Flying Less For Work And Leisure? Co-Designing A City-Wide Change Initiative In Geneva
Geneva prides itself on being an international city, home to the United Nations and international organizations. The airport plays an important role in this image, tied to a quest for hypermobility in an increasingly globalized society. Yet, mobility accounts for close to one quarter of the territory’s carbon emissions, with flights responsible for 70% of these emissions. With recent legislation that includes ambitious targets for net zero carbon emissions by 2050, the role of air travel can no longer be ignored. In 2020, a partnership was formed between the City, the University of Geneva, and a community energy association to explore the possibility of co-designing a city-wide change initiative, focused on reducing flights through voluntary measures. The team consulted with a variety of actors, from citizens who fly for leisure, to those who fly for professional reasons, with a spotlight on academic travel. A review of the scientific and grey literature revealed what initiatives already exist, leading to a typology of change initiatives. Inspired by this process, we then co-designed a series of workshops on opportunities for flying less in Geneva. We demonstrate the value of going beyond an ‘individual behaviour change’ approach towards understanding change as embedded in socio-material arrangements, as well as identifying interventions that seek to address both negative and positive anticipated outcomes. We conclude with insights on how a social practice approach to understanding mobility reveals both material and immaterial challenges and opportunities, involving infrastructures and technologies, but also social norms and shared meanings.