To build with wood or not to build? Citizen views on wood as a construction material

Noora Miilumäki, Florencia Franzini, Katja Lähtinen, Anders Q. Nyrud, Camilla Widmark, Anders Roos, Hans Fredrik Hoen, Anne Toppinen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionProfessional

Abstract

With its large resource consumption and high level of greenhouse gas emissions, the construction sector possesses a great responsibility—yet also a great opportunity—to contribute to a sustainability transition. The use of wood as a construction material has been identified as a more environmentally friendly alternative to construction materials like concrete, steel and brick. Several countries have created political measures to increase the use of wood in construction, with the use of wood in urban settings, such as wooden multi-story buildings, being especially advocated. However, the viewpoints of citizens towards the use of wood in construction has been left unexamined.
In our study, we aim to answer how citizens in Europe perceive and describe wood as a construction material. To elicit a broad spectrum of citizen views, we deployed an internet survey in seven countries: Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Austria, Germany, and the UK. In each country, a panel of 1,000 respondents answered a survey, including the open-ended question: “How do you perceive wood as a construction material?”
Qualitative content analysis was used on 700 responses to construct a content analysis framework that identifies topical categories from respondent answers, which can later be quantified and compared. Responses showed polarized opinions about topics related to environmental sustainability, social sustainability, wood’s affordability, and about the physical properties of wood when used as a construction material. Several identical topics of discussion were regarded with negative attributes by some and positive attributes by others. To determine if such polarized opinions about wood’s application as a sustainable material are occurring within individual countries or with equal emphasis across countries will require future application of the coding framework to the remaining 6,300 responses.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of 14th Corporate Responsibility Research Conference : Rethinking Value Creation for Sustainability
Number of pages12
Publication statusUnpublished - 11 Sep 2019
MoE publication typeD3 Professional conference proceedings
Event14th Corporate Responsibility Research Conference: Rethinking Value Creation for Sustainability - Scandic Rosendahl, Tampere, Finland
Duration: 11 Sep 201913 Sep 2019
http://www.crrconference.org/

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