Sustainable technologies, practices and places

Research in this area is in high social demand:

Research focuses on the introduction of new energy and environmental technologies and solutions in homes and local government. The theoretical perspectives include technological transitions and the role of the consumer, the social construction of new markets, as well as political economy, the spread of technology in social networks and the domestication of technology.

Research and commentary concentrate on the steering of sustainable consumption and the role of the consumer in environmental policy. This research emphasises the relationship between individuals and society as well as the role of consumption in the management of natural resources. The theoretical perspectives include the problems of methodological individualism in the management of natural resources as well as, in the area of political studies, discussion of policy evaluation, adaptive policies and evidence-based policies.

Research explores the living environment, particularly housing and services, from the perspectives of consumer wellbeing and sustainable consumption. The theoretical frameworks include theoretical discussions of consumer behaviour (e.g., services and their quality and availability) and community planning (e.g., retail environments and locations).

We focus on the key social-scientific issue of the relationship between structure and agent. The first field of research reflects on the creation of new structures, the second field problematises the role of the individual in resolving environmental issues, and the third field considers how locality produces and changes structures.


Eva Heiskanen, Kaisa Matschoss, Senja Laakso, Eeva-Lotta Apajalahti, Frank Trentmann, Riitta Matilainen, Joel Hietanen, Vassilis Charitsis, Katri Koistinen, Kristiina Aalto, Mari Niva, Minna Lammi


  • Koistinen K, Järvinen R. (2016) Comparing perceived insecurity among customers and retail staff during service encounters. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services 2016; 31: 80–92.
  • Kytö H, Kral-Leszczynska M, Koistinen K, Peura-Kapanen L (2016) Muuttovirtojen vaikutus alueelliseen eriytymiseen pääkaupunkiseudulla – Tutkimus alueiden välisistä muuttovirroista. Kuluttajatutkimuskeskus 2016:1, Politiikan ja talouden tutkimuksen laitoksen julkaisuja. Helsinki: Helsingin yliopisto, 120 s.
  • Heiskanen, E., & Matschoss, K. (2016). Consumers as innovators in the electricity sector? Consumer perceptions on smart grid services. International Journal of Consumer Studies, early view, DOI: 10.1111/ijcs.12280
  • Heiskanen, E., Jalas, M., Rinkinen, J., & Tainio, P. (2015). The local community as a “low-carbon lab”: Promises and perils. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 14, 149-164.
  • Heiskanen, E., Johnson, M., Robinson, S., Vadovics, E., & Saastamoinen, M. (2010). Low-carbon communities as a context for individual behavioural change. Energy Policy, 38(12), 7586-7595.