An approach for innovative Climate Learning, Evaluation and Action in Neighbourhoods – CLEANcultures

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Bottom-up initiatives by individuals and communities have been seen essential to increase acceptance of, and engagement in climate related actions. Yet, conventional strategies addressing these groups often fail to provoke a change in perspectives and actions: policy actions do not reach the ground level of individual behaviour, and top-down measures are proposed without engaging local citizens. Having the feeling of not being heard nor included in the decision-making processes discourages people from joining climate mitigation actions. To address these issues, CLEANcultures project is developing an innovative concept to include local citizens with bottom-up approaches in climate-related local discourses, including both mitigation and adaptation actions, and thereby aims to initiate transformative learning processes to tackle climate change by addressing neighbourhoods as target groups.
In the project, case studies are conducted in Austria, Finland, Norway and Italy in nine different neighbourhoods that range from larger urban suburbs in the Austrian and Italian cases with many thousands of inhabitants to small rural communities with 500-3000 residents in the Finnish and Norwegian cases. Each neighbourhood is facing different local climate change mitigation and adaptation related challenges regarding e.g., acceptance of drastically increasing amount of wind power, securing sustainable land use and mobility, increasing amount of ecotourism, new waste management solutions, needs for energy renovations and securing the foundations of houses due to increased precipitation levels.
The neighbourhoods are invited to engage in processes that consist of iterative and interactive periods of impulses, discussion, and reflection to unlock the local capacity to address the problems. We set unusual, creative thematic intervention impulses to not only provide neighbourhoods with facts about climate change, but also to address their emotions and attitudes. For example, we have worked with impro music groups, clown theatre and arranged a drawing competition for kids. Interventions include elements such as providing information and perspectives, which contradict with views of the participants, providing inputs in a form that is not expected by the participants, and situating abstract problems in the direct life experiences of the participants. These elements enable self-examination and assessment of assumptions, and free and open discourse. Emotional arousal is also critical, as lack of hope may undermine an individual’s response and collective efficacy, which are essential for motivating actions to solve problems. Through this, neighbourhoods are enabled to broaden their view on climate change and their possibilities to act responsibly on climate change related concrete problems, including impacts of actions on climate change mitigation and adaptation.
This learning process at micro-level allows a better understanding of small-scale societal systems dynamics, in terms of climate change awareness, empowerment and decision making in transforming processes. At ECCA we present results from the neighbourhoods analysis including local climate culture, relevant local problems, differences and commonalities between the different cases and examples, and share experiences with the concept of using unusual interventions to initiate local actions. CLEANcultures consortium unites interdisciplinary scientific competences, within Social Sciences and Humanities, natural sciences and technical disciplines.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2023
MoE publication typeNot Eligible
Event6th European Conference on Climate Change Adaptation, ECCA 2023 - Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 19 Jun 202321 Jun 2023


Conference6th European Conference on Climate Change Adaptation, ECCA 2023


  • bottom-up
  • collective efficacy
  • neighborhoods
  • climate attitude
  • climate change adaptation
  • Citizen engagement
  • climate change mitigation


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