Urban Futures – Cultural Pasts Conference


Sustainable Lifestyles – Impact & Reduction Scenarios


A track led by the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya

Track Call

Cities are the places where our daily life happens, where we live, work, produce, socialize, consume, enjoy and rest as humans. All these activities are heavily defined: through our diverse social practices; available technologies; energy generation; mobility; communication; the existing urban fabric and the underlying production and consumption system of our society, among many other things.

Sustainable Lifestyles can be defined as ways of living, social behaviors and choices that minimize environmental degradation (from our use of natural resources, our CO2 emissions and the waste and pollution we contribute to) while at the same time, supporting equitable socio-economic development and a better quality of life for all.

So how can sustainable lifestyles in cities work today? How can they be defined, developed, promoted, and implemented as mainstream? How can they be measured, tracked, and made visible? How can cities be planned or transformed to allow for, and foster, the implementation of sustainable lifestyles by inhabitants? What are the political, social, economic and environmental factors that influence the transition towards sustainable life in cities?

This track invites contributions on these questions, including theoretical research, case studies and success stories. It seeks to elaborate on reduction scenarios and options, behavioral and value change, and related urban transformation strategies whatever for they may take..

Example projects conducted here in Barcelona in relation to this include: i) Living Lab LOW3 – exploring the nexus between housing, energy and lifestyles through energy self-sufficient solar housing models ii) Solar Decathlon Europe projects on self-sufficient solar house prototypes, iii) the Sustainable Lifestyles Accelerator (SLA) – SUSLA Carbon Coaching App that supports the sustainable behavioral change of individuals. Images 1-3

Key Words:

Sustainable living and lifestyles, lifestyle carbon footprints, lifestyle impacts, footprint targets and reduction options, 1.5-degree lifestyles in cities.

Key People:

Torsten Masseck PhD, Associate Professor –Serra Hunter Fellow– Department of Architectural Technology at the Vallès School of Architecture (ETSAV), Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC). Member of the Sustainability and Metabolism in Architecture and Technology Research Group (SMArT). He teaches on the ‘City and Energy’ course of the Masters in Sustainable Intervention in the Built Environment programme (MISMeC) and is an expert on Living Labs. He has been Faculty Advisor to the Solar Decathlon Competition teams of UPC since 2010 and is director of the LOW3 Living Lab at ETSAV. His research areas are Sustainable Architecture, Housing and Low-carbon Lifestyles.


Part of the Urban Futures – Cultural Pasts Conference


This track develops themes central to the Master’s degree in Sustainable Intervention in the Built Environment. MISMeC at UPC.

The programme is taught in two tracks. In English, open to students from all over the world, with a language competence equivalent to European B2. In Spanish/Catalan, as part of the double degree with the Master’s programme in Architecture, MArq,


Programme Rationale:

The city plays a fundamental role in a social strategy of progressive transformation of the social metabolism towards a carbon-neutral model to maintain or restore the productive capacity and ecosystem services of the territory and natural systems. On the one hand, because the city is a place of high-density material flows that define the social metabolism. On the other hand, because the city is a place of strong social perception to express public mechanisms of political participation. These two conditions make the city a key place of intervention to implement and develop social strategies for transforming the social metabolism towards sustainability.

The one-year MSc programme focuses on the city in order to identify, criticise and diagnose its metabolism – with specific tools for conceptualisation, measurement, and evaluation – and to propose sustainable transformative interventions. This process involves recognising material flows, spaces on which they act and conditions in which they operate to generate a critical discourse. The aim is to develop the capacity to intervene strategically in the city, to propose new socially acceptable models through responsible intervention in its spaces. This work is specific to the field of architecture, at the different scales of buildings, neighbourhoods, urban spaces, and territorial relations.

The programme focuses on a cutting-edge area of specialisation for disciplines dealing with the built environment in order to strategically transform the vision of professionals and guide future researchers in transforming our society towards sustainability. The MSc is practice-oriented and addresses real projects in urban contexts, through processes of social metabolism diagnosis and carbon-neutral interventions for climate change.


Urban Futures – Cultural Pasts Conference

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Other Tracks:  Community Design & User Autonomy >>  Governing the Ecosystem Commons >>  |  Material Circularity >>  |  Urban Intervention – Reducing Vulnerability >> | Sustainable Lifestyles – Impact & Reduction Scenarios >>

Main Image: Adolf Sotoca