ClairCity newsletter ClairCity newsletter January 2018 - Page 3

A human problem A world of chimneys For many years, air quality policy has assumed that clean air and carbon reductions could be largely achieved through technological measures. Up to now, air quality management has created a world populated by chimneys and vehicles, analysed through forecasting and models built upon average usage characteristics and emission factors, and consisting of polluting machines and objects. However, there has been little consideration of the people and the social frameworks which lead to these objects and emissions. This leaves human behaviour to remain ‘Business As Usual,’ for example by introducing cleaner cars, but allowing traffic flows to continue increasing. As well as innovative modelling and broad public engagement, ClairCity is bringing a new theoretical dimension to air quality management Where are the people? Despite great successes at the end of the last century, the process of cleaning up (particularly light duty) vehicles has been shown to have problems, locking in relatively new but poorly performing cars into vehicle fleets for a decade or more. It is becoming increasingly evident that we will need changes to both behaviour and lifestyles to achieve our social and environmental goals, not just in terms of air pollution, but also co-benefits in terms of greenhouse gases, noise, public space and so forth. To overcome the failure to incorporate people into the picture, we need to find a significant role for social science in air quality management. Social science approaches that put human behaviour at the heart of the analytical frame can help to re-frame air pollution as a human problem rather than a purely technical one. Shifting the field In support of this shift in air quality management, related fields have already addressed some similar concerns. There has been considerable behavioural research in the areas of transport and energy consumption, but there is little direct involvement of air quality management processes with the basic evidence base. Where more behavioural measures are taken up into air quality management plans, this appears to have been done from selecting a set of off the shelf measures rather than a greater involvement and understanding of the social science evidence and research behind it. The aim of ClairCity is to lead air quality policy and management towards a social science approach, demonstrating the evidence, methods and outputs that can be implemented. Through the work in our six pilot cities and regions, we will be able to establish how putting citizens at the centre of air quality management can be successfully achieved. Tim Chatterton, Laura De Vito, Eva Csobod, Peter Szuppinger and Gabor Heves. A longer version of this article appears on the ClairCity website. This is an edited extract from the ClairCity report “Review of Social Science in Air Quality and Carbon Management” which will be publicly available in mid-2018. 3