Negotiating Everyday Sustainabilities

UN Sustainable Development Goals

This platform is working towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals:

Goal 2: Zero Hunger  Goal 3: Good Health and Wellbeing  Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy  Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth  Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.  Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production  Goal 15: Life on Land  Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals

Everyday sustainabilities have social and environmental dimensions. These impact the lives of individuals, households, communities and organisations – in our own region, and across the world. In our day-to-day functioning we all reckon with, and adjust to, changes occurring at much larger scales. Equally, the knowledges we possess, the decisions we make and the actions we take feed back into broader processes, with potentially wide-reaching ramifications. For example, people’s everyday activities enable households to function and are integral to how energy, water and food are consumed and saved. Refrigerators, cars, bicycles, cups, clothes, taps, air-conditioners, dwelling types and building fabrics all shape how we use and impact our material world.

Our research attends to the intricacies of everyday life. We are informed by lived experience and attuned to the knowledges and capacities of diverse people and communities. Our work is change-oriented, framed by an awareness that with engagement comes responsibility: to work alongside research participants and partners for social and environmental justice.

Research questions

  • What methods offer insights into the material and expressive dimensions of everyday sustainabilities?
  • How does thinking through the spaces of everyday life shed light on processes of inclusion and exclusion?
  • How does the concept of difference enrich our understanding of everyday sustainabilities and strengthen our abilities to cope with change?
  • How might we recognise, value and learn from the knowledges and capacities of diverse groups?

Photo credit: first photo - Anthony Kerr, third photo - Chris Barbalis

ACCESS Research and the UN Sustainable Development Goals

The ACCESS SDG report outlines our current research projects that are contributing to the UN SDGs.

Read the ACCESS SDG report (PDF 1.7mb)
Field of corn with wind turbines on horizon

Current projects include

Researchers

  • Associate Professor Natascha Klocker (University of Wollongong)
  • Dr Olivia Dun (University of Melbourne)
  • Dr Paul Hodge (University of Newcastle)
  • Ms Eliza Crosbie (University of Newcastle)
  • Mr Emmanuel Musoni (Great Lakes Agency for Peace and Development International)

Project Description

The Great South Coast Economic Migration Project (GSCEMP) is a secondary settlement project that supports the voluntary relocation of migrants and former refugees from the Great Lakes region of Africa who currently live in Australian cities, to the Southern Grampians and Glenelg Shires in regional Victoria. It is framed by an understanding that some migrants have a desire to live in rural areas, but benefit from various support mechanisms when making that transition. This research project was an evaluation designed to document the key learnings of the GSCEMP from the perspective of the relocated families, destination communities and implementing organisations (LGSC, GLAPDI and iGen Foundation). The project has contributed to the evidence-base underpinning academic scholarship and government policy pertaining to rural and regional settlement of migrants and former refugees.

Funding

The work was supported by a UOW Faculty Partnership Grant with funds contributed by the Faculty of the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (UOW) and the Victorian Government 2018-2019.

Project partners

Outcomes

Researchers

Project description

Australia faces the crucial question of how to address rising energy costs in the transition to more environmentally sustainable and socially just energy futures. In this context, energy justice is an urgent political and ethical issue.  Only in 2003 were energy efficiency regulations introduced for Australian houses. Hence, most Australian housing requires large amounts of energy for both artificial heating and cooling. With energy justice in mind, the goals of this transdisciplinary project are to better understand how to conduct cost-effective upgrades to improve the energy efficiency of housing stock of lower income households. 

Funding

Corporative Research Centre (CRC) for Low Carbon Living and Office of Environment and Heritage (2017-2018)

Low Income Energy Efficiency Program (LIEEP), Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism (2014-2016)

Outcomes

Indicative publications

Other outcomes

Social marketing elements included unique brand development, facts and narratives designed to encourage reflections and open-up conversations between peers. These were delivered through newsletters, videos, LCD brochures and a project website

Retrofitting elements ranged from installation of roof and underfloor insulation, through solar hot water and reverse-cycle air conditioning systems, to draught-stripping, lighting, refrigerators and energy consumption displays. Household ethnographies were used to developed insights which informed a consultation process with households in regard to the selection of retrofits.

Workshops and training delivered to the wider community were twofold. The first was based on teaching older low-income people how to access energy efficiency information online using iPads. The second focused on courses for health and community care workers to improve skills on how to convey energy efficiency information in their everyday interactions with clients.

Researchers

Project description

The study aims to identify the human drivers and barriers to area-wide management of weeds by exploring the attitudes of various land managers and other stakeholders. It achieves this understanding through: a literature review of existing social research on area-wide management in cropping systems, qualitative interviews with 81 key stakeholders, and a quantitative survey of 600 growers. 

It forms part of the broader project: Area-wide management for cropping systems weeds, investigating the weed management, social and economic opportunity. The broader project involves 11 research and development partners, including IREC, and spans the Riverina, Sunraysia and Darling Downs, along with some other smaller sites, to gain a diverse understanding of weed management issues. 

Funding

2021 Commonwealth Department of Agriculture R&D for Profit Program Round 4, with co-funding from Grains Research and Development Corporation and Cotton Research and Development Corporation

Researchers

Project Description

Pacific labour mobility is a major component of the Australian Government Pacific Step-up initiative, and is closely connected to initiatives among Pacific Island Countries (PICS) which have re-prioritised agricultural production and food security as a COVID-19 recovery strategy. At the intersection of these, there is a yet largely underexplored opportunity for understanding how farm workers involved in labour mobility programs between Australia and PICs develop innovative agricultural skills and new agricultural knowledge through their engagement on Australian farms. 

