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Normalizing sustainability in a regenerative building : the social practice of being at CIRS Coleman, Sylvia 2016

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     Normalizing Sustainability in a Regenerative Building:  the Social Practice of Being at CIRS   by   Sylvia Coleman B.Sc.Agr. (Hons.), Sydney University, 1994 B.A. (Anthropology), McGill University, 1999 M.A.S.A. (Master of Advanced Studies in Architecture), The University of British Columbia, 2004   A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF    DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY    in  THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES   (Resources, Environment and Sustainability)    THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA  (Vancouver)    October 2016    © Sylvia Coleman, 2016   ii Abstract Regenerative buildings are deemed “net-positive” because they are designed, in theory, to return positive benefits to their natural and social environments. On the “human factor” side, net-positive buildings are claimed to enhance human well-being, productivity and health.   I consider how a net-positive building facilitates engagement, and enhances well-being, health and productivity. Through statistical analysis of pre- and post-occupancy surveys, interviews and document analysis, I investigate the inhabitant experience in a net-positive building, the Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) Living Lab on UBC campus. Using a tripartite model of culturally-based social practice theory as framework, I characterise the building itself as meaningful symbol, as object of interaction, and as intervention in everyday practices. These lenses indicated “new normals” of active inhabitance.   A “qualitative performance gap” was interpreted as the difference between an aspirational, stakeholder-based “Official Story” about the building as change-agent, and the skeptical but forgiving “Lived Story”, constructed from inhabitant interviews. This “gap” between stories creates a space for new stories, and indicates a need for ongoing dialogue between stakeholders and inhabitants on the status of the change-making project, in keeping with the vertical integration of the Living Lab concept. Engagement was conceived as a form of social practice that could be enabled or hindered by social spaces and controls. Inhabitant satisfactions and dissatisfactions, recorded in pre- and post-occupancy surveys, were conceived as symptoms of stable or potentially changing practices.  Quantitative comparisons and correlations show that CIRS provides excellent indoor environmental quality, especially in terms of natural light, workspace, air quality, and controls; it performed less well on acoustics and electrical lighting. Participants perceived that the CIRS building had a positive effect on their well-being and health, while productivity was enhanced but to a lesser degree due to common contemporary workplace design that  iii impacted acoustic and visual privacy. The regenerative building context took over and rendered “pro-environmental behaviour” somewhat unnecessary.   Emerging from the analysis is the notion of “normalizing sustainability” through material and symbolic interventions, and support for the utility of pre-to-post-occupancy evaluations and social practice theory, in providing evidence for human agency and larger-scale change.  iv Preface This research is my original work, and was approved by the UBC Behavioural Research Ethics Board, Certificate H12-01215, obtained in 2013 prior to interaction with survey and interview participants. With the guidance of Co-Supervisors Dr. John Robinson and Dr. Ray Cole, and committee member Dr. Rob VanWynsberghe, I developed and conducted the research program, empirical research, analysis and interpretations throughout all Chapters.   The post-occupancy evaluation (POE) survey instrument used to provide some of this project’s data was based largely on the pre-occupancy evaluation (PRE) survey instrument created by UBC Masters student Julia Reckermann (2014a). This was due to the aim of using her data as a baseline, and conducting statistical comparisons between her and my data sets. I provided some input and recommendations for the construction of Reckermann’s PRE survey, but it was ultimately configured for Reckermann’s research aims.   Vincenzo Coia (UBC Masters in Statistics student) provided recommendations for the comparative statistical tests for the analysis of PRE and POE surveys, discussed in Chapter 4 and Appendix C, and presented mainly in Chapter 6 and 7. This guidance was offered in the context of the UBC Statistics Department’s Graduate Student Consultation service.   Preliminary data management and preliminary analysis of surveys using SPSS was conducted with the assistance of research assistant Wendy Xu. I provided instruction and guidance, conducted refinement of data management and analyses, conducted additional analyses and all interpretations of results.   Ben Pedret provided the Excel Power Query code wrangling required for construction of the diverging stacked bar charts, in Chapters 5-7. I preferred these Likert scale charts for some of the data representations based on literature arguing for their use, and because they look nice.  Figures 3.1-3.4 reprinted with permission of Facility Information Systems, Infrastructure Development, UBC Records. Figures 3.5-3.7 reprinted with permission of Alberto Cayuela.  v Table of Contents Abstract ................................................................................................. ii	  Preface .................................................................................................. iv	  Table of Contents .................................................................................... v	  List of Tables .......................................................................................... x	  List of Figures ........................................................................................ xi	  List of Photos ....................................................................................... xiii	  List of Abbreviations ............................................................................. xiv	  Glossary ............................................................................................... xv	  Acknowledgements ............................................................................. xviii	  Dedication ............................................................................................ xx	  Chapter  1: Introduction ........................................................................... 1 1.1	   From	  minds	  to	  practices;	  from	  the	  abstract	  to	  the	  real	  ......................................................	  1	  1.2	   …	  to	  buildings,	  and	  inhabitants	  ...........................................................................................	  3	  1.3	   Approach:	  social	  practice	  in	  the	  context	  of	  regenerative	  design	  ........................................	  4	  1.4	   Research	  questions	  .............................................................................................................	  7	  1.5	   The	  benefits	  and	  limitations	  of	  interdisciplinarity	  ..............................................................	  9	  1.6	   Structure	  of	  the	  dissertation	  .............................................................................................	  11	  Chapter  2: Decentering Agency: From Behaviour to Practice ...................... 15 2.1	   Wasteful	  systems	  as	  default	  .............................................................................................	  15	  2.1.1	   Structure	  vs.	  agency	  (and	  the	  problem	  with	  “pro-­‐environmental	  behaviour	  change”)	  ..........	  17	  2.1.2	   A	  building	  as	  structure,	  and	  agent	  ...........................................................................................	  19	  2.1.3	   Tiny	  levers	  (in	  buildings);	  buildings	  as	  tiny	  levers	  (in	  society)	  ..................................................	  20	  2.2	   Are	  you	  a	  model	  of	  good	  behaviour…	  ...............................................................................	  23	  2.2.1	   The	  information	  deficit	  and	  the	  value-­‐action	  gap	  ...................................................................	  27	  2.2.2	   The	  importance	  of	  others	  ........................................................................................................	  30	  2.2.3	   From	  persuasive	  infrastructure…	  to	  procedural	  engagement	  .................................................	  32	  2.3	   …Or	  are	  you	  “just	  going	  through	  the	  motions”?	  ...............................................................	  35	  2.3.1	   Social	  practices	  ........................................................................................................................	  37	   vi 2.3.2	   Practices:	  from	  culture	  .............................................................................................................	  42	  2.3.3	   Practices:	  from	  dispositions,	  ways	  of	  being	  .............................................................................	  45	  2.3.4	   Everyday	  practices,	  or	  routines	  with	  things	  .............................................................................	  47	  2.3.5	   Practice-­‐as-­‐entity,	  practice-­‐as-­‐performance…	  .........................................................................	  49	  2.3.6	   …Practice	  as	  normative,	  intersubjective,	  and	  (at	  times)…	  discursive	  ......................................	  51	  2.3.7	   Talking	  about	  practices:	  critiquing	  SPT	  ....................................................................................	  54	  Chapter  3: Designing for Benefit, Net-Positive Design ............................... 59 3.1	   Going	  beyond	  the	  3Rs:	  regenerative	  design	  .....................................................................	  59	  3.2	   Going	  beyond	  sustainability	  to	  regeneration	  ...................................................................	  62	  3.3	   Context:	  green	  buildings	  and	  local	  context	  ......................................................................	  63	  3.4	   UBC’s	  Centre	  for	  Interactive	  Research	  on	  Sustainability	  (CIRS)	  case	  study	  ......................	  65	  3.5	   Building	  opportunities	  and	  benefits	  .................................................................................	  78	  3.6	   CIRS	  living	  lab	  research	  programs	  .....................................................................................	  81	  Chapter  4: Investigating the Building- Inhabitant Relationship .................. 84 4.1	   A	  single	  case-­‐study	  approach	  –	  with	  comparison	  .............................................................	  84	  4.2	   Social	  practice	  in	  a	  building:	  methodological	  challenges	  ..................................................	  86	  4.3	   Post-­‐occupancy	  evaluation	  (POE)	  .....................................................................................	  90	  4.3.1	   POE	  process	  .............................................................................................................................	  92	  4.3.2	   Benefits	  ....................................................................................................................................	  95	  4.3.3	   Barriers	  .....................................................................................................................................	  96	  4.4	   Mixed	  methods:	  a	  research	  POE	  at	  CIRS	  ...........................................................................	  99	  4.5	   Baseline	  pre-­‐occupancy:	  Reckermann’s	  2011	  PRE	  .........................................................	  100	  4.6	   The	  development	  of	  the	  PRE	  and	  POE	  surveys	  ...............................................................	  102	  4.7	   POE	  study	  implementation	  .............................................................................................	  104	  4.8	   Participants	  .....................................................................................................................	  106	  4.9	   Interview	  implementation	  ..............................................................................................	  109	  4.10	   Survey	  analyses	  .............................................................................................................	  111	  4.11	   The	  unit	  of	  analysis	  .......................................................................................................	  112	  4.12	   Qualitative	  analyses	  ......................................................................................................	  113	  4.12.1	   Interviews	  ............................................................................................................................	  113	  4.12.2	   Document	  content	  analysis	  .................................................................................................	  114	  4.12.3	   Participant	  observation	  and	  self-­‐reflexive	  note	  ..................................................................	  115	  Chapter  5: Building as Symbol: Reconfiguring Meanings .......................... 116  vii 5.1	   What	  do	  meanings	  mean	  and	  why	  do	  they	  matter?	  ......................................................	  117	  5.2	   Official	  and	  lived	  stories	  about	  CIRS,	  or	  the	  qualitative	  performance	  gap	  .....................	  118	  5.3	   Building	  as	  pedagogy	  ......................................................................................................	  121	  5.3.1	   Previous	  exposure	  to	  CIRS	  .....................................................................................................	  124	  5.3.2	   The	  Inhabitant	  Workshop:	  defining	  stakes	  and	  terms	  ...........................................................	  126	  5.3.3	   The	  CIRS	  Inhabitant	  Sustainability	  Charter:	  committing	  to	  what	  behaviour?	  .......................	  128	  5.3.3.1	   The	  living	  document…	  lies	  dormant	  ...............................................................................	  131	  5.3.3.2	   The	  future	  life	  of	  the	  living	  document:	  welcome	  package?	  ...........................................	  134	  5.3.4	   CIRS	  as	  sustainable	  .................................................................................................................	  135	  5.3.4.1	   Sustainable	  as	  green,	  green	  as	  “natural”	  .......................................................................	  137	  5.3.5	   Building	  tour	  script:	  CIRS	  as	  building	  pedagogy	  .....................................................................	  140	  5.3.6	   Media	  analysis	  .......................................................................................................................	  143	  5.4	   Expectations	  ....................................................................................................................	  146	  5.4.1	   PRE-­‐expectations	  ...................................................................................................................	  149	  5.4.2	   POE-­‐expectations	  ...................................................................................................................	  150	  5.5	   The	  double	  hermeneutic	  “hall	  of	  mirrors”	  ......................................................................	  155	  5.6	   The	  official	  story	  of	  CIRS	  .................................................................................................	  158	  5.7	   The	  “lived”	  story	  of	  CIRS	  .................................................................................................	  159	  5.7.1	   Implications	  of	  the	  qualitative	  performance	  gap	  ...................................................................	  162	  5.8	   CIRS	  as	  “branding”	  exercise	  ............................................................................................	  163	  5.9	   Identity	  as	  social…	  practice	  .............................................................................................	  165	  5.10	   Reconfiguring	  meaning:	  story,	  place,	  and	  identity	  .......................................................	  167	  Chapter  6: Building as Object: Reconfiguring Interactions in Place ............ 169 6.1	   “Reading”	  surveys	  to	  indicate	  preferences,	  actions…	  and	  practice?	  ..............................	  170	  6.2	   What	  is	  “engagement”?	  ..................................................................................................	  172	  6.2.1	   Engagement	  in	  buildings	  ........................................................................................................	  173	  6.2.2	   Buildings	  as	  enabling	  hubs	  of	  engagement	  ............................................................................	  175	  6.2.3	   Engagement	  at	  CIRS:	  empowerment	  through	  interactivity	  ...................................................	  178	  6.3	   Interactive	  adaptivity:	  recontextualizing	  the	  notion	  of	  comfort	  ....................................	  180	  6.3.1	   Feedback	  and	  continuous	  assessment	  ...................................................................................	  182	  6.3.2	   Interactive	  adaptivity	  and	  control:	  the	  side	  benefits	  of	  being	  conscious?	  ............................	  184	  6.3.3	   Unfamiliarity	  as	  “weightier	  practice”	  .....................................................................................	  186	  6.3.4	   Interactive	  adaptivity:	  integrated	  solutions	  and	  subversion	  .................................................	  188	  6.4	   Who	  is	  getting	  engaged	  and	  where?	  ..............................................................................	  190	   viii 6.4.1	   …	  how	  do	  they	  get	  together?	  .................................................................................................	  191	  6.4.2	   …	  where	  do	  they	  sit?	  ..............................................................................................................	  192	  6.4.3	   …	  and	  why	  are	  they	  so	  forgiving?	  ..........................................................................................	  194	  6.4.4	   …	  are	  they	  forgiving	  of	  a	  “gestalt”?	  .......................................................................................	  199	  6.5	   Taking	  the	  plunge	  ...........................................................................................................	  201	  6.5.1	   Being	  in	  and	  out	  of	  control	  ....................................................................................................	  206	  6.5.2	   Balancing	  work	  and	  social	  life	  through	  space	  ........................................................................	  215	  6.5.3	   Sharing	  space	  is	  important,	  but	  not	  always,	  or	  with	  everyone	  ..............................................	  216	  6.6	   Possible	  developing	  practices	  .........................................................................................	  225	  6.7	   Reconfiguring	  interactions	  ..............................................................................................	  227	  Chapter  7: Building as Agent: Reconfiguring New Normals ....................... 229 7.1	   Is	  CIRS	  the	  best	  place	  to	  get	  engaged?	  ...........................................................................	  230	  7.1.1	   It	  sure	  is	  nice	  in	  here:	  overview	  of	  CIRS	  performance	  ...........................................................	  232	  7.1.2	   Feeling	  more	  human:	  enhanced	  human	  factors	  ....................................................................	  233	  7.1.3	   Natural	  light	  ...........................................................................................................................	  237	  7.1.4	   Air	  quality	  and	  movement,	  temperature	  ...............................................................................	  239	  7.1.5	   Health	  ....................................................................................................................................	  241	  7.1.5.1	   Health	  at	  CIRS	  .................................................................................................................	  242	  7.1.6	   Well-­‐being	  ..............................................................................................................................	  245	  7.1.6.1	   Well-­‐being	  at	  CIRS	  ..........................................................................................................	  246	  7.1.6.2	   Well-­‐being,	  beauty	  and	  nature	  ......................................................................................	  248	  7.1.7	   Who	  needs	  electrical	  light,	  anyway	  .......................................................................................	  