Study on attitudes towards technologies and the environment

Main sector:

  • Governance and planning
  • Citizen engagement


In 2017 (first interviews) and 2019 (follow-up interviews), the University of Tartu will conduct a study on the pilot area residents’ attitudes towards technologies and the environment, exploring aspects like environmental awareness, actual behavior and consumption patterns, acceptance of new technologies etc. through interviews. The study will also analyze people’s general attitudes towards the goals of the SmartEnCity project, especially when it comes to the retrofitting activities. As such, the research questions can be summarized as follows:

  1. What are the values, beliefs, norms and behaviours related to environment and technology of khrushchevka-dwellers?
  2. Which factors support and hinder pro-environmental behaviour change by smart city interventions?
  3. How to engage those not able or willing to adopt new pro-environmental technology

The initial interviews will consist of the following thematic blocks based on the research questions:

  • Dwelling and mobility – satisfaction with the dwelling and neighborhood, mobility habits;
  • Environmental awareness and behavior – attitudes and beliefs related to the environment, actual behavior;
  • Technology – attitudes towards technologies, actual behavior;
  • Smart city concept and the SmartEnCity project – knowledge about the concept and the project, attitudes towards the project and the expected project outcomes;
  • Socio-demographic background.

Follow-up interviews with selected respondents (based on typologies) focus on the causes and motivations of certain behaviors. The results of the study will allow to understand the incentives and motivation for behavioral changes.

Citizen engagement:

The solution is a direct citizen engagement solution as it explores the pilot area residents’ attitudes and enables them to speak out when it comes to the SEC project. These attitudes and opinions will be crucial in planning further activities in the project, especially when it comes to social innovation. The pilot area residents will be selected based on a random sample and they are free to participate in the study or reject the invitation.



  • Better understanding of the environmental attitudes and opinions of the pilot area residents
  • Better (evidence-based) planning
  • More efficient delivery of city services
  • Improved data availability 
  • More purposeful communication and engagement activities


Potential for replication:

The results of the study can be distributed internationally and they might especially interest cities that have many panel buildings and/or have plans to retrofit them. Understanding the context and attitudes of people is a crucial part of planning and collecting this input before engagement activities may result in a better outcome. Of course, the local context varies from city to city, so special surveys might be carried out that focus on the local conditions. There are no special requirements or conditions for doing so.


Veronika Mooses
University of Tartu