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Healthier, More Equitable and Sustainable Europe by 2040? Here Is What European Citizens Have to Say!

Citizens of five different European countries unanimously agree that there is a need for a systemic change towards more sustainable and better lives. However, when it comes to achieving this, where do they agree and differ? The INHERIT focus group analytical report provides insights to citizens’ perceptions!

The CSCP’s INHERIT team has recently published the ‘Citizen Insights for a Healthier, more Equitable and Sustainable Europe by 2040’ report, which is comprised of the analytical results of citizen consultations conducted in five European countries, namely the Czech Republic, Germany, Macedonia, Spain and the UK.

The report provides insights into citizens’ perceptions, behavioural drivers and challenges, among others, in relation to the previously developed and reported INHERIT positive future scenarios, that depict four alternate narratives of healthier, more equitable and sustainable European societies throughout four living areas: green spaces, energy efficient housing, mobility and consumption.

From the four future scenarios, ‘My life between realities’, which is dominated by technological advances and virtual reality, was deemed the most controversial among citizens, mainly due to its prominent technological attributes and influence. In the report, the reader delves into the details of citizens’ diverging views about the challenges and benefits of the perpetual technological developments.

“I don’t know if it is possible or not [the scenario ‘My life between realities’], but I hope it doesn’t happen. It doesn’t provide you with what it should, it dehumanizes” (Spain, 32, Middle Income)

The increased share of green spaces and its contribution to more relaxed, calm and healthier living patterns drove the citizens’ preference about the ‘Less is more to me’ scenario. Citizens perceived the developments of this scenario to contributing towards more egalitarian European societies.

“I liked ‘Less is more to me’, with more green spaces where [the person in the scenario] said there had been only parking lots and houses everywhere and it wasn’t like that before and now we have green and fresh air and less exhaust fumes everywhere, which is also very important. I thought that was great.” (Germany, 36, Middle Income)

The most appealing scenario, according to European citizens, was the ‘One for all, all for one’ scenario, mainly due to its strong focus on communality, locality and mutual support. The backbone of this preference was the participants high appreciation of social and family cohesion.

“It spoke to me the most, because it’s about human relationships […]. So, it’s about helping and sharing […]” (the Czech Republic, 44, Low Income)

Lastly, ‘Our circular community’ was also found appealing mainly due to its inclusion of citizens in socio-economic affairs and the promotion of resource efficient models of production and consumption.

“It is getting away from throwaway society. Repair things and make things last longer like they used to rather than changing it every few years or throwing away materials.” (UK, 69, High Income)

Unanimously, European citizens reinforced the need for systemic change and agreed that various scenario developments (also in combination) could lead to a future in which better and more egalitarian lives are made reality.

To find out more and explore further European citizens’ mindsets take a look at the report!

For further questions, please contact Rosa Strube.