Environment, Development and Sustainability

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 325–354 | Cite as

Innovative solutions for averting a potential resource crisis—the case of one-person households in England and Wales

  • Jo Williams
Original Paper


This paper seeks to test the hypothesis that growth in one-person households will increase the domestic consumption of energy, land and household goods in England and Wales. It concludes that if current consumer behaviour of one-person households persists there will be a significant increase in the consumption of all three resources in the future. However, it argues that that many opportunities exist in England and Wales for tackling this problem. For example the new housing programme, increasing ability amongst one-person households to afford “green alternatives” and the search amongst some one-person households for alternative lifestyles (which could be potentially more resource efficient). The paper suggests that providing one-person households with opportunities to live in more resource efficient housing and adopt pro-environmental behaviour could significantly reduce their future environmental impact. Various design, fiscal and awareness-raising solutions are presented in the paper and their viability is assessed. These include ecological homes, collective housing forms, occupancy tax, relocation packages, educational programmes and targeted advertising campaigns. The paper proposes that using a combination of these more innovative solutions to the problem could significantly reduce the future environmental impact of one-person households.


Household size One-person households Domestic resource consumption Housing Ecological development 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Bartlett School of PlanningUniversity College LondonLondonUK

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