This research aims to understand barriers and enablers for agricultural skills and knowledge exchange between Pacific Islander and Australian farmers involved in Australia’s Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP). This research project will analyse the different agri-food systems skills and knowledges acquired across selected value chains through interviews and focus group discussions with workers in Australia and selected PICs. It will identify opportunities for learning, capacity development and knowledge exchange between countries to support future food systems resilience in the Pacific Islands region. 

Funding

ACIAR, 2021 

Partners

Researchers

  • Associate Professor Natascha Klocker (University of Wollongong)
  • Associate Professor Rae Dufty-Jones (Western Sydney University)
  • Dr Paul Hodge (University of Newcastle)
  • Dr Celia McMichael (University of Melbourne)
  • Dr Karen Block (University of Melbourne)
  • Mr Neil Barber (Australian Red Cross Society)
  • Ms Talia Stump (Multicultural NSW) 

Project Description

Regional humanitarian settlement is a key priority across all levels of government in Australia. This study aims to provide the first longitudinal assessment of the impacts of regional settlement for humanitarian migrants and destination communities. Its innovative, mixed-method and multi-sited approach will generate new knowledge of the opportunities and challenges for sustainable regional settlement. Expected outcomes include enhanced community, organisational and government decision-making capacity. By guiding end-users’ current and future actions, the study will support the wellbeing of humanitarian migrants and contribute to healthy and resilient regional communities. 

Funding

ARC Linkage Project: 2021-2025 

Partners

Researchers

Project Description 

Car mobility is often taken for granted. Yet, many people rely on car journeys on an everyday basis, with little of thought of not having the ability to drive. This project seeks to better understand driving a car in the lives of people aged over 65 years of age. Specifically, the project aim is to gain a better understanding about the relationship between car mobility and everyday life of senior Australians. In doing so, the project will shed insights into the challenges that senior car drivers face in the future who do not have a plan for driving retirement. 

Funding 

Transport NSW, Community Road Safety Grants

Outcomes 

Decision aid for senior drivers on driving retirement. 

Publications 

Driving retirement: melancholic geographies of car immobility in an Australian suburban regional centre 

 

Researchers 

Project Description 

There is an optimism around cycling as a potential fix for Australia's growing traffic congestion problem. Yet, despite multiple plans, the number of commuter cyclists has failed to grow in all of the major cities, despite the fact that leisure cycling is growing exponentially. This research aims to offer new knowledge about commuter cycling in Australia. It seeks to provide evidence about what cycling enables people to achieve through analysis of a database of media discourses, policies and most importantly the experiences of cyclists. Expected outcomes include an enhanced understanding of cycling as a ‘solution’ to traffic congestion and improved policy strategies for increasing purposeful cycling in cities. 

Funding 

Australian Research Council, Discovery Project, DP190100185

Outcomes 

This research will enable researchers, cyclists and decision-makers to better understand the opportunities for growing cycling as a mode of transport to attenuate traffic congestion in metropolitan centres. Australia will benefit from how the project expects to enhance theoretical debates recasting what motivates cycling as an everyday mode of transport as well as the training of new researchers, and the enrichment of transport policy debates by moving the focus from cycling participation rates to cultures of cycling. 

Publications 

Award 

Best Poster, Walking and Cycling Conference 2020, Newcastle, The Reactivated Bike: Cycling Activity in the 2020 COVID- 19 Pandemic 

Website

Projects Website: Pedalling for change

Researchers 

Project Description

Gambling generates significant health and social harms in Australia. This project aims to better understand how young adults use, communicate about and experience mobile phone sports betting applications. There is little research on the use of betting apps, even though sports betting is the fastest growing segment of the gambling market.

The project is interdisciplinary, drawing upon social practice theory and assemblage thinking; and combines ethnography and cognitive neuroscience to examine how use of sports betting apps is becoming established as everyday social practice – normalising problem gambling.

Funding 

Australian Research Council, Discovery Project, DP190101405 

Outcomes

The findings will enhance understanding of the social contexts of sports betting; and inform gambling policy and programs leading to better health and social outcomes 

Publications

Website

Project website: In it to win it: An interdisciplinary investigation of sports betting 

Researchers

Dr Isabelle Wolf

Professor Gordon Waitt 

Project description

In this study of places for nature in Sydney, Australia, we aim to better understand a diverse urban residents’ constitutions of places for nature, along with the benefits and constraints for wellbeing. Conceptually, we draw from Fleuret and Atkinson's (2007) work on spaces of wellbeing. Methodologically, we use a synthesis of surveys, interviews, and public participation geographic information systems to offer a better understanding of how ethnicity, age/life-stage and other socio-demographics factors shapes needs, expectations and engagement with places for nature. A panel survey with 800 Sydney residents integrating participatory mapping is used to map meaningful and constrained places for nature in Sydney. 

Funding

Vice Chancellor's Senior Research Fellowship (2019-2025)

Outcomes

This research is intended to guide policy and planning for urban places for nature, and help re-imagining more diverse places for nature to address exclusion along socio-economic lines.