251	  7.1.8	   And	  the	  acoustics	  are	  terrible	  (which	  is	  normal)	  ...................................................................	  253	  7.1.9	   Productivity	  ............................................................................................................................	  256	  7.1.9.1	   Evaluating	  productivity	  ..................................................................................................	  258	  7.1.9.2	   Workplace	  aspects	  that	  affect	  productivity	  ...................................................................	  259	  7.1.9.3	   Productivity	  at	  CIRS	  ........................................................................................................	  261	  7.2	   PRE-­‐POE	  comparison,	  versus	  POE	  data	  ...........................................................................	  265	  7.3	   Engagement	  ßà	  Inhabitance	  .......................................................................................	  268	  7.3.1	   Stories	  colliding	  over	  time	  .....................................................................................................	  269	  7.3.2	   Citizenship	  takes	  time	  ............................................................................................................	  272	  7.3.3	   Citizenship	  status	  ...................................................................................................................	  273	  7.3.4	   The	  emerging	  inhabitant	  ........................................................................................................	  274	  7.3.5	   Net	  positive	  interactive	  adaptivity	  implies	  automation	  and	  habituation	  ..............................	  277	   ix 7.4	   Reconfiguring	  ways	  of	  being:	  building	  performance	  and	  its	  effects	  on	  inhabitants	  .......	  278	  Chapter  8: Synthesis and Conclusions: Reconfiguring Normality ............... 281 8.1	   Procedural	  sustainability	  ................................................................................................	  285	  8.2	   Practices	  ..........................................................................................................................	  285	  8.3	   Engagement:	  from	  occupation	  to	  inhabitation	  ...............................................................	  287	  8.4	   Building	  performance	  .....................................................................................................	  289	  8.5	   CIRS	  as	  agent	  ...................................................................................................................	  289	  8.6	   Methodological	  ...............................................................................................................	  291	  8.7	   From	  minds	  and	  paradigms,	  to	  practice	  .........................................................................	  294	  Bibliography ........................................................................................ 300	  Appendices .......................................................................................... 324	  Appendix	  A	  PRE	  Survey	  .........................................................................................................	  324	  Appendix	  B	  POE	  Survey	  ........................................................................................................	  354	  Appendix	  C	  Statistical	  Analyses	  ............................................................................................	  377	  Appendix	  D	  Draft	  Sustainability	  Charter,	  2012	  .....................................................................	  387	  Appendix	  E	  Further	  research	  ................................................................................................	  394	    x List of Tables  Table 3.1: UBC sustainability milestones ............................................................................... 67 Table 3.2: CIRS net-positive resource strategies .................................................................... 69 Table 3.3: CIRS building benefits (inhabitant-oriented features) ........................................... 79 Table 3.4: Status of CIRS building benefits to be implemented ............................................ 80 Table 4.1: Types of comparative post occupancy evaluations ............................................... 94 Table 4.2: Post-occupancy evaluation question categories and topics ................................. 103 Table 5.1: Inhabitant workshop topics and concepts ........................................................... 127 Table 5.2: CIRS inhabitant sustainability charter opportunities ......................................... 130 Table 5.3: CIRS building tour script – brief summary ......................................................... 142 Table 6.1: New normals: indicated practices ........................................................................ 226 Table 8.1: Comparative tests run on pre- and post-occupancy data .................................... 378   xi List of Figures  Figure 2.1: Early rational choice model of behaviour ............................................................ 24 Figure 2.2: A bundle of two practices, connected by shared meanings .................................. 41 Figure 2.3: "Locating the social" in modern social and cultural theories ............................... 43 Figure 3.1: CIRS floor plan, ground floor. ............................................................................. 70 Figure 3.2: CIRS floor plan, 2nd floor ..................................................................................... 73 Figure 3.3: CIRS floor plan, 3rd floor. ................................................................................... 75 Figure 3.4: CIRS floor plan, 4th floor. .................................................................................... 76 Figure 3.5: CIRS partners ...................................................................................................... 77 Figure 3.6: CIRS research programs: scale and application .................................................. 81 Figure 3.7: CIRS-related graduate student and post-doctoral fellow research projects ......... 82 Figure 4.1: Types of participant office spaces ....................................................................... 107 Figure 5.1: Previous exposure to CIRS ................................................................................ 125 Figure 5.2: Expectations: wordle of interview discussions .................................................... 150 Figure 5.3: Expectations for physical and environmental features of CIRS ......................... 152 Figure 5.4: Expectations for social and inspirational features of CIRS ................................ 153 Figure 6.1: Workspace: wordle of survey comments ............................................................ 192 Figure 6.2: Overall satisfaction with current workspace ....................................................... 194 Figure 6.3: Overall rating of CIRS building compared to previous ..................................... 197 Figure 6.4: Behaviour change: wordle of survey comments ................................................. 202 Figure 6.5: Controls: wordle of survey comments ................................................................ 207 Figure 6.6: Heating controls used at CIRS ........................................................................... 210 Figure 6.7: Cooling controls used at CIRS ........................................................................... 210 Figure 6.8: Lighting controls used at CIRS .......................................................................... 210 Figure 6.9: Air Quality and Movement controls used at CIRS ............................................ 210 Figure 6.10: Discussing the air diffusers ................................................................................ 212 Figure 7.1: Overall satisfaction with workspace and workspace IEQ .................................. 231 Figure 7.2: Effect of CIRS environment on well-being, productivity and health ................. 236 Figure 7.3: Overall workspace satisfaction - natural light ..................................................... 237 Figure 7.4: Overall workspace satisfaction - air quality and movement ............................... 239 Figure 7.5: Overall workspace satisfaction - temperature in winter ..................................... 240  xii Figure 7.6: Overall workspace satisfaction - temperature in summer .................................. 240 Figure 7.7: Health symptoms at CIRS workspace POE results ............................................ 243 Figure 7.8: Wordle of survey health comments .................................................................... 244 Figure 7.9: CIRS effect on well-being ................................................................................... 247 Figure 7.10: Wordle of survey well-being comments ............................................................ 248 Figure 7.11: Overall workspace satisfaction - quality of electrical light ................................ 251 Figure 7.12: Overall workspace satisfaction  - acoustics ....................................................... 254 Figure 7.13: Wordle of survey productivity comments ......................................................... 262 Figure 7.14: CIRS effect on productivity .............................................................................. 263 Figure 7.15: Wordle based on inhabitant-interviewer discussions about engagement ......... 269     xiii List of Photos  Photo 3.1: The Centre for Interactive Sustainability (CIRS). Credit Don Erhardt. .............. 66 Photo 3.2: CIRS atrium from north side of second floor. Credit Don Erhardt. .................... 71 Photo 3.3: CIRS atrium from south side of second floor. Credit Don Erhardt. .................... 71 Photo 3.4: Typical sole-occupant office at CIRS. Credit Don Erhardt. ................................ 72 Photo 3.5: 2nd floor cubicles, building simulation and IEQ lab. Credit author, April 2016 . 72 Photo 3.6: CIRS second floor social/ public space. Credit Don Erhardt. ............................. 73 Photo 3.7: CIRS green roof, constituting a courtyard between two wings, with façade of atrium space shown facing. Credit Don Erhardt. ................................................................... 74 Photo 4.1: View from north, 4th floor. Credit author, April 2016 ........................................ 108 Photo 4.2: View from south, 4th floor. Credit author, April 2016 ....................................... 109 Photo 5.1: CIRS lobby and atrium (before benches installed). Credit Don Erhardt. .......... 136 Photo 5.2: CIRS living wall. Credit author, April 2016 ....................................................... 139 Photo 6.1: South-facing operable window, 2nd floor, view onto green roof courtyard. Credit author, April 2016 ................................................................................................................. 208 Photo 6.2: In-floor air diffuser (with pen to show scale). Credit author, April 2016 ............ 211 Photo 6.3: Second floor kitchen. Credit author, April 2016 ................................................. 218 Photo 6.4: Second floor CIRS inhabitant social area. Credit author, April 2016 ................ 219 Photo 6.5: CIRS stairs between 2nd and 3rd Floor. Credit Don Erhardt. ............................. 220 Photo 6.6: Second floor kitchen showing range of signage, and a highlight of one sign. Credit author, April 2016. ................................................................................................................ 222 Photo 6.7: Second floor CIRS inhabitant table sign. Credit author, April 2016 ................. 222 Photo 6.8: Second floor fridge and washroom signage (washroom now requires key, located at adjacent reception). Credit author, April 2016. ................................................................ 223 Photo 7.1: 4th floor bridge/ public social space. Credit author, April 2016. ........................ 238 Photo 7.2: Typical light showing motion sensor. Credit author, April 2016 ........................ 252   xiv List of Abbreviations  3R’s: the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” approach to sustainability. C2C: Cradle-to-Cradle [design]. From the book by the same name by William McDonough and Michael Braungart (2002), referring to materials, products and systems, from which the end or waste products can be used as “food” or feedstock for another process, in which case there is no “waste” that is disposed of in landfill. CaGBC: Canadian Green Building Council. CIRS: Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability, a living lab and regenerative building, the case study of this research, achieved occupancy in September 2011, and located on Vancouver Canada’s University of British Columbia’s campus. As of 2015, CIRS also refers to the University-based institutional body that oversees the research activities of the CIRS building tenants. Throughout this dissertation, “CIRS” refers to the physical building, except where noted. IEQ: Indoor Environmental Quality. In this research project, includes thermal (temperature), lighting, and acoustic qualities, as well as air quality and movement (ventilation) of an interior space. IEQ can otherwise also include ergonomics and aesthetics. LEED: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Green building rating and design tool with various levels of achievement based on a points system. CIRS attained the highest designation, Platinum. USGBC: United States Green Building Council.    xv Glossary  Agency; Agent: the ability to take action; a person with agency can be called an “agent”. Bundle (of Practices): social practices that can be “bundled” or grouped together thanks to their sharing of common elements.  Comfort: in building science this is defined as a sensory, physiological experience of the acoustic, thermal, ventilation, visual and furniture qualities, with defined ranges and setpoints; these are understood to be linked to psychological aspects of comfort, which may include well-being, and ability to function to full capacity (Whole Building Design Guide1).  Culture: The system of shared beliefs, practices, customs, and artefacts that members of society use to cope with the world and one another. (Based on Bates, 1990).  Discourse (adj. Discursive): verbal or written communication: use of language.  Double hermeneutic: from Giddens (1984). A “double interpretation”: a mutually-informing interaction between social science researcher and subject participants; an interaction that ultimately acts to disseminate research concepts through lay culture, and lay concepts back to research culture. Gestalt: overall construct. Surprisingly, dictionary.com provides a definition that happens to fit perfectly with my rhetorical needs: “a configuration, pattern, or organized field having specific properties that cannot be derived from the summation of its component parts; a unified whole.”2 Green Building: a building often but not always designed to meet a green building assessment and/or certification scheme, such as LEED, BREEAM, Green Globes, etc. The emphasis in design tends to be on the 3R’s (Reduction, Recycling, Reusing). Health: This was defined in the survey as “your state of physical, mental, social, and spiritual well-being, not merely the absence of illness or injury.” The survey asked for a rating of health, and about satisfactions with health, ability to perform daily living activities,                                                  1 https://www.wbdg.org/design/provide_comfort.php 2 https://www.dictionary.com/browse/gestalt http://www.dictionary.com/browse/gestalt  xvi presence or absence of specific health symptoms, and to what extent the building environment enhanced or diminished the participant’s health. High Performance Building: a highly automated, optimized and integrated green building, that has been designed with close attention to how systems and occupants interact.3  Human factors: for the purposes of this dissertation, this term collectively refers to the “well-being”, “productivity”, and/or “health” of the inhabitants of the CIRS building. Inhabitant: one who identifies with a place and feels entitled to act with respect to it. Ultimately, the definition of an inhabitant is self-defined, but for the purpose of this dissertation, an inhabitant is one who has a sense of “being-in-place”, which is related to feeling and practicing a sense of belonging, and empowerment. This definition builds on Robinson’s definition of an inhabitant as one that has a sense of place in, and engagement with, the building4; and on that of R. Cole, Robinson, Brown, and O'Shea (2008), who describe the concept of inhabitant as one “who may play an active role in the maintenance and performance of their buildings”, as opposed to ‘occupants’, “who are passive recipients of predetermined comfort conditions”.  Net-positive Building: a building designed to ecological principles, to enhance environmental well-being. Net-zero Building: a building designed to produce “zero” environmental impacts, usually through offsetting of environmental impacts through use of renewable energies and resources. Norm: culturally accepted, informal guidelines for being and doing, based on interpersonal and intergroup expectations. These customs and ways of being and doing are found in broader society, as well as within smaller subset groups within society: norms also tend to define membership to a society or group. Normative: Adjective to describe a way of being and/or doing that is perceived as aligned with prevailing norms.                                                  3 http://www.facilitiesnet.com/green/tip/What-Is-High-Performance-Building--32469  4 In conversation with John Robinson, most recently July 18, 2016.  xvii Occupant: a general term for a person who works or resides in a building. If contrasted to inhabitant, denotes someone in a building who does not feel empowered or entitled to taking action. Practice (Social): A normative, routinized, embodied pattern of activity. These activities constitute interactions between practitioners and/or practitioners and objects, normatively mediated by skills and meanings. Evidence for a practice (as opposed to a habit, or transitory action) is that it is repeated in different places over time.5 For the purposes of this dissertation, (drawing on work by Schatzki, Shove, Shove & Pantzar), a practice is characterised as constituted by three elements: objects, skills and meanings.  Productivity: This was defined in the survey as “your perceived ability to produce work efficiently.” Survey questions asked for a rating of productivity at the participant’s desk, satisfaction with productivity at their desk, and to what extent the building environment enhanced or diminished the participant’s productivity. Regenerative Building: see Net-positive building   Regenerative Sustainability: a discourse about sustainability that gives equal weight to ecological and social well-being. Solutions emerge out of contested, procedural discourse, recognising that understandings of ecological and social processes are human constructs. Sustainability: conducting life today in such a way that tomorrow’s lives will flourish. Well-being: This was defined in the survey as “your perceived satisfaction and happiness with your life.” The survey asked about satisfaction with life, job, space to socialize, frequency of socializing both in and out of CIRS, and to what extent the building environment enhanced or diminished the participant’s well-being.                                                     5 In conversation, this seems easily invoked by something that “has become a thing”/ “has become a thing to do”.  xviii Acknowledgements  This dissertation was completed while I was enrolled in an institution that is a guest on Musqueam, Squamish & Tsleil-Waututh Nations’ lands.   I would not have seen the end of the dissertation without the unwavering love, endless support and many reality checks of my little family, James and Kailani. Through joys and travails, we are new people now: every cell in our bodies has been replaced!   John’s analogy for writing the comprehensive exams, and more generally, for becoming a scholar goes something like this: “The river of knowledge is wide and turbulent, and rushes along with or without you. Your job is to determine where the river banks are: to know what’s in, and what’s out.” Thus, John’s wide-ranging vision and guidance, Ray’s brilliant insights and reminders, Rob’s sharp and questioning contributions, have all helped me to pull this dissertation to shore. I am grateful that they maintained their faith in me throughout the project’s ever-evolving trajectory.  Thanks to those who have jumped in with me: Maryam Rezaei and Lisa Westerhoff for the many shared conversations and resources as we made our way through the tangles of SPT; Julia Reckermann for good vibes, and providing the baseline data that made this research possible; Ivana Zelenika, Amanda Duncan, Jen Crothers, Ian Theaker, Liz Williams, and many others for insightful discussions; and the incredible faculty and researchers that I’ve had the privilege to work alongside or with at CIRS and AERL.  