Are the Right Actors Taking the Right Action? - Climate Change Management in Finnish Urban Housing

Riikka Kyrö

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


    Anthropogenic climate change is one of the most severe environmental challenges facing the planet today, and it is certainly one of the most debated. The built environment is a known major culprit, and cities as consumption centers account for a large share of the world’s consumption-based carbon footprint. It may well be argued that urban communities are at the very core of the climate change problem. The five individual studies included in the dissertation provide an understanding of the most significant urban activities generating GHG emissions, and the potential of different actions and actors to mitigate them. The research was conducted on three different scales addressing the issue from the viewpoint of individual city dwellers, urban housing companies, and finally, cities. For an individual city dweller, some 40% of the carbon footprint was found to derive from housing related activities, indicating a need to further study the impact of urban housing. The results on the housing company scale showed that, in the context of multi-family housing, occupant behavior has only limited influence on the overall energy consumption and consequent carbon footprint. Instead, housing managers who are responsible for the most significant source of GHG emissions, the heating system, appeared more influential. It was further discovered that housing managers’ attitudes and practices differ, and that the differences affect the carbon footprint. The dissertation argues that the social constructiveness of the climate change issue should be acknowledged and considered in planning for mitigation action. More attention should be paid to the management and motivation of individuals, particularly on the housing manager and individual city dweller level. On the policy maker level, while ensuring prompt action, a vigorous attempt to establish the true effects of the action should be maintained. The research concludes that no single action or actor will suffice in mitigating the climate change impact of urban communities. Within the context of urban communities, it would be of essence to improve interaction between the three studies scales (Individual – Housing Company – City). This would in turn require enhancing communication between the threeidentified decision makers (City Dweller – Manager – Policy maker) acting on said scales.
    Translated title of the contributionIlmastonmuutoksen hallinta suomalaisessa kaupunkiasumisessa
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor's degree
    Awarding Institution
    • Aalto University
    • Junnila, Seppo, Supervising Professor
    Print ISBNs978-952-60-5021-8
    Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-5022-5
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


    • carbon footprint
    • life-cycle assessment (LCA)
    • LCA
    • climate change management
    • mitigation action
    • urban communities
    • housing

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