Do Neighbourhood Environmental Perceptions Affect Practices?


For cities to make progress on their sustainability goals, a better understanding of community-level perceptions of change are needed because they are a key factor in re-shaping social practices. Drawing on survey data from four Atlantic Canadian cities we look at changing perceptions and practices related to use of public transportation and green spaces. Using social practice theory, we examine whether perceptions of local environmental change correlates with increasing pro-environmental practices. We also assess whether length of time spent in a neighbourhood increases pro-environmental practices and consider the effect of several socio-demographic characteristics. Our results show that perceptions of environmental change and time spent in a neighbourhood affect the likelihood of changing pro-environmental practices. The data offer support for social practice theory as an explanatory framework for understanding changing environmental habits, which can be drawn upon to meet sustainable development goals.

Author Biographies

Mark CJ Stoddart, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Prof. Mark CJ Stoddart is Professor in the Department of Sociology at Memorial University.

Emma Cruddas, Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Dalhousie University

Emma Cruddas is an MA graduate from the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology at Dalhousie University.

Howard Ramos, Department of Sociology, University of Western Ontario

Prof. Howard Ramos is Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Western Ontario.