Thanks to those who have helped me climb out (figuratively and literally): Mum, Dad, Leanna Paul, and Lutz Marsden; Galya Chatterton, Regiane Garcia, Anika Vervecken, Kim Tay Davis, Kristina Kovacs, Chris Jackel, Jim Koshul; the SP morning coffee gang, Zen workspace, Creative Coworkers and Moja; too many more to list. I couldn’t have completed the dissertation without you, either.   xix I also owe thanks to the CIRS participants who gamely tested the water, giving their time and good humour to my sometimes seemingly banal questions: they provided the data that made this research at CIRS possible. Finally, this research was generously supported by the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, and UBC.  xx Dedication        For James, and Kailani.             1 CHAPTER  1: INTRODUCTION  Buildings stabilize social life. They give structure to social institutions, durability to social networks, persistence to behavior patterns… Buildings don't just sit there imposing themselves. They are forever objects of (re)interpretation, narration and representation – and meanings or stories are sometimes more pliable than the walls and floors they depict. We deconstruct buildings materially and semiotically, all the time… Buildings - like just about everything else sociologists study - sit somewhere between agency and structure, as Winston Churchill famously said (of the bombed Houses of Parliament and their importance for democratic institutions): ‘We shape our buildings and afterward our buildings shape us.’ (Gieryn, 2002, p. 35)  A thick description ... does more than record what a person is doing. It goes beyond mere fact and surface appearances. It presents detail, context, emotion, and the webs of social relationships that join persons to one another. Thick description evokes emotionality and self-feelings. It inserts history into experience. It establishes the significance of an experience, or the sequence of events, for the person or persons in question. In thick description, the voices, feelings, actions, and meanings of interacting individuals are heard. (Denzin, 1989, p. 83)   1.1 From minds to practices; from the abstract to the real  This dissertation is a case study of the effects that a new regenerative building typology can have, on inhabitant engagement and practices relating to sustainability. Abstractly, it is a study of multiple kinds of change – in human awareness, interaction with material things, preferences, and ultimately, social practice. In practical terms, it is an application of social practice theory to the case of a single building population, in an attempt to understand and interpret the character of the interactive relationship between buildings and inhabitants, and the implications of this relationship, in the context of regenerative design and regenerative sustainability.   There are two overarching and interconnected problems with which this research engages. First, a main assumption, is that what people do on a daily basis is largely embodied and habitual, and therefore non-deliberative. Yet human behaviour is so often conceived as an outcome of decisions based on a large array of cognitive antecedents and constructs. While these conceptualizations of course have their place, they alone are inadequate for understanding the everyday, habituated activities that are seemingly randomly selected and discarded, and most difficult to change. We need to broaden and deepen our understanding of the way we think about “pro-environmental” behaviour and its change, because if past decades have been any indication, both our thinking and our change efforts have been ineffective. And I believe that this can only be accomplished through qualitative, descriptive  2 and interpretive investigation, which can enrich reasoning about what constitutes human action. This dissertation is the direct result of that belief.  Second, if much of human behaviour is habitual and therefore unconscious, and it is undertaken in structured interactions throughout the day with material things and other people in normative social contexts, then it is bound by some sort of structure(s). And even in the times where decisions to act are not habitual, they are already circumscribed by these things, by the design of the material world. So we interact daily with these things of systems and the systems of things, but for the most part, we tend to only pay attention to materials and systems during the initial frisson of novelty and newness, or when they don’t work. The structures that populate our world tend to lie passively and taken-for-granted in the background but are vitally important to understanding what people do on a daily basis. We should therefore be paying more attention to what those things and systems are, and how they enable and facilitate human activities — so that we can design them in ways that support the flourishing of organic beings, systems, and processes. In this dissertation, I take a single, novel building as a case study microcosm, in order to study this “interactions with things” relationship, entailing interaction between habituated agents, and the socio-material “structure” of their environment.   The Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) building that is the site for this investigation is a significantly different place: it is an experimental Living Lab workplace, designed to “regenerative” principles. Thus in this specific experimental context, the relationship between building and inhabitant is claimed to be net-positive, in ecological, social and individual outcomes. For this single case study, I take a social practice theoretic approach, in order to illuminate the development of “practice performances”, or enactments of daily patterns of routine activities. These are habitual, embodied, and culturally-informed doings and sayings with things, which intertwine to create activities that have environmental, social and economic impacts.   3 1.2 … to buildings, and inhabitants A building can be conceived as having various qualities, all of which can impact and influence – although not determine – what occupants do. Buildings intervene on actions in material, functional, and symbolic ways. These impacts occur through channelling and structuring occupant activities and know-how, and through enabling conditions that affect how they feel, move and think. New and innovative building typologies constitute new and innovative interventions, which can accordingly impact occupant activities and states of being in ways that aid in the creation of new and different practices.   Some of these patterns of activity relate to the environment, and how people treat the resources available to them. Everyday activities in a building that have impacts on the environment can include taking more-prominent stairs instead of the elevator, using convenient recycling and composting facilities, frequenting neighbourhood amenities, or using environmentally-friendly transportation options. All of these activities can be facilitated by the design, programming, and location of the building in which these activities take place.   People (especially urbanites) can spend over 90% of their lives inside buildings, and as a result these material structures are well-worn sites of enculturation, for the development of patterns of routinized, embodied activity. Empirically and epistemologically different from psychological behaviour (Shove, 2011), these patterns of activity are referred to as “practices” or “social practices”. This dissertation uses a social practice lens, to investigate what building inhabitants are doing in a new kind of building typology, designed with regenerative principles.  Most conventional buildings are designed and constructed in ways that render occupants passive and disengaged. Such buildings don’t allow for control over the indoor environment; windows don’t open or aren’t even present; occupants can be found wearing sweaters in the heat of summer because building systems run too cold; sound reverberates around open-plan offices, causing people to plug their ears or leave. In most of these cases, occupants have no way of altering these conditions without worsening conditions in another part of the building, if at all. Engagement programs geared towards giving future inhabitants a sense of their new  4 place, and adaptable building design in which indoor environmental quality is the outcome of occupant control and feedback systems, would greatly mitigate such problems. Since well-being, health, and productivity are connected in the literature to the ability to control one’s environment, the availability of controls impacts such “states of being”.   In this dissertation, these states of being are collectively referred to as “human factors”, and their optimization is considered a design goal. In this aim, having control over one’s environment is a form of engagement; and being engaged is a form of practice, which can be characterised by certain elements which make that practice understandable in cultural, and local context. Thus, allowing occupant control, allows new engagements and practices to develop, which in turn influences human factors. Understanding how to optimize human factors is not only a goal of regenerative design and of some employers, but also a just goal for human flourishing.  Buildings can also act as symbols or icons, which are culturally and socially mediated and constructed. They therefore embody meanings that can be related to a variety of stories that people create about place, and self-identity. These stories play a part in the everyday routines, or practices in which people engage, and they are constructed through sources of information provided by stakeholders, and through co-creation with others in everyday life. This study thus investigates through quantitative and predominantly qualitative methods, the effect of the building on engagement, practice, and human factors, using a social practice approach and organising framework.  1.3 Approach: social practice in the context of regenerative design When a building functions to restore its local environment or increases the well-being, productivity, and health of those who use it, it is called “regenerative” or “net-positive”. Another term for such a building is a “living building”. In the process of formulating human action as doings and sayings with things, I assess whether a building that claims to be regenerative really is, and what kind of effect it has, if any, on inhabitants.   5 In order to assess these claims, I use a mixed, but predominantly qualitative methodology of survey and interview, as well as document and media analysis. The attempt to make these determinations concerning the building is aided by reference to a theory of action called social practice theory (SPT), which is a collection of approaches that rely on sociological and normative concepts rather than predominantly psychological ones. The model of social practice that I have employed comes from work done by Reckwitz, Shove, Shove and co-authors, Schatzki, and influenced by social philosophers Rouse and Bohman. A theory of action is a theory that offers a model and explanation for human behaviour, and in some cases, attempts to predict future actions. A practice is a routinized, embodied pattern of activity, that can be characterised as emerging in historical and present context, by reference to the meanings entailed by performing the practice, the skills and know-how required to enact it, and the material things, equipment, and products that are used in the process. The rationale for its use is described in more detail in Chapter 2.  Social practice is used in this dissertation in two ways: as lens for interpreting results, and also as organising principle for discussing various findings. Thus the three-element model that describes practices composed of objects, skills and meanings, is woven into the research question and also the structure of the thesis, in order to facilitate the production of a “general and abstract account” (Kuijer & Bakker, 2015, p. 226), of the relationship between building and inhabitants, and the implications of that relationship, that may be useful for other analytical frameworks.   In terms of the structural, material aspects of the building-inhabitant relationship, regenerative, or “net-positive” design is the conceptual framework that was used to design the case study building. This is a sustainability-based, process-oriented approach to design, which posits that a building can also improve or enhance the quality of both human factors – like well-being, productivity and health – and environmental resources, such as energy and water.   The research attempts to take a broader, more contextual view of behaviour, that considers the qualities of engagement – as a case study in this project, between building and inhabitant,  6 and between inhabitants – that are based not on what people think, but on embodied practices that develop in situ and normatively, as bounded by a building and compared to previous sites of work.   On a practical level, this dissertation investigates how a building designed on regenerative principles intervenes into the everyday lives of its occupants, and engenders awareness of sustainability, new habits, engagement, and states of being including well-being, health and productivity, and as such describes its performance. At the abstract level, this dissertation explores the relationship between structure and agency, as demonstrated by investigations of various passive and active relationships between a building and its users. As a result, I hope to stimulate insights into alternative, qualitative ways of describing and thinking about “pro-environmental behaviour”, and processes of change.   Rather than assuming a top-down approach, in which designers and stakeholders provide comfort, confer health, productivity and well-being, and seek to stimulate engagement or behaviour change, I ask whether the CIRS building affects productivity, health, well-being, and engagement of its inhabitants. On the other side of the equation, I also ask, to what extent are the goals of comfort, convenience, and engagement achieved by the inhabitants of the CIRS building? As a result of this exploration, I also consider, to what extent are occupants transformed into active inhabitants of place? And if neither these goals nor transformation are accomplished, how can they be facilitated?   7 1.4 Research questions The dissertation is structurally and conceptually tripartite: in order to investigate practice and characterise the building case study, I present findings through reference to the three-element social practice model (Shove, Pantzar, & Watson, 2012), both as organising framework, and as topics of investigation. The dissertation is structured to answer the following research questions:  What part does CIRS, in its capacities as: o meaning-creator and symbol; o inhabitable environment and object; and o structuring agent of routine and daily practice, play in the development of inhabitant engagement and social practices relating to sustainability? What can be done to improve the part that CIRS does play?   The CIRS building is therefore conceptualized in turn as one of the three elements in the model of social practice, and findings are discussed in terms of these three capacities.  First, the building is characterised as a meaning-creator and symbol, that has a bearing on expectations, emerges in bundles of practice performances, and in turn, informs practices empowerment and engagement. Interviews, post-occupancy survey comments, and additional media and document analyses support this characterisation.   Second, the building is characterised as a passive object that people interact with, and that can be compared with other buildings. Inhabitants’ engaged or disengaged responses to the building as an object is recorded in a pre-to-post-occupancy evaluation and in interviews, in terms of satisfactions, meanings, and ways that they perceive the building environment affects them.   Third, the building is characterised as an active agent that structures inhabitant activity, and, helps or hinders productivity, health, well-being, and engagement, as emergent from the same set of data.  8  Each of these three characterisations of the building-inhabitant relationship is understood to be an intervention. In tracing the effects of these interventions, change in the corresponding social practice elements – and in what it entails to be an inhabitant of CIRS – is accordingly also traced.   The entire project is therefore a study in change – in built infrastructure, in its effects on agency, human factors and performance. This change is traced through an analysis of aspects of practice and performance, of both inhabitants and building: of states of being before and after a change in physical environment; of emerging comforting routines; and in determining what prior and new meanings as represented by the building have been lost or picked up and carried.   Because inhabitants and building are sometimes loosely conceived as an entity – and thus the building is intimately a part of practice – this suggests that practices can be categorised by scale, which is a somewhat novel concept for social practice theory. The end result is a delineation of a “Practice writ large”, effectively an illustration of a building-inhabitant entity, that has been explored by using the social practice model as conceptual framework and organising principle.  In the process of analysis, mixed methods yielding various sets of data collection relate to different parts of the research question. The survey, interview, and document analysis data is used to discuss the following supporting questions: • Does CIRS impact inhabitants’ lives in a way that is different from their previous experience at work?  • What is the impact of CIRS on inhabitants’ satisfactions, engagement, human factors, and expectations? • What is the connection, if any, between engagement (between inhabitants, and between inhabitants and building), and net-positive human factors? • What are the benefits of taking a social practice approach to study the inhabitant-building relationship?  9 • What is the connection between official narratives about CIRS, and inhabitants’ practices?  Finally, as regenerative approaches to building design are relatively new, many of the intents and claims made about its design remain unexplored. In the process of analysing these claims in both quantitative and qualitative ways, using an in-depth case study, this research also assesses:  • Can a regenerative building engage its inhabitants, and be “net-positive” on inhabitant well-being, health, and productivity factors?   In sum, rather than a study of deliberative “behaviour change”, in taking a social practice and regenerative sustainability approach, this research assumes that the development of practices is necessarily normatively bound to place and situated between structure and agency. Social practice in context is therefore related to engagement with the building’s physical and technical infrastructure, understandings that occur between people, and the meanings or narratives that are co-created as a result, and for this purpose, the building is considered to be both instigator and an instance of social practice.   1.5 The benefits and limitations of interdisciplinarity Many of the literatures consulted for this dissertation were limited with regard to social practice theoretic and methodological approaches towards understanding interactions between occupants and an office building, let alone the effect of the building on occupants.  Certainly, I sometimes reconsidered my choice of using SPT as a framework for building-occupant investigations, given how challenging it was to find guidance within the relevant literatures. However, social practice theory remained appealing as a fitting choice, in the way that it enabled exploration of the material (infrastructure, things, technologies that bear on what people do). I already had an affinity for cultural and symbolic anthropology, and desired an approach that seemed to provide at least a starting point for discussion about the effect of the built, material world, or for example, how architecture can hold meaning or be iconic.   10 This being said, throughout discussion I have frequently referred to literatures alternative to SPT. As is already obvious, psychology (social, environmental, cognitive) are the main bodies of work I’ve looked to, first because I thought effects and actions-in-context would be best described in those literatures, and second, because almost all building-inhabitant work in the literature has been conducted using psychological concepts and methods. But I’ve also referred to literature in Science and Technology Studies (STS), transitions, anthropology, education, phenomenological and philosophy literatures, and also to the green and “sustainable” building grey literature (which of course are strongly applied fields). Other literatures consulted include some business and marketing-related academic and grey literatures, and ethnomethodology, for insights into engagement, feedback, innovation, and cultural meanings. In all cases however, I’ve tried to steer discussion through or towards the sociocultural topics of practice and practice-related concepts.   