social Sciences and Law

Psychology for Sustainable Cities

Human behaviour: the key to sustainability

The Netherlands aspires to become more sustainable. Natural resources are running out, temperatures on earth are rising and the population is increasing.

Governments and businesses are seeking ways to reduce our ecological footprint: towards a non-dependency of fossil fuels, CO2 neutral transportation and a circular use of raw materials.

These transitions require great behavioural changes of citizens, the challenge is how to involve them in these large societal shifts. Technology is often already available and increasing numbers of people recognise the importance of sustainability. Yet, adopting sustainable behaviour still seems a very big effort for most people.

What are the incentives that will truly motivate people to change their behaviour when it comes to sustainability? And how could we encourage this?

As behaviour experts, researchers at the research group Psychology for Sustainable Cities seek answers to these types of questions.

The research group focuses primarily on three themes:

1. Sustainable mobility

How to get employees out of their cars by encouraging them to choose more sustainable alternatives such as bicycles and public transport?

2. Energy transition

How to involve citizens and entrepreneurs in sustainable government initiatives such as phasing out the use of natural gas? How to tackle potential resistance?

3. Circular economy

How to motivate citizens and entrepreneurs to separate waste? How to channel people's enthusiasm and energy into efforts increasing the sustainability of neighbourhoods?

  dr. R.J. Renes (Reint Jan)

Professor of Psychology for Sustainable Cities

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