The Neighbourhood Effect is running a research study to evaluate how effective the Transition Streets Canberra digital workbook is in achieving the goals of the program. These goals are:
Assist Canberra households to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, energy usage and ecological footprint;
Increase social connections between neighbours in Canberra streets and help to build stronger street-level communities;
Assist households to save money through greater resource efficiency (e.g. by connecting them to local sharing and gift economies; helping them reduce waste; helping them reduce electricity, gas and water consumption).
Canberrans who participate in the Transition Streets Canberra program can opt-in to the research study when they first register for the program here.
Participating in the study is completely opt-in. There’s no obligation to be a part of it, and you can still do the Transition Streets program and not be part of the study.
The research study has the following components:
- We ask Transition Streets program participants to complete an online registration form, where they can give their consent to also participate in the research study. To participate in the study, people also need to agree to provide access to previous and current electricity and gas bills and usage data through ActewAGL. By consenting to participate in the study, participants also consent to The Neighbourhood Effect sharing their de-identified data (that is, anonymised versions of electricity and gas billing data and an anonymised version of your ecological footprint calculator results) with behavioural science academics, for the purpose of evaluating the effectiveness of the Transition Streets program.
- Upon registering for the program and before starting the digital workbook, participants will also complete an online ecological footprint calculator, which collects information on the attitudes and behaviours of participants with respect to ecological sustainability and provides a ballpark estimate on their current ecological footprint.
- For those who choose to participate, the study will examine changes participants' energy consumption and ecological footprints before and after the Transition Streets program. Study participants do not need to take any additional steps or make any extra effort beyond just completing the Transition Streets Canberra program. However for project management purposes, groups will be assigned a date to begin the program between July and September. After a group has registered, The Neighbourhood Effect will contact the group with the date that they can begin the program.
The study aims to sign up roughly 300 Canberra households to participate (or approximately 100 ‘Transition Streets groups’, consisting of 3 or more households each).
- Analysis of energy usage changes (accounting for seasonal variations) and changes to the ecological footprints of participants will be undertaken. In particular, the energy usage data and ecological footprint calculator results of participants at varying stages will be compared.
- We will establish whether there were greater relative reductions in the energy consumption and ecological footprints of people who participated in the program (i.e. those using the Transition Streets Canberra workbook), when compared to the energy use and ecological footprints of those participants who had not yet commenced the program.
- We will also collect feedback from Transition Street program participants through an online feedback form, which includes a series of qualitative questions about the benefits and drawbacks of the program.
- The Neighbourhood Effect will also conduct end-of-program interviews with some program participants and try to establish whether using the digital workbook helped them to save money, reduce their emissions and build relationships with their neighbours.