As a result, the theoretic threads through methods and discussion of findings may not always seem consistent. But this can be taken as a strength: if the discussion does not always hone to SPT or regenerative design theory, it is either because there is little or no relevant work done in either area, and/or because another field seems to offer good insights, even if only by analogy. My own training in both the “harder” sciences (analytical chemistry), and the social sciences (cultural anthropology, and sociological aspects of green architecture and design), has made it a survival skill, to try and find patterns through translating between analytical frameworks and substantive findings. This is the case throughout the dissertation.   The “danger” of course, is in mixing seemingly incommensurate epistemologies and methodologies: for example, talking about cognitive factors is not that useful in trying to understand unconscious habitual activity, and vice versa. My response to this conundrum is that we have an almost infinite array of theoretical frameworks to describe the world and its phenomena, and each are capable of interpreting some aspect of human action and being in ways that are compatible with its own set of axioms. But in adhering to singular frameworks, we tend to perceive and propagate the many dualities involved in human experience – which is why we can describe neurons and neurotransmitters, but not the symbols possibly conveyed by them, and we can theorize about how habit is culturally-seated, but not how we  11 arrive at the point of choosing which habit is most useful to us, where and at what time. Finally, it appears that every theoretical framework has its inconsistencies and hanging questions, otherwise theoreticians would be out of a job. My aim is not to solve them but rather to see how well a theory might work in application, which arguably, is the fitting goal of developing theory in the first place. Inconveniently, we don’t yet have a Theory of Everything (although I hear physics is working hard on developing one), which means that some theories apply to some aspects of experience and not to others, and this is how I have formulated my approach. Thus people are both conscious and habitual in their actions, at different times and in different places. Where possible I do attempt to grapple with theoretical inconsistencies while in other areas my only recourse (short of writing several more dissertations) is to fall back on pragmatics, based of course on my own experience of reality and what I have interpreted of others’. The hopeful benefit is that while the overall result is both intriguing and flawed, the resulting cross- and interdisciplinary reflection may stimulate new ideas and directions, which could easily be considered a prime goal of interdisciplinarity. 1.6 Structure of the dissertation  In Chapter 1, I introduce and frame the overarching problems of inadequate conceptions of behaviour and its change, in the face of the material persuasive forces of designed things and systems that enable and facilitate action. I briefly introduce the social practice lens and framework that I use, and state my intention to use the building-inhabitant relationship as a microcosm case study for characterising and understanding the ongoing tension between structure and agency. This is followed by the research questions that order the investigation, and in turn seek to stimulate thought, raise more questions, and explore new avenues of investigation and characterisation for the problems at hand.  To chart the research trajectory, in Chapter 2, I discuss some cognitive models of behaviour, in order to contrast against the social practice approach taken, and to establish why social practice theory is of utility to this particular research project. In doing so, I also connect social practice theory to “procedural sustainability”, an emerging way to think about  12 sustainability that has less to do with limits and fear, and more to do with collaborative, flexible processes in the face of uncertainty.  The building context for the social practice-oriented exploration of the building-inhabitant relationship is described in Chapter 3. The Center for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) is the single case study, designed using regenerative processes, to meet net positive goals. Regenerative development and design, and regenerative sustainability are briefly discussed here.  In Chapter 4 I outline the use, benefits and barriers of post-occupancy evaluation (POE) surveys in general, and the one used in this study in particular. I introduce a rarely-used “pre-to-post-occupancy evaluation”, which is a POE that relies on a pre-occupancy evaluation (PRE) as a baseline (in which the same survey is conducted before and after move-in). This survey process is followed by an interview which was structured with questions about the building tailored to loosely fall under the three elements of a social practice model: about meanings/ images, skills and objects. These questions allowed inhabitants to explore the meanings that the building held for them, any routines and habits that they may have developed since they moved in, and any skills and knowledge that may have developed as a result. I describe the mixed quantitative and qualitative assessments used, which include document and interview content analysis, statistical comparisons, correlations and their associated processes.  In Chapter 5, the building is conceived of as a symbol, imbued with various meanings, which play a part in inhabitant awareness. The meanings interpreted are also considered to comprise the meaning element of the bundle of practice performances of “being at CIRS”. These meanings are accessed through interpretations of interviews and survey comments, which are used to construct the “Lived stories” about what it means to be an inhabitant of CIRS. These lived stories are compared with each other to understand similarities and differences in experiences of CIRS. They are also compared with the “Official story” about CIRS, which is constructed from an analysis of engagement processes initiated at CIRS, media and documents about CIRS, some or all of which most inhabitants were exposed to,  13 over a 3-year period of time before and after moving in. The two Lived and Official stories are further conceived as a “qualitative analogue” to the quantitative performance gap (which describes the difference between expected and actual environmental performance of a building). The differences between expected and actual experience of the building is considered to be generative of ongoing co-created stories about CIRS, feeding forward into the meanings that shape practice, in an ongoing manner.  In Chapter 6 the building case study (CIRS) is described as an object that inhabitants interact with through social spaces and controls. The building is characterised as a passive “inhabitable environment and object” with various design affordances and “levers” available for engagement. The survey and interview responses provide insights into both building performance, as well as “potential” practices that appear to be developing, relating to using the building, and interacting with others. The POE data was statistically compared with the set of data provided in a Pre-Occupancy Evaluation (PRE), which provides a baseline for some of the POE result discussions, allowing some comment on the difference between CIRS and prior workplaces. In this sense, the building is conceived in this Chapter of as an instance of change: it is an object allowing an intervention (in routines, and the narrative of sustainability) into people’s lives.   Chapter 7 conceives of the building as an active, structuring agent of “ways of being” that impact human factors, and possible in routine and daily practice. I again relied on both survey and interview results to discuss preferences (conceived as indications of prior and expected practices, and thus the space for change in practice) and also the ways that the building context promotes and enhances human factors, and takes over relevant “pro-environmental” actions. As a result, this Chapter leads into the discussion about the proposed transition from occupant to inhabitant. This Chapter conceptualizes CIRS as an active agent, or instigator of change and intervention in inhabitants’ lives, with implications for “ways of being” and pro-environmental behaviour.   Chapter 8 concludes the dissertation with an overall synthesis of the characterisations of the building as symbol, object, and agent, and associated implications for engagement and  14 practice. This synthesis is followed by a summary of specific findings and general and emergent conclusions, as they relate to research questions, some methodological considerations, and suggestions for further research.    15 CHAPTER  2: DECENTERING AGENCY: FROM BEHAVIOUR TO PRACTICE …[T]he effect of taking the agent-in-an-environment rather than the isolated, self-contained individual as our point of departure is to collapse not only the venerable Durkheimian distinction between the individual and society, but also the division – which has traditionally rested on this distinction – between the two disciplines of anthropology and psychology… For we now recognise that such processes as thinking, perceiving, remembering and learning have to be studied within the ecological contexts of people’s interrelations with their environments. We recognise, too, that the mind and its properties are not given in advance of the individual’s entry into the social world, but are rather fashioned through a lifelong history of involvement in relationships with others. And we know that it is through the activities of the embodied mind (or enminded body) that social relationships are formed and reformed. Psychological and social processes are thus one and the same. (Ingold, 2000, p. 171).  2.1 Wasteful systems as default On the social side of sustainability, resource management more accurately appears to be “human” management; on this perspective it is people who consume resources. They must make choices and decisions that favour the unknown future and the collective, over their immediate needs and wants, amidst busy schedules and “getting through the day”. They consume because they are selfish and short-sighted, because life is nasty, brutish and short… Under this conception of managed, prescriptive sustainability – one that speaks of limits, constraints, shame and guilt – people must curb their behaviour, because it is the human consumer of resources that need “management”, rather than “resources”.  Unspoken in this conception is the fact that now globally-designed and distributed products and systems provide the fodder for consumer choices, and directly impact resource use. The design of the everyday objects and the systems of infrastructure with which we interact, has direct effect on what we do, and how. If the only available faucet is one that delivers a rainforest’s worth of water, then it is the default system of water delivery, produced based on a variety of design assumptions and decisions. These assumptions and decisions took place within socially-constructed systems of manufacture, supply, marketing and distribution. A neighbourhood that has large roads and no sidewalks, distant from an urban centre or transportation systems, was designed for the car, and ultimately discourages walking. Faucets and sidewalks are material, “structural systems”, which, simply through their material presence, have the ability to constrain and structure human activity. Understanding these  16 effects indicate why attempts to change individual (or even collective) behaviour is generally not enough mitigate environmental impact.  To illustrate this point more deeply with a simple domestic example (courtesy of Anderson, 2013), over the past one hundred and fifty years we have designed increasingly bigger water heaters, and showerheads that have the capacity to pour twenty-five luxurious litres of water per minute onto our bodies. This product design reflects the effort to align with the standards of cleanliness that have seeped their way into cultural unconsciousness.6 But through the trajectory of these designed products, around the world we have created systems that are inherently wasteful and unsustainable, and then the user consumer gets blamed for that waste. This blame exists partly because the notions of individual choice and freedom are so deeply embedded in culture.7 Companies use advertising campaigns to promote soap sales, in a context of a cultural fear of uncleanliness and normalized daily showers (and who can say which comes first), and these cultural changes each bring their own “spillover” effects or unintended consequences. In markets such as Vancouver, British Columbia, consumers don’t pay for their water consumption8, and in condominium developments, the cost of heating that water is bundled into flat-rate strata fees, rapidly becoming a dominant housing form in Vancouver. It is perhaps no coincidence that consumption of water in this location is of the highest in the world.                                                    6 The jury is out on whether designed products (and associated marketing) generates cultural demand, or whether cultural demand generates new designs. Like most dichotomies worth thinking about, the truth probably lies somewhere in between. 7 Disclaimer: throughout, when I refer to [my] “culture”, unless indicated otherwise I am speaking of what I have grown up with: Canadian culture. As Watters would claim (2014) this is also a WEIRD country, or one which is Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic, and as an anthropologist would point out, my Canadian/ North American roots result in the practices and worldviews passed primarily through “western”, colonialist, Judaeo-Christian influences. But I also have some alternative perspective thanks to a large indigenous family, formative years spent in Australia and Indonesia, world travel elsewhere, and of course training in cultural symbolic Anthropology. People with different cultural histories may still relate, in thanks to globalism, but I recognize, generally, that my perspective on culture will be unique and not necessarily shared in other places where governance, sociocultural and sociomaterial practices differ. 8 That is, residents pay for water services through property taxes, but domestic consumption is not currently metered.  17 And so in the absence of any signals of scarcity, we then perversely bombard people with messaging that attempts to shame them into reducing water and energy use, often using the threat of an as-yet intangible doom like climate change. In the wake of these efforts, perhaps it is only through the experience of a final, tangible and overarching catastrophe – such as losing a coastal city to rising sea levels – that we as a species will really come to change: when there is no recourse.   2.1.1 Structure vs. agency (and the problem with “pro-environmental behaviour change”) Just as the design, manufacture, marketing and distribution of a water heater and a showerhead are implicitly responsible for water and energy wastage, so too is the delivery of a much larger and more complex artefact, a building. In a utopic world, within a well-designed building that was continuously adaptable to its users’ needs, “behaviour change” might be a less loaded term. Individuals opening and leaving windows open would be understood to be a sign of stress, due to a designed environment that is too hot in the winter or too stuffy in the summer. That is, people aren’t necessarily being irresponsible and morally lax in leaving windows open when they shouldn’t, but rather, the building isn’t doing its job of retaining or venting heat, or hasn’t been zoned properly. Furthermore, its occupants haven’t been able to “inform” the building systems that their conditions are not satisfactory, and the building hasn’t been able to “learn” that certain zones, or even individuals have thermal comfort or air quality set-points that differ from expected.   At stake in the balance between structure and agency, between drivers of behaviour and what is being driven, is the agency of human beings: an active entity that is foregrounded against a taken-for-granted, passive “structure”. Issues of freedom, choice and responsibility, and ultimately power are contested concepts at the heart of understanding “what people do”, why they do one thing and not another. Going too far down the rabbit hole of nudging, designing, or mandating human action entails unethical manipulation, lack of choice and lack of freedom, meanwhile ignoring the fact that embedded within every designed material and system are assumptions about behaviour. By contrast, operating on the assumption that free will and unfettered choice are sacred brings us to problems of the “tragedy of the  18 commons”, where self-interested agents make seemingly rational decisions and in doing so act in ways that are detrimental to the wider collective. After Giddens and Bourdieu, this never-ending tension between structure and agency is here considered to be mutually constitutive and reproductive at the same time. Giddens’ Theory of Structuration indicates that “[a]ctor’s practices are, at once, the substance (medium) and the outcome of structure.” (Gieryn, 2002, pp. 36-37).  The question of change, at both individual and larger systemic scales, is one that has concerned social and psychology theorists of all stripes. Psychologists typically consider individual, cognitive cues and causes, while sociologists consider the effect of group aspects such as norms, and context; each position has something to offer the other. Other models of behaviour at more abstract levels take into account the apparent agency of objects, or the movement of niche technologies into the landscape and regime, however these approaches do not explicitly consider the human, who is undeservedly at the centre of considerations of energy consumption. It is the aim of this thesis to attempt to strike a balance between understanding systems and agents, which according to Structuration Theory, must both play a part in the reproduction of daily activities. These understandings will arrive through a characterisation of a context, in the performance of a building; and through exploring the ways that social practice, engagement, well-being, health and productivity emerge, or don’t, in context.  Thus, notions of what behaviour is determines what we try to do to change it; and materiality and systems are underrated in terms of their impact on “what we do”. Pro-environmental behaviour is therefore not simply some cognitive construct that is swayed one way or another through framing, persuasion or nudging; human activity is inherently, inseparably bound to context. Human activity is always in relationship with material objects, and/or people, within a broader context of what anthropologists might call culture (or, the background, the habitus, or the practical consciousness). The study of what is understood as “behaviour change”, or engagement, must therefore be constituted by what changes through negotiation and reinvention, taking place between situated forces of structure and agency  19 over time. The point is that the activities we undertake are themselves dynamic, and their emergence is often uncertain and therefore unpredictable.   In other words, what is understood – as implied by behaviour change campaigns, for example – as "pro-environmental behaviour”, or actions that constitute one’s self-identity as an environmentalist, or a society as quite sustainable, are not just morally weighty individual decisions. Rather, pro-environmental behaviour takes the form of simple routinized practices, which take shape depending on that emergent conversation – between forces of structure, and agency. People employ practices in order to accomplish goals of comfort and convenience, rather than to necessarily accomplish goals of conservation. Some of these practices can be constrained, directed, and enhanced by building design, programming, and location within wider contexts – and then, through the concordant development of new expectations of ways of living, they are carried elsewhere, taking on a life of their own, as practices do.  2.1.2 A building as structure, and agent Every school, college, and university… has a hidden curriculum consisting of its buildings, grounds, and operations. Like the infrastructure of the larger society, [the building] structures what students see, how they move, what they eat, their sense of time and space, how they relate to each other, how they experience particular places - and it affects their capacity to imagine better alternatives. (Orr, 1998)  In talking about structures and behaviour, in terms of the design of the things and infrastructures of our world, and how these things are intertwined with, and help shape (and are shaped by) our daily activities in our everyday lives, it is my intention to explore a fractal microcosm that illustrates these relationships.   Buildings possess a multiple nature: they are passive, energy-intensive objects, they constrain and shape activity, and they are also dynamic cultural symbols. They are ubiquitous, and for all these reasons, sit at the intersection of multiple opportunities of intervention. A novel building form that is geared towards environmental and social enhancement – entailing change in materiality and behaviour, is one that provides fertile ground for investigation.    