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"Sharpest tool in the shed" by Lachlan is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Photo: "Sharpest tool in the shed" by Lachlan is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Consumer Demand for Circular Urban Living (CDCUL)

Do consumers perceive homes as more valueable if they include access to sharing services? CDCUL is a multi-national research project that will use choice modelling and other methods to determine whether consumers are willing to pay extra to share appliances, facilities, and spaces with their neighbors.  

This project examines whether, and the extent to which, individuals in different European contexts are willing to pay for urban housing amenities that encourage sharing. One pathway toward achieving the low-consumption goals of the Circular Economy is by sharing appliances, spaces, and facilities that are typically owned and accessed by isolated households.

European efforts to achieve the goals of the Circular Economy must reconcile a fast-growing cohort of single-person households. Each year more Europeans are living alone: Between 2009 and 2021, growth in the number of “single adult” households outpaced growth in all other household types by far, from 60.2 million to 76.7 million (27.4 percent growth) (Eurostat, 2022a). Meanwhile, in the same period “couple” households grew only about 4.0 percent and all other household types declined in number. “Single adult, childless” households now constitute the majority (50.9 percent) of total households in Sweden, 41 percent of households in the Netherlands, 34 percent of households in Slovenia, and approximately 36 percent of total households in the European Union (Eurostat, 2022b). In short: it has become increasingly common for individuals to live alone, in relatively larger units equipped with an exclusive set of appliances, accessories, and furniture. Residential sharing may help slow or reverse these trends, yet integrating such opportunities into residential development could be seen as a risk to housing developers as there is little knowledge about how consumers value different types of sharing opportunities in or near their home.

The primary goal of this study is thus to understand whether including shared-access amenities as part of a residential offering influences consumers’ willingness to pay for housing. 

Secondly, the study will examine in which contexts and with which customer segments housing developers and architects can profit by encouraging amenity sharing among residents. 

Thirdly, results will be compared to existing residential design standards and shared with building and design professionals to determine how sharing opportunities can be integrated systematically into future residential building projects. The study will use online surveys that help determine consumer preferences plus in-depth qualitative methods to examine how opportunities to share appliances, spaces, and other facilities influences individuals’ willingness to pay for urban housing. We will draw from large, randomized samples of adults in three countires: Sweden, The Netherlands, and Slovenia to determine how consumers' willingness to pay for residential sharing varies across international contexts. Sampling will allow researchers to test the influences of respondents' age, gender, income, household structure, and urban/suburban/rural location to identify potential customer segments for circular housing. Researchers from all three countries will collaborate with housing developers, architects, urban public authorities, and special interest groups to co-design survey items and data collection methods so that results offer insights into existing and upcoming residential development projects. Understanding whether, where, and among what types of customers the demand for circular housing solutions already exists could help encourage the production of circular housing options and speed up transitions for sustainability.

This project is managed by researchers at RISE Research Institiutes of Sweden. The Swedish research team will oversee project goals and coordinate budgeting, internal communication, and communication with funding agencies. RISE researchers will also contribute all other portions of the project including focus groups, article composition, and external communication. RISE researchers will be leading the core data collectioin and analysis portion of the project, specifically with regard to web-based surveys and choice modelling. RISE researchers will be supported by professionals from Krook & Tjäder Architects, MKB Fästigets (Malmö), and housing developer Riksbyggen. These industry partners will help develop a survey questions for Swedish housing consumers and ensure that the results of the research are delivered in a way that is relevant and inspiring to the Swedish housing industry.

Supports the UN sustainability goals

11. Sustainable cities and communities
12. Responsible consumption and production
Robert Boyer
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