Practical lessons for creating affordance-based interventions for sustainable behavior change

Roope Oskari Kaaronen*, Erik Rietveld

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


Radical collective behavior change is required to develop sustainable forms of urban life. This demands redesign of everyday environments. However, the ways in which our material world shape our behaviors are still understudied and underappreciated. Not much is known about how collective behaviors are facilitated through infrastructural or material interventions. Here, we draw upon 15 years of experience at RAAAF, an Amsterdam-based collective for visual art and architecture, to introduce ten practical lessons for developing strategic design interventions for affordance-based behavior change in urban environments. Affordances are the possibilities for action provided by the environment. Strategic design interventions aim to set collective social change in motion by developing sustainable affordances and dismantling unsustainable behavioral constraints. Strategic design interventions seek to inspire policies and public imagination. Whereas scientific studies aim to describe reality as it is, RAAAF's material interventions help imagine how the shared urban environment could be in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1412-1424
Number of pages13
JournalOne earth
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 22 Oct 2021


  • affordance
  • architecture
  • behavior change
  • climate change
  • design
  • nudge
  • practical knowledge
  • social tipping points
  • sustainability
  • n/a OA procedure


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