From Sustainable Cities to Sustainable People—Changing Behavior Towards Sustainability with the Five A Planning Approach

  • Petra Stieninger Hurtado
Part of the World Sustainability Series book series (WSUSE)


The discussion about sustainable cities mainly focuses on technical solutions such as public transportation systems, resource-efficient buildings, and renewable energy generation. However, most cities don’t take into consideration that the main factors that make a city sustainable are the people who live in the city. Sustainability is not just about using new technologies that make cities and their systems more sustainable by addressing the technical cause of inefficiencies. Sustainability is about changing behavior. The installation of public transportation systems alone doesn’t guarantee that people will actually use them and drive less. Therefore, to create a sustainable city, the factors that make people choose the sustainable option over the unsustainable one need to be addressed in a planning process. Extensive research in European and American cities resulted in five factors that can make a change towards sustainable behavior possible: the accessibility, the affordability, the attractiveness, and the availability of sustainable options and people’s awareness of their existence (the five A’s). This paper explains how these five factors must be incorporated in urban sustainability strategies and how they can create truly sustainable cities by enabling long-term behavior change.


Sustainable cities Climate action Behavior change Urban planning 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Urban BreezesChicagoUSA

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