Eco-Homes for all: Why the socio-cultural matters in encouraging eco-building


The Institute for the Study of Social Change and the School of Social Sciences present a visiting scholar seminar.

Start Date

24th Jan 2017 1:00pm

End Date

24th Jan 2017 2:00pm


Room 210, Social Sciences Building, Sandy Bay campus

RSVP / Contact Information

E:, T: 62261587

Presented by

Professor Jenny Pickerill

University of Sheffield

Encouraging more eco-homes remains a difficult task hindered by risk adversity, lack of knowledge and skills, reliance on technological fixes, infrastructure issues and certain expectations of comfort and convenience. In part the lack of progress is a result of many government policy agendas that prioritise technological approaches to eco-housing, a highly competitive land market economy and conservative construction industries. There is a tension between the social (people, societal norms and structures) and the material (and technological features - the walls, technological systems, windows etc) of eco-homes. In order to fully understand eco-homes these elements cannot be examined in isolation. This paper uses an analysis of four socio-cultural elements (desire, human agency, place and comfort) to explore what they reveal about eco-homes and how they challenge existing norms. For each of these elements a balance is sought between acquiescing existing norms and challenging them by proposing new daily practices and landscapes, with the hope that eco-homes may flourish.

Jenny Pickerill is a Professor of Environmental Geography at Sheffield University, UK. She has recently published a book ‘Eco-Homes’ (Zed books) based on fieldwork in five countries examining self-build affordable eco-housing, and is writing another book on eco-communities around the world. She has published 3 books and over 30 articles on themes around environmentalism and grassroot solutions.