Does “Where We Live” Reflect “What We Do”? An Overview of Empirical Evidence on Place-People Correspondence with Regards to Sustainability Performance

  •  Simin Lotfi    
  •  Carole Despres    
  •  Sebastien Lord    


Despite effort to uncover the link between people’s behaviors and places regarding their sustainability performance, the findings remain ambiguous. This paper presents an overview of the empirical evidence on this issue and provides a framework to help design of studies on the performance of residential choice considering the three pillars of sustainability. We identified the papers through a search in multidisciplinary databases from 1994–2017 and experts’ recommendations. We analyzed them considering these questions: 1) what aspects of places and people’s behaviors are evaluated? 2) To which pillar of sustainability do they refer? 3) How are places and people related; and, 4) why are they linked the way they are? The conclusion underlines the need to embrace the complexity of residential choice and the associated daily mobility as well as for policymakers to define actions to be taken for unsustainable places to be improved and more sustainable behaviors to be adopted.

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