20 Buildings are therefore particularly appropriate sites for studying everyday life: they can be used by analogy, as a microcosm of this ongoing interrelationship between people and material systems, between agency and structure. Buildings are large consumers of materials, energy, water, labour, and other resources throughout their lifecycle, as well as during operations: as the story goes, we can spend up to 90% of our time indoors. In fact, the secondary energy consumption (i.e., operating energy) of commercial and residential buildings combined amounts to one third of Canada’s energy consumption (Natural Resources Canada, 2012) and about one third of Canada’s GHG emissions from secondary sources (Natural Resources Canada, 2011).   Buildings are also important specifically because although they do not dictate, they nevertheless help to shape what we do on a daily basis and, to some degree, how we feel. Occupants are the most extensive “testers” of their building environment, yet they are rarely asked about how the building is working for them, and it is even more rarely investigated if and how their building structures awareness and habits, or enhances their overall experience – of their day, well-being, productivity or health. Considering the amount of time we spend inside, these are interesting, even essential questions that are rarely given more than passing thought: buildings are, at most and in the beginning, distant heroic forms and icons, and mute background canvases to the rush of everyday life. And without occupant feedback feeding forward into future design, we are potentially continuing to produce buildings that simply, neither work for inhabitants nor the environment, nor create understanding about what does. A means of assessment linked to feedback is crucial to the entire enterprise of understanding what people do, in the context of a building.  2.1.3 Tiny levers (in buildings); buildings as tiny levers (in society) One case that offers itself for a conveniently bounded study takes the shape of a novel building form, therefore intervening in various ways on the everyday lives of its occupants. Occupant activities are circumscribed by the opportunities for action, or “affordances” of the building. Affordances are the perceived and actual properties of a thing, which give perceptual clues to its operation; these clues are buried in cultural knowledge. “A flat plate mounted on a door affords pushing. Knobs afford turning, pushing, and pulling. Slots are for  21 inserting things into. Balls are for throwing or bouncing. Perceived affordances help people figure out what actions are possible without the need for labels or instructions.” (Norman, 2013, p. 13).  These affordances amount to interventions on what people do, and their use can lead to effects that not only scale up per user, but also have spillover effects. A simple lever that allows a window to open, also empowers an inhabitant to alter their environment – and doing so inside an adaptive, responsive building, can lead to reduced use of HVAC systems and therefore energy consumption, leading in turn to reduced GHG emissions, which helps mitigates climate change.   The availability of this otherwise innocuous, taken-for-granted lever (i.e., Photo 6.1), in providing an inhabitant control, can in turn help to reduce frustration and therefore distraction, and promote lower-energy modes of maintaining thermal comfort (in a temperate climate, at least). These consequences – improved control, greater focus, fresh air and lower energy consumption – in turn are each connected in some ways to well-being, productivity and health, with implications at both the personal and societal level. It’s amazing how much the “little things” can make a difference.   In considering mundane, simple tools like an operable window and their importance in broader context, one is reminded of the centuries-old proverb: “For want of a nail, the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; for want of a horse the rider was lost… for want of a battle, the kingdom was lost. And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.” This proverb is about unforeseen consequences, but it is also about how seemingly small and inconsequential events, can in the end, have large impacts. The lever is the final product, visible like the tip of an iceberg, resting on an obscured and taken-for-granted mass of cultural assumptions and systems.   The impact of using a single operable window may be miniscule when taken individually, but humankind has a way of multiplying impacts – and its spillover impacts – exponentially over time. If anything, the history of the impact of humankind on the planet is an illustrative list of  22 unforeseen consequences, or even the consequences of scaling up. The 70s oil crisis spurred tightly sealed building envelopes, which decades later in conjunction with various other local factors, was partly responsible for the leaky condo fiasco in Vancouver, Canada (Barrett, 1998). Since this time as well, conventional buildings have reduced number of air exchanges bringing in fresh air by 50-75% – an energy-intensive process – thereby reducing indoor air quality, and measurably reducing human health and cognitive performance (Allen, MacNaughton, & Satish, 2016). The modern hot glass boxes desired around the world for office buildings have all but obliterated indigenous cooling systems and socio-cultural adaptations in hot climates, leading to globally ubiquitous air conditioning systems and even steeper energy consumption.   As most of us spend the greater part of our lives inside buildings, and because employees constitute the largest cost for companies, it is worth asking, how might our well-being, health and productivity be enhanced in this most common environment that humans construct and inhabit? Can building design contribute greater good to human being? Can it also help to create awareness, of sustainability? Finally, an overarching question is, can a building also act to engage its inhabitants, in an ongoing dialogue that continually revisits these topics, and creates the topics anew? The question that follows from this investigation is, how can a building transform traditionally passive occupants into more pro-active inhabitants of place?   Moving towards these questions, a building can be conceived of as a conveniently bounded case study in space and place – as a symbol representing myths that resonate (or don’t) in society, as a distinct object that people interact with, and as shaper of activity. Stairs and aisles channel occupants, social spaces can welcome and invoke territoriality, signage can inform and irritate, visual and acoustic divisions can help and hinder productivity.  While any building can be conceived as accomplishing these things, regenerative, or “net-positive buildings” claim to accomplish them in quite specific ways: on the social side, through enhancing human-being, including well-being, productivity, and health. The building and its inhabitants together effectively form a system of activities: in many ways, the building and users together form a kind of cyborg entity (R. Cole et al., 2008) that is  23 increasingly common in our technological age. Technologies – from devices to the internet to agricultural innovations – have expanded our collective and individual physical and mental capacities far beyond what is biologically possible. While performative technologies are not all embedded in bodies, the distance, for example, between a smartphone held in the hand, and embedded in the hand is very slim, and if you disregard that distance then we are already effectively cyborgs. Where mutual feedback occurs – the building provides information on its performance, and the user provides information on their needs, on a continuous basis – it is easy to conceive of an interactive, adaptive building, and its user(s) as an integrated whole.    A regenerative building is one that is inherently self-renewing, and also becomes part of the larger ecosystem. It absorbs from, returns nutrients to, and otherwise enhances its niche. According to proponents of regenerative design (R. Cole, 2012a, 2012b; R. Cole et al., 2012; R. Cole, Robinson, & Oliver, 2013; du Plessis & Cole, 2011; P. Mang & Reed, 2012a; Reed, 2007; Robinson & Cole, 2014), it is possible to design such a building, both in theory and practice. The question now being asked is, does it perform as intended, and if so, how well? On a very practical level, if we are to justify the cost and existence of an apparently new building type, industry and clients alike need to know how the building performs, so that it can prove its worth and be replicated.  2.2 Are you a model of good behaviour… The number of rational hypotheses that can explain any given phenomenon is infinite. (Pirsig, 1974, p. 139)  The push-pull tension between the relative importance of structure and agency as shapers of human action is often characterised by sociologists as a “problem”: it is part of a sociologist’s job to debate which one ascends over the other. On the side of agency, we have various theories of action and change, many of them psychological, and many of these are based on models that describe behaviour as the result of a decision. These are therefore known as the rational choice, or deliberative choice models (Darnton, 2008a, 2008b).  Rational choice models of behaviour assume that if people have the right information, they will use it to optimize benefits to themselves, and to minimise personal costs. Under this view,  24 action or behaviour therefore amounts to the result of carrying out a cost-benefit, utility-maximizing decision (McFadden, Machina, & Baron, 1999). In other words, rationality has a technical meaning based on the notion of utility-maximization in economics: you do the thing that seems most likely to serve your interests, in light of what information you have, in order to achieve a particular goal. 9   The general schema for a rational choice-based model (Figure 2.1) explains action by reference to an internal, cognitive and deliberative process, which is set in motion by information. That is, behaviour is the outcome of a linear choice-making process, which is informed by information and cognitive constructs such as values, beliefs and intentions.   Figure 2.1: Early rational choice model of behaviour10    Social practice scholars have also called these “purpose-oriented” models, because they focus on the outcomes of individual behaviour, assumed to be the end result of specific causal factors (Kuijer & Bakker, 2015). Because of the models’ reliance on fundamental drivers of behaviour including “Attitudes”, “Beliefs” and “Choices” (or alternately, “Context”), they have also been referred to as the “ABC” models (Shove, 2010a).                                                  9 The popular conception of the dichotomy between “rationality” and “irrationality” is not relevant here; for example, without “irrational” emotion there’d be no goal to strive for, and as such emotion effectively underwrites what is otherwise termed “rational” behaviour.  10 Based on Kollmuss & Agyeman’s model of pro-environmental behaviour detailing: Environmental Knowledge à Environmental Attitude à Pro-environmental Behaviour. Kollmuss, 2002, p.241.  25  One of the most problematic assumptions of the rational choice model is that people always act rationally. Though this assumption of rationality is now widely considered to be a major flaw (Bamberg & Möser, 2007; Darnton, 2008b; Jackson, 2005; Kollmuss & Agyeman, 2002), its original proponents still maintain that "people are essentially rational, in that they ‘make systematic use of information available to them’ and are not ‘controlled by unconscious motives or overpowering desires’, neither is their behavior ‘capricious or thoughtless’." (Fishbein and Ajzen cited in Kollmuss & Agyeman, 2002, p. 242).  In this comment, Fishbein and Ajzen may simply be attempting to enlarge a definition of rationality – that is, perhaps people act according to different, or more complicated standards, than researchers assume and look for, or perhaps what is defined as “rationality” is different from what we understand. Certainly, using as much energy or water as you can afford, even if your neighbours have none, is “rational” – it “optimizes benefits” to the individual, and "minimises personal costs”, while damaging prospects for the wider collective. Definitions of rationality may change as we come to understand the differences between, for example, “hot” and “cold” cognition; or the seemingly autonomous power of the sub-conscious processes of the brain (Eagleman, 2011).   While the rational choice model depicted above is over-simplified, and also long recognised as out-dated (Darnton, 2008b; Darnton, Verplanken, White, & Whitmarsh, 2011; Jackson, 2005; Kollmuss & Agyeman, 2002) and there is of course a large array of models of behaviour and its change,11 still the general assumption in behaviour change models and policies is that people can make the “right” choices and will therefore act as desired (particularly if apparent barriers are removed), and that there’s a unidirectional, causal chain from motivators to behavioural outcome. We can observe this through considerations of how                                                  11 For a summary and discussion of over 60 social-psychological models and theories of behaviour, see Darnton 2008a, 2008b.  26 change effort campaigns proceed: through information intended to educate and presented as framing values, nudging choices, removing perceived barriers, prescribing steps to consider; as harnessed to fear, shame, empowerment, group behaviour, individual social positioning, habits, etc.   Other theorists assert that action is profoundly non-deliberative, entailing no conscious thinking or choice-making at all:  Despite the common assumptions of economics in many circumstances, people, it turns out, often aren’t actually all that “rational” in their behaviours and decisions. They don’t conduct some sort of complicated cost-benefit calculation when faced with a choice. In fact, they are just as likely to do what they have always done, what impulse tells them to do or what their neighbours or friends generally do as to do what is most beneficial. And what’s more, they’re often well aware that their own actions aren’t in their best interests. (Prendergast 2008, p6).  That is, people are as likely to do what they have always done, in part because deliberation or choice-making is an energy-consuming process. In the face of the many demands on our attention, people habitualize their daily activities into routines that are easy to follow automatically, and that therefore free up valuable cognitive resources for new challenges (Darnton, 2008a; Jackson, 2005). As a result, behaviours become solidified into habits and routines at any opportunity, and they are in turn reinforced by designed products and the sociocultural systems that we interact with, like buildings, transportation and city planning, shopping malls and lifestyle consumption patterns, all of which are not only pervasive but rarely questioned. It is much easier and more convenient to continue using existing, designed systems than it is to change them, and thus systems and behaviours mutually “ratchet” more and more tightly over time (Shove, 2003b).   The point here is to indicate that rational choice models can be positioned on the extreme side of a “theories of action continuum”, in which behaviour is conceived as the result of internal, cognitive, conscious processes, and the agent is entirely intentional. At the other end, where social practice resides, “behaviour” is conceived as predominantly unconscious, embodied and habitual, and shaped by external factors such as those from culture (discussed in the next Section 2.3). Perhaps not surprisingly, the continuum also reflects the Cartesian dualism between mind and body, an insolvable dichotomy, to which the only response is to stake a claim at some point along that continuum. Thus, although social practice theorists  27 don’t tend to think of practice as a sort of behaviour in the psychological, cognitive sense, I posit that habitual behaviour – a stable sort of social practice – is a “sort” of behaviour, resident at the non-cognitive, embodied end of the continuum.  Thus the rational choice models of behaviour are often criticised by scholars of embodied and habitual models of behaviour (Gram-Hanssen, 2015; Kuijer & Bakker, 2015; Shove, 2010a, 2010b). Particularly, rational choice models are considered representative of why behaviour change models don’t work in general – because these models don’t refer to the features of action that practice scholars consider more relevant. As you may be gathering by now, my claim is staked towards the embodied, habitual, externally structured side, but with acknowledgement that conscious, deliberative thought and activity takes place. This is because the two theories of action under discussion here (referring on the one hand to almost “computer-like” predictable individual minds, and on the other hand, to unthinking automaton carriers of practices) are hard to work with, not least in the face of my own everyday human experience, in which both unthinking habits and mental deliberation figure daily.  As such, claiming (as some social practice theorists do) that people do not make choices, or that they are not purpose-driven or intentional, or that their decisions are not informed by beliefs, values or attitudes, seems unhelpful and counterintuitive at best, and at worst, amounts to a straw-man argument or false dichotomy. Many things that people do are deliberative, purpose-driven, and intentional. My point is that there are different sorts of behaviours that apply at different times and in different contexts. The behaviours that I am interested in exploring in this dissertation are the often (but not always) non-deliberative, habitual sort, which become habitual in interaction with other doings, sayings, and things.  2.2.1 The information deficit and the value-action gap  Early rational choice models were also called (information) ‘deficit’ models, because they assumed that providing knowledge would lead to desired behaviours: all that was required was to fill in the deficit or lack of information (Kollmuss & Agyeman, 2002, p. 241). While information of course plays a part in any engagement process (Talwar, Wiek, & Robinson,  28 2011), and is demanded for the development of meanings, skills and understandings, it does not alone shape attitudes and beliefs, nor is it a primary driver of behaviour. If information alone could change behaviour, obesity would be solved by the weighing scale. Talwar et al. confirm that “there is more literature documenting the failure of information to influence decisions than demonstrating success.” (2011). Yet despite the fact that practitioners widely understand that providing information alone rarely leads to the expected or desired action, many authors confirm the continued prevalence of information-based programming in behaviour change efforts (Darnton, 2008b, p. 10).  Further complicating ideas about behaviour, is evidence showing that the decision-based intentions that people have about acting do not always indicate what they will, in fact, do. For example, Triandis’ Theory of Interpersonal Behaviour (TIB) indicates that attitudes can have an influence on the intention to act, but that attitudes do not themselves determine those actions.   As we collectively know, despite rising levels of environmental awareness, levels of pro-environmental behaviour remain low. This phenomenon is called the value-action gap, or the difference between what people say they value, and what they do (Blake, 1999; Mirosa, Lawson, & Gnoth, 2013). The value-action gap is predicated on the notion that values are causally related to action (which according to the general rational choice model, is in turn based the notion that information is even salient to, or has the power to change values in the first place). As such, the value-action gap is something of a description of how the information deficit model fails.   The value-action gap is “the central paradox of the cognitive approach" (Hargreaves, 2008, p. 35), and reasons for its persistence range widely throughout the literature, from small to large scale, from individual to institutional, internal and external barriers and factors. It is a paradox because by virtue of many demonstrations of the value-action gap itself, assumptions of causality between behaviour and its modelled antecedents, are called into question (Shove, 2010a, p. 1276), yet behaviour change approaches remain information and cognitively-based.   29  It should be pointed out here as well that the a priori notion of a causal linkage between behaviour and cognitive factors is problematic in the first place. There’s no question that any of these cognitive factors exist, but, what is it about the qualities of a value, or beliefs, or intentions, that connect any of these to the apparent effect that is a behaviour? Then assuming that we’ve sorted that out – and if behaviour is driven by such a huge range of contextual factors as is listed by one theorist12 – how can we say that behaviour is caused by anything at all?   Despite all of this, rational choice models remain dominant in institutional and government policy at various levels. Criticisms indicate that the rational choice models of behaviour change are particularly persistent because they are amenable to quantitative studies, statistical analysis, and accordingly, steps of intervention (Blake, 1999; Eagle, Morey, Case, Verne, & Bowtell, 2011; Kollmuss & Agyeman, 2002). Implied in these criticisms, is that the reason qualitative kinds of investigation into behaviour are not used, is because they produce unpredictable, “messy” results. The orientation towards incentives and interventions “have been too focused on making technical and economic sense while disregarding the social logic of energy use” (Katzeff & Wangel, 2015); in other words, they “fail to incorporate structural and institutional arrangement that enable or constrain individual environmental action” (Blake, 1999, p. 265). And in focusing on the individual, and how their behaviour may be good or bad, attention is diverted from other, systemic aspects of change (Kuijer & Bakker, 2015).                                                   