Net zero sense of place

IDRIC Project MIP 3.4

Background

Sense of place is a geographical concept that encompasses the branding of spatial areas, as well as the lived experience and place attachments of local communities. This project will investigate how the process of decarbonisation involves transformations to the sense of place of industrial areas, based on the recognition that industrial decarbonisation is inherently a contested place-making process.

In so doing, this project seeks to produce an integrative framework guiding a socially acceptable, place-based process of decarbonisation and path to net zero emissions that will positively impact UK industrial clusters and offer guidance for decarbonisation elsewhere.

Prof Patrick Devine-Wright

Prof Patrick Devine-Wright

Principal Investigator
University of Exeter

Project Team

University of Exeter:

Dr Huei-Ling Lai
Dr Jo Hamilton

Project Aims

  • Reveal geographical and emotional aspects of industrial decarbonisation that might otherwise remain implicit in the process.
  • Identify divergences within and between stakeholders and communities about their place visions for a net zero future.
  • Create spaces of dialogue and creative problem solving that will facilitate the creation of acceptable and legitimate place-based pathways of decarbonisation.
  • Foster a culture of inclusive place-making that will benefit processes of decarbonisation within and across industrial clusters.

More Detail

Despite the significance of sense of place for social acceptance of decarbonisation technologies, ways that sense of place are implicated in, and impacted by, UK industrial decarbonisation has been overlooked by research to date.

Why place matters in industrial decarbonisation: Net zero technological innovation is fundamentally social, spatial and political in character. Yet research indicates that cultural issues such as sense of place are often overlooked by stakeholders when managing transformative change, increasing the risk of potential antipathy or animosity by local communities directly impacted by the siting of novel infrastructures or technologies.

This project will ensure that such issues are made explicit in industrial decarbonisation, benefiting public,private and civil society stakeholders in three studied clusters (Scotland,South Wales, and North West).

Meet the Team

 

Dr Huei-Ling Lai

Dr Huei-Ling Lai

University of Exeter

Dr Jo Hamilton

Dr Jo Hamilton

University of Exeter

Dr Huei-Ling Lai

Dr Huei-Ling Lai

University of Exeter

Dr Jo Hamilton

Dr Jo Hamilton

University of Exeter

Case Study/Progress

This project will investigate how stakeholders such as local authorities and economic partnerships in six industrial clusters are creating a ‘net zero’ sense of place with a distinct local identity, fostering innovation, attracting inward investment and recruiting skilled workers.

Second, the project will reveal community lived experience and local knowledge, including place attachments and identities, in three cluster case studies (Grangemouth, Merseyside and South Wales, aiming to reach remaining clusters in a potential follow-up study). These tasks will be achieved using an innovative mixed-method approach.

Third, workshops will be held in each case study cluster to compare visions of place-based decarbonisation between stakeholder and community participants. Collectively, the research approach will produce an integrative framework guiding a socially acceptable, place-based process of decarbonisation and path to net zero emissions that will positively impact UK industrial clusters and offer guidance for decarbonisation elsewhere.

Planned Outputs

This project aims at producing journal publications and written reports on the theme of each phase.

Key quarterly reports include:

  • Report on net zero cluster building and place branding
  • Secondment reports
  • Qualitative research of selected communities in the studied cluster areas
  • Workshop reports
  • End-of-project report

Associated Outputs