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

Original Paper

Abstract

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.

Keywords

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

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. An, L., Liu, J., Ouyang, Z., Lindeman, M. A., Zhou, S., & Zhang, H. (2001). Simulating demographic and socio-economic processes on household level and implications for giant panda habitats. Ecology, 140, 31–50.Google Scholar
  2. Bennett, J., & Dixon, M. (2006). Single person households and social policy: Looking forwards. York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.Google Scholar
  3. Building Research Establishment (BRE) Ecohomes Rating (2006) http://www.breeam.org/ecohomes.html.Google Scholar
  4. Chandler, J., Williams, M., Maconachie, M., Collett, T., & Dodgeon, B. (2004). Living alone: its place in household formation and change. Sociological Research Online (9) 3. Available at www.socresonline.org.uk/9/3/chandler.html.Google Scholar
  5. Cincotta, R., & Engelman, R. (2000a). Nature’s place: Human population and the future of biological diversity. Washington DC: Population Action International.Google Scholar
  6. Cincotta, R., Wisnewski, J., & Engelman, R. (2000b). Human population in the biodiversity hotspots. Nature, 404, 990–992.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Department for Communities and Local Government (2006). Proposals for introducing a code for sustainable homes—a consultation paper. London: DCLG.Google Scholar
  8. Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions (1997). 1991 English housing conditions survey: Energy supplement. London: DETR.Google Scholar
  9. Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1998). Rethinking construction: The report of the Construction Task Force. London: DETR.Google Scholar
  10. Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions (2000a). Waste strategy for England and Wales. London: DETR.Google Scholar
  11. Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions (2000b). Planning policy guidance note 3: Housing. London: DETR.Google Scholar
  12. Department of Trade and Industry and Office of National Statistics (2004). Energy consumption in the United Kingdom. London: DTI.Google Scholar
  13. Dompka, V. (1996). Human population, biodiversity and protected areas, science and policy issues. Washington, DC: American Association for the Advancement of Science.Google Scholar
  14. Durning, A (1992). How much is enough? The consumer society and the future of the earth. London: Earthscan Publications.Google Scholar
  15. Durrenberger, G., Patzel, N., & Hartmann, C. (2001). Household energy consumption in Switzerland. Inernational Journal of Environmental Pollution, 15, 159–170.Google Scholar
  16. Environment Agency (2004). Environmental Facts and Figures—www.environment-agency.gov.uk.Google Scholar
  17. Enviros Consulting Limited (October 2004). International waste prevention and reduction practice. London: DEFRA.Google Scholar
  18. European Union (1999). Council Directive 1999/31/EC Landfill of Waste.Google Scholar
  19. European Union (2001). Council Directive 2001/42/EC Carbon Dioxide Emissions.Google Scholar
  20. European Union (2003). Council Directive 2003/87/EC Strategic Environmental Assessment.Google Scholar
  21. Evandrou, M., Falkingham, J., Rake, K., & Scott, A. (2001). The dynamics of living arrangements in later life: Preliminary findings. SAGE Discussion Paper no. 4 SAGEDP/04. London: London School of Economics.Google Scholar
  22. Fawcett, T., Hurst, A., & Boardman, B. (2002). Carbon in the UK economy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Global Action Plan: www.globalactionplan.org.uk (2002).Google Scholar
  24. Goldscheider, F. K., & Waite, L. J. (1991). New families, no families? Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  25. Government Actuary's Department (GAD) (2005). Population projections by the Government Actuary, 2004 based principal projection London: TSO.Google Scholar
  26. Great Britain (2002). Building regulations 2002. Statutory Instrument No. 2872. London: HMSO.Google Scholar
  27. Great Britain (2003). Sustainable energy act 2003. London: HMSO.Google Scholar
  28. Great Britain (2004). Planning and compulsory purchase act. London: HMSO.Google Scholar
  29. Hall, R., Ogden, P., Hill, C. (1997). The Pattern and structure of one-person households in England, Wales and France. International Journal of Population Geography, 3(2), 161–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hamnett, C. (1994). Social polarization in global cities: theory and evidence. Urban Studies, 31, 401–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Harvey, D. (1989). The condition of postmodernity. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  32. Herring (2001). Does communal living save energy? International Communal Studies Association, Communal Living on the Threshold of a New Millennium: Lessons and Perspectives, Proceedings of the 7th International Communal Studies Conference, 2001.Google Scholar