12For example, Shove refers to Stern’s characterisation of “context” as a catch-all variable in behaviour, listed as having at least the following characteristics: “interpersonal influences (e.g., persuasion, modeling); community expectations; advertising; government regulations; other legal and institutional factors (e.g., contract restrictions on occupants of rental housing); monetary incentives and costs; the physical difficulty of specific actions; capabilities and constraints provided by technology and the built environment (e.g., building design, availability of bicycle paths, solar energy technology); the availability of public policies to support behavior (e.g., curbside recycling programs); and various features of the broad social, economic, and political context (e.g., the price of oil, the sensitivity of government to public and interest group pressures, interest rates in financial markets).” (2010a, p. 1275).  30  Some further claim that policy is based on psychological models of behaviour, and vice versa, because they mutually reinforce each other, because defined models assume uniformity of behaviour and can be implemented to predict outcomes; they provide a sense of control because policy is by definition purpose-driven (Blake, 1999; Eagle et al., 2011; Gram-Hanssen, 2011; Kuijer & Bakker, 2015; Shove, 2010a; Strengers, 2008). Shove summarises this point by noting that: … the ABC is the dominant paradigm in contemporary environmental policy… [and] is also a template for intervention that locates citizens as consumers and decision makers and that positions governments and other institutions as enablers whose role is to induce people to make pro-environmental decisions for themselves and deter them from opting for other less desired courses of action. (Shove, 2010a, p. 1280).  It’s easier and cheaper to frame and deliver information (Steg & Tertoolen, 1999), than it is to alter, or even dismantle massive, deeply- and widely-rooted social, economic, and material systems of manufacture, supply, demand, and consumption – let alone “worldviews”, if such an aspect is even considered. And as a result, the tight relationship between such models and policy takes up space that could be used for alternative interpretations, perspectives and solutions (Geels, Berkhout, & van Vuuren, 2016; Shove, 2010a).  2.2.2 The importance of others So, behaving oneself is not necessarily a cost-benefit calculation and decision, and it’s not always clear what exactly “causes” behaviour in the first place. What other factors have a bearing on behaviour?  The theory of cognitive dissonance, one of the most robust theories in psychology with a 50-year history and effectively a theory of attitude change, has something to say, within the bounds of psychology, about behaviour, attitudes, and the critical importance of the group. My interest in this theory grew out of the question about why people’s actions didn’t always seem aligned with their professed values. The theory in fact demonstrates that attitudes tend to change before behaviour does (J. Cooper, 2007). Dissonance theory relates to the ways that an individual attempts to reduce the dissonance resulting from encountering a cognition that doesn’t jibe with the ones already held – through rationalization or changing attitudes  31 (amongst other coping mechanisms). This theory accounts for “denial” or disbelieving that something is true, in the face of all the “facts”.  According to the cognitive dissonance literature, the supporting, aligning or bolstering effect of the individual’s group is key to the maintenance of a system of belief (Festinger, Rieken, & Schachter, 1956, p. 28). The “maintenance of belief” in the face of contrary information is the hallmark of cognitive dissonance theory (J. Cooper, 2007).   The significance and point of departure for me in this theory is not the cognitive mechanisms but rather (1) the “closed loop” nature of shared beliefs: dissonance is only relevant in a particular group, meaning that if you’re not part of that group then there’s no dissonance to resolve, and (2) how important group cohesion is, for the maintenance of belief. 13 This had some resonance for me in terms of social practice in considering how group norms – shaping both the habitus and societal structures – are held and reproduced in practice. There is a vast set of literature detailing the effect of norms on behaviour including pro-environmental behaviour, and the possibility of harnessing them for behaviour change (Balcetis & Dunning, 2007; Bamberg & Möser, 2007; Cialdini, 2007; Dillard & Shen, 2005; Nolan, Schultz, Cialdini, Goldstein, & Griskevicius, 2008; P. W. Schultz, Khazian, & Zaleski, 2008; P. Wesley Schultz, Nolan, Cialdini, Goldstein, & Griskevicius, 2007; Stern, Dietz, Abel, Guagnano, & Kalof, 1999; Thomas, Mcgarty, & Mavor, 2010).   There’s also evidence showing that we remain wedded to our beliefs even in the face of evidence to the contrary, such that we end up with essentially pre-determined conclusions that fit with our values, through filtering mechanisms. In bipartisan decision-making, for example, a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) identified what amounted to pre-determined, emotion-biased decision-making, in the face of negative feedback on a                                                  13 About the “closed system” nature of belief maintenance: cognitive dissonance is only relevant within a group of individuals that share beliefs. Which is why someone who doesn’t already “believe” that global warming is happening, won’t even suffer the cognitive dissonance of finding facts that it is.  32 chosen political candidate (Westen, Blagov, Harenski, Kilts, & Hamann, 2006). Since the deliberative choice models are unidirectional, they do not account for those situations where behaviour change occurs before attitude change (see , e.g., J. Cooper, 2007; Harmon-Jones & Mills, 1999).  In other words, changing our behaviour (in the absence of the apparently more rapid epiphanic experience) – is so challenging to our sense of self that we use all sorts of rationalizations to avoid it, in order to remain aligned within our groups. As psychologist Elliott Aronson has discussed in terms of cognitive dissonance, we really only pay attention to the things that correspond to decisions and beliefs we already have (NPR, 2007), and thus behaviours remain ingrained.  2.2.3 From persuasive infrastructure… to procedural engagement Persuasive, interventionist approaches are well-used in behaviour change policy, including for example the US/ Obama administration-endorsed “Nudge” approach, which came to mainstream notice with the release of Thaler and Sunstein’s book of the same name. This is a subtle libertarian paternalist approach to behaviour change that relies on the alteration of the “choice architecture” in a person’s environment (Thaler & Sunstein, 2009).14 Nudge and other persuasive approaches therefore fall under the purpose-driven rubric to changing behaviour: the goal is to compel a specific outcome, without regard for motivations (or desires for alternatives). In other words, the Nudge approach requires cognitive and physical energy to conduct behaviour in the undesirable direction (not an undertaking that is altogether “rational”).                                                   14 A nudge is a subtle social or physical feature of the environment that attracts people's attention and acts to trigger a desired behaviour at the unconscious level, but in a way that nudges or guides the desired choice, while not mandating or prohibiting any others. It is often formulated as a “default setting” requiring deliberation and effort in order to opt for another outcome (such as “opting out” of a default organ donor setting when obtaining a driver’s license). It is therefore a mix of “libertarianism” and “paternalism” in that free choice is still permitted, but the choice desired by the policy-maker is pre-determined and “guided”. A frequently-quoted example is the placement of more desirable products (that the store prefers to sell) at eye level in a supermarket.   33  Similarly, infrastructural change in the form of speed bumps and calming circles would also be considered paternalist solutions to the behaviour of “driving fast”, as would government regulations for food safety; yet for the most part these are seen as necessary, common goods. Steg and Tertoolen note that attitude change often follows structural change: the example they give concerns reimbursing travel on public transport, and after time, attitudes alter to align with the behaviour change that was originally structurally (institutionally) shaped (Steg & Tertoolen, 1999). This brings to light the important role that large social institutions (e.g., universities and governments) and social forces (e.g., pressure of environmental groups, changing norms) have to play in behaviour change; and also the fact that responsibility and impetus for change cannot always lie solely with the individual.   Less “paternalistically”, product advertising, that behemoth body of social engineering which has honed and mastered the techniques of persuasion since the days of selling snake oil and beyond, is, some would say, even more profoundly manipulative than infrastructural change. Yet advertising is to some degree accepted as both a necessary evil or even a good (for corporations and therefore for the economy).15 Of course, “common good” is understood differently in different quarters. The CEO of Exxon will define a common good differently from the owner of a co-operative dairy. Thus, despite the apparent freedom of choice (treasured in North America at least as an intrinsic good) in the nudge approach, it is still criticised for paternalism and lack of ethics. It is also an approach that is top-down, only working in “one direction”, from an authority to the consumer or user.   It is worth making the point here, that these contradictions and criticisms of persuasive, interventionist approaches rely on a central conceit. The conceit involves ignorance of the fact that design entails fundamental assumptions about how people will interact with the                                                  15 Today’s consumers are so savvy and knowledgeable about the shape, form, and purpose of persuasive efforts on their attention and wallets that advertising efforts have long been a topic of everyday discussion.  34 objects and systems at hand: design decisions have already been formulated and implicitly or explicitly channelled and embedded into the material and cultural systems that we create and proceed to interact with. Labelling persuasive interventionist approaches as (the somewhat pejorative) “social engineering” may simply reflect the uncomfortable fact that the intervention has been intentionally designed and implemented, and is obvious to all concerned. But in sum, infrastructure has always had persuasive effects, whether consciously understood as such or not.  So when it comes to engagement and behaviour change, then, maybe a better question is, why do we allow our behaviour to be dictated or manipulated in some contexts and not in others? Why is it acceptable to assume freedom in some areas of common good, but not others?  Beyond individual responses to behaviour change in the realm of sustainability, tension exists over “who gets to decide” what is common about a good, and contestation exists in part because sustainability is still a niche value (or ethic, or worldview). Contestation over the “constructive ambiguity” (Robinson, 2004) of what sustainability means, and how behaviour should change to meet it, only serves to highlight both the relative novelty of sustainability as a social construct, and also how reactions against sustainability efforts may indicate at least the beginnings of deep change. This is precisely why solutions to sustainability – as contested an area as any in the social realm (Ehrenfeld, 2008) – must be derived “procedurally”, that is, through collective procedures of two-way dialogue.   Specifically, some theorists argue that persuasive communication is appropriate when societal goals are widely agreed upon (such as recycling, energy efficiency as helpful practices in principle), while dialogue is appropriate when goals are disputed (such as “the future of my city”) (Antle, Tanenbaum, Macaranas, & Robinson, 2014; Bendor, Lyons, & Robinson, 2012). Emergent dialogue provides the basis for an approach to sustainability that is procedural, requiring engagement at multiple points and levels.    35 Within sustainability efforts, a proponent of emergent dialogue, “procedural” sustainability”, (Robinson, 2004) is defined as “the emergent property of a societal conversation about the kind of world we want to live in, informed by an understanding of the ecological, social and economic consequences of our individual and collective actions.” (Robinson, Berkhout, Cayuela, & Campbell, 2013). This conversation can occur between individuals and collectives, whether stances are implied through activities, or through discussion, through voting, or as mediated by technologies. This is the essence of a kind of sustainability that is procedural: it requires ongoing engagement and collaborative problem-solving, to do with behaviour, the qualities of sustainability, and interactions with our material world, which can includes resources, product consumption, building design, etc.   Procedural sustainability is an approach that is in process of being discussed and defined, with much work already conducted under Robinson at UBC (T. Berkhout, 2013; Burch, 2009; Dusyk, 2013; Maggs, 2014; O'Shea, 2012), and the ideas about interaction and engagement between inhabitant and building proposed by this dissertation are aligned with it.  2.3 …Or are you “just going through the motions”? …[p]ractice theory is a body of work about the work of the body. With one or two exceptions, this loose network of approaches to social theory takes the human body to be the nexus of ‘arrays of activities’ (i.e. practices) that agents perform with greater or lesser commitment, dexterity and grace. Whilst some of these practices are widely diffused across social space and time, others are found clustered in configurations that change over time through the socially (re)productive agency of practitioners. (Brauchler & Postill, 2010).  Complicating the concept of deliberative action further, is the fact that there’s only so much attention that an individual can pay to any given issue: there is an “attention economy” (Goldhaber, 1997), just as we have a limited amount of willpower (Baumeister & Tierney, 2011). In busy daily lives, priorities are drawn, shortcuts taken, and this generally means a focus on immediate, habitual activities: these activities are those that we undertake to achieve goals of convenience, comfort, and cleanliness (Shove, 2003a). Under this view, a theoretical approach to understanding human action called social practice theory, people don’t act to reduce energy consumption: they act to achieve convenience and speed (by driving a car instead of taking a bus), to achieve ease of comfort (by employing a culturally- and  36 materially-ingrained practice of turning up the heat instead of putting on a sweater), and to achieve culturally-expected cleanliness (by taking a hot shower under a rainforest showerhead every day instead of a bath once a week – sometimes shared by the entire family – for example). Our systems of provision and consumption, our economic systems fed by consumerism and designed obsolescence – the very ones that we create and then become dependent upon – in turn help to train us, the consumers of services and products, how and what to consume.   To a large degree, perhaps as a result of the limitations on our attention and willpower, when we navigate our way through our everyday physical and social worlds, we do so habitually. In some estimations, as much as 95% of a person’s time is conducted habitually, that is, without any real decision-making (Darnton et al., 2011; Jackson, 2005); Pentland claims that activity is mediated predominantly through environment and social signals (2010). We tend to generate and rely on a set of habits, routines, or practices, that allow us to get through the day, thanks to the support of societal and normative structures that inform and facilitate our embodied know-how. This reduces mental (and often physical) effort, thereby freeing limited time and energy up for new challenges. And in relying on habits, we become detached from original motivating factors (Darnton, 2008b, p. 23) such that we begin to forget the original reason for engaging in an activity in the first place. These structures produce action because it’s “the way things are done” – and in the moment of doing, the shape of our institutions and our expectations are reproduced as well, sometimes with a small incremental change.  Finally it is worth remembering that our conception of behaviour affects how we attempt to change it, and if our concepts of behaviour don’t describe the full range of human behaviour, then our change efforts will be insufficient as well. If we think of behaviour as the rational outcome of a morally-weighted, deliberated decision based on attitudes, values, emotions, and/or intentions, then we will attempt to change it through doom saying, or norms-targeted shame campaigns, provision of meticulously framed information, and/or perhaps through the making of public commitments. This is why we get messaging about doing our part, getting out of cars (which can afford convenience, flexibility and independence) and taking transit (which may be infrequent, overcrowded, and poorly connected, particularly if side  37 trips for childcare or shopping is required) – in order to reduce GHG emissions and climate change. Instead of, for example, seeing governments allocate funds to the infrastructure and policies required to enable a transit trip that is faster and more convenient than driving, or affordable housing that isn’t in the distant suburb. Even more rarely do we witness wide-scale divestment from oil, decommissioning a coal plant and investing in renewable energy resources. It is possible that we are witnessing a tipping point with respect to these particular large-scale changes, but the list is still long.  So, despite having deployed decades’ worth of information on environmental harm and climate change, in 2015 we are witness to verifiably melting icecaps, rising sea levels, the need to evacuate islands, and 400ppm of atmospheric CO2, well above the recommended upper limit of 350ppm. If our approaches to changing the behaviour of the human animal are not producing the desired results, then perhaps its not that people are necessarily inherently self-centred and shortsighted (although they may very well be), but that our very conceptions of pro-environmental behaviour are insufficient.   2.3.1 Social practices The point of outlining rational choice models and the implications of considering behaviour as driven by cognitive causes, is to contrast this most familiar model with a cultural one that explains action (and social order) through reference to social practices, or a collection of “doings and sayings, with things”. Put simply, the two approaches are epistemologically and ontologically different (Caldwell, 2012; Halkier & Jensen, 2011; Kuijer & Bakker, 2015; Rouse, 2006; Schatzki, 2012; Shove, 2010a, 2011; S. Turner, 1994; Whitmarsh, O'Neill, & Lorenzoni, 2011). The dominant psychological theories about behaviour refer to internal, cognitive factors that result in individual action, and those cognitive factors can be thought of as constituting a wide set of motivating variables, with various effects. Thus, individuals act – in context, in reaction to the environment, as reflective of externalized norms, etc.; but they do so as a result of an internal, decision-making processes. The individual is therefore the progenitor of, and at the centre of behaviour.    38 But where else would the individual be, if not at the centre of, or acting as the progenitor of their own actions? Taking a social practice view entails understanding that people act in tightly interconnected relationship with others, mutually creating social order between each other – really, between their doings (as embedded with sayings, and things). Also, social order is simultaneously being produced and reproduced, through that very interaction. Taking the example of an inhabitant interacting with a window – as already mentioned, the “tip of the iceberg” tiny lever that can represent so much – in an interrelationship which is simultaneously structured and recreated at each point of action. At what point did the understanding about how to open a window start? Why is the window designed that way in the first place – it seals, it is see-through, it can or cannot be opened by an occupant – of course, because it was designed for certain purposes. So how do we know whether it can be opened, how it can be opened, and whether it “should” be opened? How do we know what reactions from others are likely to be if we do so? Certainly a thought (or even a pre-thought, a sensation) rises to at least semi-consciousness – that we are hot or cold, and we automatically know what to do about it – our bodies do – based on prior and current experience. This action of opening the window also takes into account what it “means” – about people, what they are expected to do, how they will react, the way buildings are designed, energy consumption, health and well-being – if we are able to open the window at any time, or if we cannot. This is what is meant by “embodied” – all of these kinds of knowledge are, as it were, already embedded in our doings, assuming of course that we are culturally literate, and able-bodied.  Social practice theory thus starts with practices instead of minds, and traces meanings, enabling skills and the affordances implied in material structures, from the point of the practice, not from the point of the human mind. Minds are involved, of course, often in choosing to partake in a given practice in the first place, but they are not the defining feature of taking action in the theory. Shared elements residing in culture, taken together, are interpreted to bound, describe, and to some degree, explain human activity.   A practice has been simply defined as a nexus of doings and sayings, conducted in interaction with people and often things as well (Caldwell, 2012; Reckwitz, 2002a; Schatzki, Knorr- 39 Cetina, & von Savigny, 2001). Practice therefore refers to what people do on a daily basis, as constituted by various elements, rather than a rarefied cognitive decision to act, within a niche subset of activities. Theorists variously describe social practice theory as an integrated, holistic one, and hold this to be one of its advantages.   More formally, practices are comprised of a number of elements, the number of which differ depending on the theorist. Shove and co-authors (Shove & Pantzar, 2005; Shove et al., 2012) refer to a concise three-element model of social practice, which, thanks to its simplicity and utility as demonstrated by its proponents, is employed in this dissertation.   For example, Shove and Pantzar’s (2005) interpretation of practice as “a process of integration” helps to illustrate how Nordic walking practice (walking or hiking using poles) migrated to other areas of the world: this was a re-invention of practice, rather than a wholesale transference. This re-invention takes place through new linkages made between familiar elements; according to the theory practices are not simply adopted or diffused, they always change in translation because every context is new. The new practice involved three elements that already existed in UK culture but were not specifically linked: the object of walking sticks, the social and physical skills associated with using them, and the “idea of walking for fun” – all become newly interlinked, and a slightly different practice (known as a variant) of Nordic walking emerged in the UK through their integration (Shove & Pantzar, 2005, p. 48). The ways in which these elements became linked and integrated, was traced through analyses of advertising, interviews of marketing, design, and equipment professionals, taking walking courses (presumably as a form of active participation and ethnography), and others.   As shown in Figure 6, these elements encompass: • meanings (images, representations, symbols); • objects (material stuff, things, products, tools, physical environment); and • skills (embodied know-how, procedures, rules).   40 Figure 6: model of social practice16   Many models of social practice use a molecular-type of model in which a practice is envisioned as connected by elements (atoms), but in Figure 6 above, I have conceived of the social practice model as a Venn diagram, in which the intersection of elements gives rise to a practice. This is a useful depiction for a few reasons: it allows for a generalization of “elements” as a set of many possible variables; it is helpful to visualise a practice as “emergent” from interacting elements; of sets of elements as being irregular shapes and sizes; and it also allows for a visualization of a bundle of practices, which is defined as a set of practices that are connected due to a shared element (Figure 2.2).                                                   16 adapted from (Shove et al., 2012).  41 Practices also occur in bundles, blocks, or complexes of practices (Schatzki, 2011; Shove et al., 2012). These are collections of practices that co-exist and support each other, sharing certain elements; many activities are shared between different practices. Shove notes that the spatial and material arrangement of things aid in the re-structuring of practice: “the anticipated intersection of working practices constitutes a kind of meta system in terms of which individual practices (and elements) are oriented” (Shove et al., 2012, p. 85). For example, a building context in which stairs are prominent and meanings about sustainability figure highly, may enable, facilitate and essentially promote the taking of stairs (instead of the elevator) as a practice carried out in that particular context. With a café at the bottom of the stairs, the act of taking lunch with others inside the building becomes interlinked with the act of using the stairs, and so on. The practice of taking the stairs becomes co-located and co-existent with socializing in a building, for example in a context of sustainability. Reckwitz refers to a bundle of practices that share elements as a “rubric”: for example, the practice of “getting lunch” could entail a range of specific instances that “stand in” for the general rubric or Practice of getting lunch (Reckwitz, 2002b).  Figure 2.2: A bundle of two practices, connected by shared meanings   42  Practices are thus, assemblages of elements that are “dynamically integrated by skilled practitioners through regular and repeated performance” (Hargreaves, 2011). Practices take root in new contexts depending on their local reception, which is comprised of, and changed by, local meanings, understandings, and systems of production.  2.3.2 Practices: from culture A critical distinction about the nature of practices is that rather than resulting from causal cognitive drivers, they “emerge” out of the relationship between one’s habitus, and existing conditions, and as such, are always potentially changeable. As such one of the more challenging aspects of practices probably lies in the way that the concept attempts to overcome, or rather, link various dichotomies (conscious and unconscious, structure and agency, internal and external, past and present, and then their co-linkage to the future), requiring us therefore to think in terms of interrelationship (Maton, 2008).  Social practice theories developed as a result of the “culturalist revolutions” in the social philosophy of the 20th century, which were rooted in structuralism, semiotics, phenomenology and hermeneutics (Reckwitz, 2002b, p. 245). Social practice theory in particular developed during the “interpretive turn” of the 1970’s, as a reaction to the classical individual, purpose-oriented economic approaches, and also to the sociological, normative approaches to understanding human action. Reckwitz contends that social practice was further an approach developed by behavioural economists and cultural theoreticians who were dissatisfied with the “intellectualism” of other contemporary cultural theories’ reliance on linguistic means of analysis of social action. Figure 2.3 outlines a diagram of the development of social practice theory, which is characterised as a reaction towards other theoretical approaches at the time.   43 Figure 2.3: "Locating the social" in modern social and cultural theories17  Social practice theory is a “pragmatic” approach, firmly rooted in cultural theory. A large number of theorists have explored the relationship between this duality of structure and agency, but the theorists that I refer to in this dissertation are the contemporary social practice scholars and philosophers (Gram-Hanssen, 2011; Halkier, Katz-Gerro, & Martens, 2011; Hards, 2011; Hargreaves, 2008, 2010, 2011; Karvonen, 2013; Kuijer & Bakker, 2015; Reckwitz, 2002a, 2002b; Rouse, 2006, 2007; Schatzki, 1996, 1997, 2012, 2013; Schatzki et al., 2001; Shove, 2003a, 2010a, 2012; Shove & Pantzar, 2005; Shove et al., 2012; Walker, Karvonen, & Guy, 2015; Warde, 2005).                                                   17 (developed from material in Reckwitz, 2002)  44 Ultimately these scholars have based their approach on post-structuralists Bourdieu, Giddens, Lyotard, and Charles Taylor, and the work of philosophers before them. The lineage of ideas derives most closely from Heidegger’s notions on being and interaction (Heidegger, 1977), Wittgenstein’s symbolic interactionism and language theory (Reckwitz, 2002a; Schatzki, 1996, 1997; Searle, 2011), Giddens’ “overcoming” or linking of the duality between agent and structure in his Theory of Structuration (Cassell, 1993; Giddens, 1984; King, 2000; Schatzki, 1997), and Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus, practice, and distinction (Bourdieu, 1977, 1984, 1990; Grenfell, 2014).   The significance of social practice theory being a cultural theory is that unlike both of the classical Sociological and Rational Choice (economic) theories, it allows reference to the “implicit, tacit or unconscious layer of knowledge which enables a symbolic organization of reality” (Reckwitz, 2002b, p. 246). Thus, [s]ocial order then does not appear as a product of compliance of mutual normative expectations, but embedded in collective cognitive and symbolic structures, in a ‘shared knowledge’ which enables a socially shared way of ascribing meaning to the world. (Reckwitz, 2002b, pp. 245-246).  In taking this perspective, while agents are not absent, they are “decentered” – they are not at the centre of action doing all the deciding, they are rather the ones carrying and enacting practices, and in the strongest forms of social practice theory (Shove, 2012), it doesn’t entirely matter who the practitioners are, anyway, because practices essentially capture, lead and discard their practitioners, not the other way around.18 On a related note, aspects of power – who has it and how it might bear on what practices get replicated in the normative sphere –                                                  18 Shove has written about how habits can be conceived as intentional with humans as their unwitting carriers (Shove, 2012), to bring home the notion that there’s no choosing or deliberation involved in “picking up and carrying”, or enacting a practice – this is in the enterprise of “getting away from” thinking in terms of mind-centric behaviour. Although it is a useful thought experiment, in my own approach I assume that self-reflexive, conscious deliberation is possible, easily at the point of deciding what variant of practice to perform (even if, after that point, the “rubric” of performance, based on repeated conditions later, remains fairly set). Shall I take the bus or shall I drive? Shall I take the stairs or the elevator? Which variant of “getting somewhere” practice will I choose today, based on a range of conditional factors and capital available to me?  45 are implied and not treated explicitly in practice theories, since according some theorists these are already configured in the consideration of made or broken connections between elements, 19 and as a result, “how whole socio-technical systems may be re-directed” (Hargreaves, 2010, p. 9).  For the most part, people learn and reproduce practices so long as those practices help to reliably order society; the alternative is subversion of existing practices, and the consequent development of new ones. In turn, simultaneously, society orders practices. The evidence for the existence of one lies in the existence of the other (referred to by Bourdieu as an obscure and double relation, or an unconscious relationship between habitus and field) (Maton, 2008). You can’t have a practice without societal structures, and you can’t have societal (some say socio-material) structures without practices.   2.3.3 Practices: from dispositions, ways of being The knowledge, about skills and “what is typical” is gained through a history of interaction with various groups in society, in prior, and/or local culture. Bourdieu termed this the habitus, which is the socialized tendency, or disposition, towards thinking and acting in certain ways, that are guided by society (what I often refer to here in shorthand as “culture”). The concept of habitus – like that which it describes – is somewhat abstract and often ambiguous, but according to Maton, the concept of “disposition” is important, since in Bourdieu’s words, the habitus “expresses first the result of an organizing action, with a meaning close to that of words such as structure; it also designates a way of being, a habitual state                                                  19 As such, aspects of power, and who has it, are not directly addressed in this dissertation. Although there is much to explore on this front, it was not seen as of direct importance to the proposal of research, and any perceived power relations in play are therefore discussed as a matter of course rather than as a matter of empirical interest. After Rouse’s alignment with Foucault (Rouse, 2006, 2007), I also see power relations as a mutual interactivity, in that power is resident in practices themselves and structures, not in persons: “Foucault’s (1982) conception of power, as ‘a mode of action which does not act directly and immediately upon others, [but] instead acts upon their actions’ (p. 220) is one prominent example that takes such an interactive account of practices beyond the narrowly discursive realm. The result is a conception of practices whose performances are integrated within the practice not by a shared semantic content or behavioral similarity but by complex relations of mutual interaction.” (Rouse, 2007, p. 5).  46 (especially of the body) and, in particular, a predisposition, tendency, propensity or inclination.” (Bourdieu cited in Maton, 2008, original emphasis.).   This interpretation of the habitus is key to this research project, in that habitual states and ways of being are central to how I think of the habitus expressed in a workplace that is intended to elicit net-positive senses of well-being, productivity, health, and perhaps even a disposition towards engagement and sustainability. In sum, the habitus refers to: …our ways of acting, feeling, thinking and being. It captures how we carry within us our history, how we bring this history into our present circumstances, and how we then make choices to act in certain ways and not others. This is an ongoing and active process - we are engaged in a continuous process of making history, but not under conditions entirely of our own making… [The choices of actions and beliefs that] we choose to take thereby depends on the range of options available at that moment (thanks to our current context), the range of options visible to us, and on our dispositions (habitus), the embodied experiences of our journey. Our choices will then in turn shape our future possibilities, for any choice involves foregoing alternatives and sets us on a particular path that further shapes our understanding of ourselves and of the world. (Maton, 2008, p. 52).  Practices thus arise from this interaction between a person’s habitus (dispositions shaped by historical context), and the social arenas in which we interact – and both of these shape each other at every interaction. As a result, prior history and choices made in light of anticipations of the future are also of interest.  This commentary points to a kind of knowledge that is for the most part “embodied”, and depending on level of irritation and difference from prior experience, it often becomes more and more unconscious: the activity becomes habitual for as long as it works for all these reasons. This exercise involves thinking about a duality of two things: that action takes place within a context of normalcy, of “what is done”; and normalcy is further reproduced as a result of actions taken, at the same time.   This discussion so far has hopefully brought us to a basic understanding of the concept of a practice, as a performance conducted in cultural context. As such, practice is normatively mediated and symbolic, but it also involves the material world of things.    47 2.3.4 Everyday practices, or routines with things Normalcy surrounds us and also things – the material objects that we interact with. For example, understanding what sweeping involves arrives over time with the enculturation of what it means to sweep, having normatively and through experience learned – both consciously and tacitly – what objects are involved, and the embodied skills and meanings involved in “doing sweeping”. For example, my daughter liked to play-sweep: she watched her parents and others do it, in hurried or relaxed or irritated ways (thus gaining meanings about what it is to sweep), and would imitate the actions with a real broom or mop or stick. Over time she’s learned that a broom is a long wooden stick with a brush on the end, and is moved in a certain way, that brooms can be bought from certain stores, and that a switch of sticks is used for a broom in a small town in Kalimantan (etc.). In this way she gains the skill and knowledge of what it is and what a broom does through enculturated, normative context over time: her hands and body become used to how the material feels and can be handled, and in moments of sweeping, while she may not be conscious of what it “means” or what specific skills are involved, still she will know the motions in relation to the materiality of the broom, and have some sense of the associated meanings, feelings and purposes, in the act of doing.   Thus, the practice of sweeping can be described as emerging over time and place, between culture and the development of the habitus, when the intersection of the elements of skills or knowing how to sweep, the meanings associated with sweeping – involving cultural expectations of floor cleanliness, and the material objects and tools required, which may be a broom, as set against a tile (rather than carpeted or dirt) floor. A variant of this “cleaning the floor” practice may involve the use of a vacuum, or a Swiffer, or a tied together bundle of sticks, each with their own associations and meanings – all depending on that habitus, and cultural, normative context.  Practices, often through necessity, become ingrained and repeated, they become habits. That is: culture has to do with everyday life practices, and everyday life practices have to do with habits. The morning routine involved in getting out the door is often timed like clockwork interlaced as it is with the sequencing of a myriad other processes and performances (Shove  48 et al., 2012): these might include the practices of dressing (reflecting societal norms of what to where, what to wear to the office, as an expression of distinction, etc.), showering (for a short or long time, daily or biweekly, with a rainforest or efficient low-flow showerhead) eating (sorted by cultural traditions and available capital), and transportation (apparent choices depending on who in the family goes where, by when, capital available to the family, municipal transportation policies, and so on). A habit is a particularly stable practice, enabled by societal structures and systems.   I spent over 30,000 kilometers as a passenger on the back of a motorcycle before getting my own motorcycle license. I am certain that the embodied learning gained from being the passenger of a skilled motorcycle rider for all that time – learning when and how to lean by mirroring the driver in front, and in coordination with the machine, to look in the right directions, the feeling of bracing in various parts of my body when slowing down or speeding up under certain conditions, and understanding the meanings associated with riding a bike that situated me as a person on the road and in the world – all made me a better motorcycle driver later than I would have without all that embodied experience. Thus learning a practice is in some ways much like being a passenger. The “embodied you” is learning by going through the motions in countless normative interactions, often deliberative especially in the first enactments, and increasingly habitually, all in interaction with material things (the motorcycle, helmet, gear, road, signals, etc.). After a while when you find you are in the driver’s seat rather than the passenger, it is entirely familiar to you, and you practically already know how to drive. All that’s left is to make the practice, as a coordination between meanings, things and skills, your own habit.  According to social practice theory then, behaviour is not simply an activity that is embedded in complex institutional and normative contexts: practice both contains and is shaped by context; these are inseparable. By way of explanation, practice theory displaces the agent individual, who is more usually understood to be at the centre of behaviour, and instead centres on a daily practice that is carried by agents. This is a useful way to conceptualize practices – short of reification of something quite abstract – because those things we carry can be picked up and put down, they have certain weights and shapes and handles. Thus,  49 “understanding social change [means]… understanding how practices evolve, how they capture and lose us, their carriers, and how systems and complexes of practice form and fragment.” (Shove, 2010a).  