How do Europeans want to live in 2040? Citizen visions and their consequences for European land use

Marc J. Metzger*, Dave Murray-Rust, Joske Houtkamp, Anne Jensen, Inge la Riviere, James S. Paterson, Marta Pérez-Soba, Christiane Valluri-Nitsch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The aspirations, motivations and choices of individual European citizens are a major driver of the future of global, European and local land use. However, until now no land use study has explicitly attempted to find out how the general public wants to live in the future. This paper forms a first attempt to survey European citizens to understand their desired future lives in relation to consequences for European land use. We used a crowdsourcing experiment to elicit visions from young Europeans about their lives in 2040. Participants completed a graphic novel around carefully selected questions, allowing them to create a story of their imagined future lives in pictures. The methodology worked well, and the sample seemed reasonably representative albeit skewed towards an educated population. In total, 1131 responses from 29 countries were received. Results show a strong desire for change, and for more sustainable lifestyles. There is desire for local and ecologically friendly food production, to eat less meat, to have access to green infrastructure and the ability to cycle to work. However, international travel remains popular, and the desire for extensive food production and owning detached houses with gardens will likely result in complex land use trade-offs. Future work could focus more specifically on quantifying these trade-offs and inform respondents about the consequences of their lifestyle choices. This was a first attempt to use crowdsourcing to understand citizen visions for their lives in the future, and our lessons learned will help future studies improve representativeness and increase responses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)789-802
Number of pages14
JournalRegional Environmental Change
Issue number3
Early online date12 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


  • Citizen science
  • Crowdsourcing
  • European citizens
  • Land use
  • Scenarios
  • Visions


Dive into the research topics of 'How do Europeans want to live in 2040? Citizen visions and their consequences for European land use'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this