Perceptions of climate change impacts on city life in Shanghai: Through the lens of shared values

Yanyan Huang, Wenhao Wu, Yunshu Xue, Marie K. Harder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cities worldwide are putting policies in place to combat impacts of climate change, but it has been established that in order to engender public support, the policies need to resonate with local perceptions and values. However, these are notoriously difficult to obtain in an authentic version: local values require some interpretation by the researchers trying to define them, but this modifies them unacceptably. In this work we use a transdisciplinary perspective, by holding fast to the need for well-defined outcomes of perceptions but by obtaining them via a humanities-based process, named WeValue InSitu, of tacit-to-explicit crystallization of shared values-in-action. Here we innovate and demonstrate the approach of following that crystallization process immediately with a carefully-designed focus group discussion about climate change impacts on their life in the city. The result is a set of clear articulations with respect to life values, such that nuances and linkages between perceptions and values are retained, and across groups is a saturation and consistency that reflects the city (Shanghai) context. We find a conceptual model emerges for the residents: a) they have surprising awareness of climate change but did not think it's impacts so severe or urgent; b) some impacts concern them but they consider Shanghai to be the best place to live, because of its resources and good governance; c) they consider responsibility to be jointly individual and collective with the government; d) they expect clear and transparent communication from the government for collective action. These research outcomes are significant because there is currently no other efficient method to produce such useful results which are also demonstrably authentic: results which indicate not only future policy pathways but the current situation in detail. As the WeValue InSitu method is already shown to be transferable, this approach should now be systematically applied in comparative studies in different cities to determine its scalability, and to academic fields with similar research gaps such as ecosystem services and urban design.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100018
JournalCleaner Production Letters
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sept 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'Perceptions of climate change impacts on city life in Shanghai: Through the lens of shared values'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this