Social practice theory, based as it is on a way of thinking about interactions between agents and their social, institutional and technological contexts, is thus inherently about “engagement”. That is, social practice refers to intersubjectivities, interactions, and engagement in daily routines.   2.3.5 Practice-as-entity, practice-as-performance… Schatzki (1996) and later Shove et al. (2012) defined a practice-as-entity and a practice-as-performance, and the distinction is useful for understanding how they change. A practice entity is an ideal pattern: an observable, routinized, embodied pattern of activity that practitioners perform with varying degrees of consciousness. A performance is the moment in which that practice-entity is performed (and therefore replicated). Although monitoring – such as through an interactive interface – would be required to understand performances, and this wasn’t ultimately possible, this dissertation takes the practice-performance as the point of departure – that is, I trace what appears to be developing practice performances at CIRS. For example, I illuminate practices converging around acoustic privacy, or sustainable wayfaring. But because the definition of a practice is one that persists recognisably over a long timescale (years, generations), future researchers would need to confirm if and how those practices may have stabilized, evolved or disappeared over time. This is additionally in line with the longitudinal approach to research at CIRS.  When a practice is performed, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, it entails an instance of integration of the various elements of practice. That means that the practice-performance involves integrating the meanings involved in using the stairs (perhaps relating to exercise or for reasons of sustainability); the individual possesses the skill or physical ability to climb them; and of course the convenient availability of the objects (stairs, railings) involved in doing so. Thus the practice of stair-climbing emerges based on what it entails and means based on specific context. It becomes a normalised practice, should others follow suit,  50 sharing as well in the various meanings, skills and material function of the stairs. Each of the elements is equally important to the enactment of the practice. The practice then becomes performed over time in place, and can be brought to other contexts by individual carriers, where it becomes renegotiated, and “tailored” to the new place and time. Or not: the practice may not be replicated or reproduced at all, because a competing “variant” wayfinding practice – such as taking the elevator, is more convenient, has more meaning, or status, and is engaged in routinely, etc. Practices are therefore both entity and performance, and they are elicited procedurally, between the practitioner’s habitus and the field in which they take part.  The point of defining this rather delicate distinction between entity and performance is to understand how practices change. Within performances there is always a potential for the practice pattern’s elements to connect or disconnect from each other, and in doing so create new elements in their replication. And it is this re-creation that slowly over time changes the original practice. This is where agency can express itself: where interventions and change are possible, is in the connections between elements. Thus, stair-climbing might be taken up because the person is leery of being seen as consuming energy by taking the elevator in a building that expresses sustainability, or because they associate exercise with health. Conversely, with an aging population, stair-climbing may be taken up by younger people. In a more litigious society, stairs may be seen as more dangerous than elevators, and so on. In this way individuals and new meanings become attached to practices.  Making the distinction between what is a permanent, larger-scale cultural or societal change in practice (such as the abandonment of architectural typologies, or processes in design), and what are effectively only variants in practice (differences in wayfaring; differences in ways of gaining acoustic privacy, etc.) is generally only understood in retrospective (Shove & Walker, 2014). This is because of the “survival of the fittest” or evidentiary nature of practices: only those practices that are being performed over time and in different places, are practices that are being carried, that survive.   51 A practice-as-performance description therefore involves delimiting a set of configured materials that require particular know-how and skills, and, in this case, new net-positive meanings that are to some degree reflected in the materiality of the building. Tracing those materials, skills, and meanings; and the impact of these elements on human being (in health, productivity and well-being) and therefore the practice writ large), is tied closely to the aim of the thesis.   2.3.6 …Practice as normative, intersubjective, and (at times)… discursive People rely on an explicit and tacit body of knowledge that has been learnt and mutually refined, through dynamic trial and error, from birth to death. Significantly, this huge and distributed body of knowledge and practice existed in our respective cultures before our birth, and we have come to pick up and carry pieces of that knowledge, to which we adapt and that we in turn adapt for our own uses. This is the ever-changing Bourdieusian habitus, or the Heideggerian notion of interpretation of prior knowledge (Rouse, 2006). Those years of experience are also shaped by constraints put upon our material existence by systems that change radically slowly and that are, generally, outside of our immediate control.   From the previous discussion it can also be gathered, that practices are necessarily “intersubjective”; they are shaped between subjectivities, and they relate to cultural norms. But under some conceptions (particularly, Schatzki’s and Shove’s), practices are conceived as similar to “selfish genes”: people are passive carriers of practices, existing merely to be their hosts, serving only to carry and perpetuate them, without choice in the matter. But under this conception, and that dominant in psychology, we are stuck between a kind of practice-centred behaviourism on the habitual side of theories of action, and operations of brains, on the cognitive side.   Granted, Shove’s account of how people are “habit’s creatures” or pets – a play on “creature of habit” (Shove, 2012) – is a thought experiment meant to demonstrate a way of thinking about practice, that places habit instead of an individual’s mind at the centre of action.. This kind of characterisation is useful, if SPT is to be consistent in decentering the agent, focusing on practice as the “unit of enquiry”, and if we are to agree that habits are largely  52 unconscious or rarely questioned, and difficult (but not impossible) to bring to consciousness. These are all defining features of practices (and habits).   But Rouse (2006, 2007), for example, rejects the notion that practices can be reduced to rule-following agency, or that practice exists as a stable background structure or worldview (both conceptions also deconstructed by S. Turner, 1994). Rouse finds that the most powerful form of practice theory involves reference to norms, allowing agency to exist in an account of practices, even if indirectly. Following Wittgenstein and Heidegger, Rouse asserts that a practice is: …not a regularity underlying its constituent performances, but a pattern of interaction among them that expresses their mutual normative accountability [emphasis added]. On this “normative” conception of practices, a performance belongs to a practice if it is appropriate to hold it accountable as a correct or incorrect performance of that practice. Such holding to account is itself integral to the practice, and can likewise be done correctly or incorrectly. If incorrectly, then it would appropriately be accountable in turn, by responding to it as would be appropriate to a mistaken holding-accountable. And so forth. (Rouse, 2006, p. 530)  We can understand that “structure” exists because social order helps to regulate (if not dictate) what we do, and what we do, is in the action of doing, structured by what came before it. By reference to norms, it then becomes unnecessary to conceive of practices as being active “meme” or gene-like entities that virtually intentionally propagate themselves through passive hosts, who mindlessly pick up and carry them. Rather, practices are “internally consistent” – they are mutually accountable. Thus social practice is normatively bound, from birth onward: Wittgenstein’s suggested invocation, “This is what we do” can also be appropriated within a normative conception of practices if given the inflection with which a parent tells a child, “We don’t hit other children, do we?”; such an utterance does not describe a regularity, but instead holds a prior performance accountable to a norm. (Rouse, 2006).  Rouse calls this irreducible, normative account of practices, a “Galilean or Copernican revolution in philosophical understanding of normativity”, for philosophers who have long been “suspicious” of normativity, comfortable only with the concept as “reducible to or otherwise explicable by what is non-normative” (2006, p. 530). The main requirement is that practices must be interactively self-defined: they are identified through interaction with each other. Thus it is in the sanctioning of a practice, in the course of the action of the practice  53 itself and interaction between players themselves which determines, over time and across context, whether a given practice survives to be carried in the next instance (2006, 2007). “One performance expresses a response to another, for example, by correcting it, rewarding or punishing its performer, drawing inferences from it, translating it, imitating it… circumventing its effects, and so on” (Rouse, 2006, p. 530).   So the new person who brings a frozen pizza to a fancy pot-luck might notice that their contribution is not eaten or is joked about. In the act of the performance of bringing food, the correct and incorrect practices of participation in the group (and in wider culture), and the “rules of the game”, are tacitly signalled, effectively they are already known by members of that group. The cultural rules that surround food and everything from its procurement, to its manufacture and presentation, are all signifiers of a person’s knowledge, skill, taste and distinction, and the terms and stakes of engagement in the case of food have always been culturally heavily loaded. This means that the next time this person is invited to a fancy pot-luck (if there is a next time), if they want to align with the group’s identity which here involves performing tacitly – and sometimes openly – sanctioned practices of sharing certain kinds of food, then they will likely try to bring something which fits with the other kinds of other foods expected, or that signifies a distinction of the higher, not lesser kind.   This discussion is relevant because this study seeks to understand engagement (as exhibited, or not, by the population of inhabitants of a unique building) as a form of practice that is normative. Additionally, states of being (such as well-being, productivity or health) are defined as intimately bound, inextricable, and emergent from context, which includes the materiality of the building, and the normative and discursive context through which practices (some of which engender states of being) are replicated. Like norms, practices are always dynamically reactive. This is consistent with the account of practices given so far.  Where the normative account of practices diverges from the pragmatic literature provided by Schatzki and Shove is where the concept of practice as normative must rely on intersubjectivity, and therefore discourse, because language itself is part of daily life and social practice. This reliance is counter to contemporary practice theories, and the account of  54 SPT given so far, which is pragmatically-based and takes practices to be unconscious, inaccessible and dynamically emergent: outside of human intention or even seeming interaction, they are picked up, carried and lost. Practices are observed and/or interpreted by researchers, often from secondary sources, rather than asserted or described by practitioners themselves.   This divergence is important, because people “talk about their practices” (Hitchings, 2012), about what they are doing, what they tend to do and will do, and what they end up doing – all the time. After all, habits are not always accessible, because one way to disrupt them, or at least to bring them up for examination, is to “breach” them: enact them differently, which leads to attempts to make sense of the new activity, and bringing these up to consciousness and discussion.  2.3.7 Talking about practices: critiquing SPT Practices cannot be the bedrock of all social explanations, nor do they directly cause social behavior, nor are they identically shared possessions in some collective consciousness, nor can they be inarticulable knowledge. Nonetheless, we cannot do without them if we want a social theory with sufficient explanatory structure. This requirement is fulfilled adequately by epistemologically responsible forms of practice theory, including ethnomethodology, ethnographic thick descriptions, and the reconstructive sciences... Perhaps the greatest lacuna in practice theory is not the absence of any mechanism of transmission, but the lack of any coherent response to epistemological behaviorism and other forms of skepticism about the need to elucidate actors’ knowledge as a necessary basis for social science. (Bohman, 1997, p. 106).  A challenge, then, to taking the pragmatic approach to social practice, lies in how to incorporate or refer to talking about practices and habits. Can we “talk about practices”, if practices are unconscious and inaccessible? Yes, if we assume that practices are dynamic and changeable, through different kinds of normatively-based negotiation and renegotiation, which must allow for reference to discourse at least some of the time. We can then avoid reducing structuration theory to structure, or practice to the unconscious.   The strongly pragmatic flavour of SPT developed in reaction to the cognitive and representational trends in cultural studies of the time (Caldwell, 2012; Reckwitz, 2002b); also see Figure 2.3. These threads of social practice theory focus on what Giddens would call the “practical consciousness”, to the exclusion of the discursive consciousness, and  55 unconsciousness, which bound it. The practical consciousness has been correlated with “tacit knowledge” (Polanyi, 1966), or the understanding that is resident in bodies, like habits; or in culture, and not necessarily present in minds: the practical consciousness is that which is taken for granted. Examples like climbing stairs, knowing that a faucet provides water, or the understanding that a window without a discernible handle cannot be opened, are examples of a practical consciousness, or tacit knowledge – they are “just known” in shared ways thanks to shared culture. These aspects, as they are practices or related to practices, are locally enculturated, without the need to think about them. In tandem with Giddens’ concept of the practical consciousness, Bourdieu’s conception of the cultural habitus also bolsters the characterisation of practices as unconsciously adopted and therefore not consciously accessible (Hitchings, 2012; Maton, 2008; Rouse, 2006; Searle, 2011).   While Giddens posits the practical consciousness as the foundation for social order (Haugaard, 1997), his own account of the practical consciousness was somewhat contradictory. After all, things are either “known” (and discursively available), or unknown (or at best, unconscious);20 Giddens’ characterisation of the practical consciousness has been interpreted as leading back to the objectivism (structuralism) that he was striving to transcend (King, 2000, p. 365).   Despite these conceptual difficulties, Bohman asserts that Giddens’ tacit social knowledge cannot be dispensed with in the theory of structuration: Those social sciences that assume that knowledgeable agents shape their common activities cannot do without practices. Without referring to practices and their conceptual kin, it is not possible to identify the relevant features of agents’ dispositions and abilities typical of the most interesting sorts of actions for social theories: highly coordinated and yet unpredictable social activities such as playing jazz, presenting one’s gender in public, continuing a religious tradition, arguing for a scientific theory, or building a particle accelerator. Explaining how                                                  20 King notes that Giddens’ “practical consciousness” may be better expressed as simply “consciousness”, or even, “unacknowledged understanding”, while Giddens’ “discursive consciousness” could be better understood as “self-consciousness”, and his concept of “unconsciousness” could remain the same (King, 2000, p. 365).  56 these activities are successfully accomplished without regard to distinctly practical knowledge is a futile enterprise. (Bohman, 1997, p. 106).  In any case, the development of the pragmatic flavour of SPT, and the focus on practices as the unit of analysis often results in the “bracketing” of discourse in analysis. This is because acknowledging discourse entails the dominance of agency over structure (giving primacy back to conscious cognitive processes), and acknowledging unconsciousness entails the dominance of structure over agency (giving primacy back to environmental determinism). But SPT claims to straddle both structure and agency, without giving ascendance to either, which is why the logical conclusion for a non-discursive, non-cognitive, practice-centred theory, is to claim that practices are inaccessible and in fact, more like selfish genes or even “memes”.   In historical context the characterisation of practices as “selfish”, may follow a trajectory in which bodies of knowledge swing reactively between dichotomies that can never be resolved. Such unsolvable dichotomies include the material and the meaningful; the rational and the practical; agency and structure; stability and change (Ringmar, 2014), all of which apply to theoretic contradictions within social practice theory. When faced with an unsolvable dichotomy, meaningful approaches include defending one side, or allowing that there’s some truth and utility in referencing both, if only because of the intuition that they probably apply at different scales.   My own review of the SPT literature finds these dichotomies as theoretical forks at which SPT approaches diverge, including the thread that disallows discourse (as opposed to material, practical, structural aspects). For a theory that proposes to “overcome the duality of structure and agency”, there is little reference to the reality of intentional, talking subjects, who can be excruciatingly aware of their own habits, and the normalcy of “what is normally done”. Meanwhile, opaque and external structural forces, or unconscious and inaccessible practice entities – both largely outside of a subject’s control – figure more prominently in the theory. What, then, is the role of language, employed everyday in the social world of practices? And where is the scope for change in practice – which does take place – under the claim that practices are unconscious?  57  Claiming that practice entities are only accessed, interpreted or defined by a researcher/observer, is like saying that only a researcher can discern practices. This is like saying that only someone who has studied Magritte paintings can know a Magritte when she sees one. But while Magritte may not have been able to express verbally what he was doing while painting,21 he was at least able to talk about his paintings later (as do many others).   As O’Shea states, “…sustainability can be usefully conceived of as a property that emerges from collaborative practices and dialogue (i.e., procedural sustainability), rather than simply as a set of expert-defined metrics and behaviours (i.e., substantive sustainability).” (2012, p. ii). Privileging the researcher expert with arcane knowledge is less useful than finding out what a range of voices might have to offer. As any qualitative researcher knows, participant offerings are generally insightful. In interviews, amongst other questions, I often asked people if they knew of anything that “had become a thing to do” in their office (my shorthand for the awareness of a developing practice), and this often elicited interesting responses.   Eliminating the possibility of talk about practices seems to be neither a methodological, nor, ultimately, an epistemological matter. It’s not methodological, because people can and do talk about their habits, routines, what they perceive other people doing that isn’t “normal”, all the time, and the researcher can access these, as can others in conversation as well as observation. Accessing practices by talking to the human carrier of those practices, is still yet the most direct route of investigation available. Further, airing practice through discussion has the added benefit adding a layer of self-reflexivity, for