  33. Holdren, J., & Ehrlich, P., (1974). Human population and the global environment. American Scientist, 62, 282–292.Google Scholar
  34. Hooper, A., Dunmore, K., & Hughes, M., (1998). Home alone: Volumes 1 and 2. Amersham: National House Building Council.Google Scholar
  35. International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (2001). Towards greener households—producers, packaging and energy. London: INCPEN.Google Scholar
  36. Ironmonger, D. S., Aitken, C. K., & Erbas, B., (1995). Economies of scale in energy use in adult-only households. Energy Economics, 17, 301–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Joint Centre for Housing Studies Harvard (2002). State of the nations housing 2002, Joint Centre for Housing Studies, Harvard.Google Scholar
  38. Kaufmann, J. (1994). Les ménages d’une personne en Europe. Population, 49, 935–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kaul, S., & Liu, Q. (1992). Rural household energy use in China. Energy, 17, 405–411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Liu, Daily, Ehrich and Luck (2003). Effects of household dynamics on resource consumption and biodiversity. Nature, 421, 530–533.Google Scholar
  41. MacKellar, F. L., Lutz, W., Prinz, C., & Goujon, A. (1995). Population, households, and CO2 emissions. Population Development Review, 21, 849–865.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Meltzer, G. (2001). Co-Housing Bringing Communalism to the World? International Communal Studies Association, Communal Living on the Threshold of a New Millennium: Lessons and␣Perspectives, Proceedings of the 7th International Communal Studies Conference, 2001 (pp. 25–27).Google Scholar
  43. Noorman, K., & Uiterkamp, T. (1998). Green households: Domestic consumers, environment and sustainability. London: Earthscan Publications.Google Scholar
  44. Office of Deputy Prime Minister (2000). Under-occupation in social housing. London: HMSO.Google Scholar
  45. Office of Deputy Prime Minister (2006). New projections of households for England and the Regions to 2026, ODPM Statistical Release 2006/0042. London: HMSO.Google Scholar
  46. Office for National Statistics (1992). Family expenditure survey 1991. London: HMSO.Google Scholar
  47. Office National Statistics (2003). Family spending 2001–2002. London: HMSO.Google Scholar
  48. Office National Statistics (2003). Census 2001. London: HMSO.Google Scholar
  49. Ropke, I. (2001). The environmental impact of changing consumption patterns: A survey. International Journal of Environment and Pollution, 15(2), 127–145.Google Scholar
  50. Rothman, D. (1998). Environmental kuznets curves—real progress or passing the buck? A case for consumption based approaches. Ecological Economics, 25, 177–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Roussel, L. (1983). Les ménages d’une personne: l’évolution récente. Population, 38, 995–1015.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Roy, R., & Caird, S. (2001). Footprints on the Carpet. Town and Country Planning, 70(10), 277–279.Google Scholar
  53. Santi, L. (1988). The demographic context of recent change in the structure of American households. Demography, 25, 509–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Simpson, J. (2003). Greenwich Millennium Village Survey of Residents, Countryside Homes and Taylor Woodrow.Google Scholar
  55. Smith, A., Wasoff, F., & Jamieson, L. (2005). CRFR Briefing 20: Solo living across the adult lifecourse. Edinburgh: Centre for Research on Families and Relationships (CRFR). Available at http://www.crfr.ac.uk/briefingslist.htm#rb20.Google Scholar
  56. Smith, M., Whitelegg, J., & Williams, N. (1998). Greening the built environment. London: Earthscan.Google Scholar
  57. Strode, M. (1996). Single person households: the future and the present characteristics. In Hooper et al. (1998) (ed.), Home alone: Vol 2. Amersham: National House Building Council.Google Scholar
  58. Wall, R. (1989). Leaving home and living alone: a historical perspective. Population Studies, 43, 369–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Williams, J. (2005a). Sun, Surf and Sustainability – Comparison of the Cohousing Experience in California and the UK, International Planning Studies Journal 10/2.Google Scholar
  60. Williams, J. (2005b). Homes for the Future—Accommodating One-Person Households the Sustainable Way! Town and Country Planning Journal (April 2005).Google Scholar
  61. Williams, J. (2005c). Designing Neighbourhoods for Social Interaction – The Case of Cohousing, Journal of Urban Design10/3.Google Scholar
  62. Witte, J. (1988). Formation and Dissolution of One-Person Households in the United States and West Germany, Sociology and Social Research Vol. 73, October, 1988 (pp. 31–41).Google Scholar
  63. Yousif, H. (1995). Population, biomass and the environment in central Sudan. International Journal for Sustainable Development andWorld Ecology, 2, 54–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Bartlett School of PlanningUniversity College LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations