6th meeting of the European Network for Multi-locality Studies (online), University of Lausanne
Online Workshop on zoom: https://unil.zoom.us/j/91548028296 / Meeting-ID: 915 4802 8296
Workshop room is 5313 at Geopolis, University of Lausanne,
Resume Multi-local living, the fact of living in more than one habitual dwelling at the same time, is a widespread practice that can be perceived as unsustainable. Multi-locality is affecting more and more people in all strata of society: work-family weekend commuters, Living Apart Together couples (LATs), children in joint custody, patchwork families, national or transnational long-distance workers, seasonal workers, (high-)mobile professions, expatriates, secondary residents, students, transmigrants... (Wood, Hilti et al. 2015; Duchene-Lacroix 2014, Hilti 2009). All of them have different living characteristics with an impact on sustainability or that apply different sustainability strategies.
Sustainability is a very broad term that corresponds to globalized crises such as climate disruption, health crises, agricultural losses, and also local risks for social cohesion or for the quality of life. Late modern lifestyles have a significant influence on the social life, on the health of biodiversity, on mineral and biological resources, etc. Residential multi-locality is an increasingly important issue in this.
Living in several places at the same time means using more than one accommodation, travelling between these residences with varying frequency and not being physically present everywhere. Economically, it could mean additional costs for mobility, for the maintenance of the accommodation or for life on the spot. Moreover, living multi-locally is not a free choice and in every case a further burden for individuals and groups with less resources and capacities. Socially, it could mean having to deal with the absence of people from one of the places (family cohesion and sustainability, local social participation). Finally, environmentally, multi-local living could consume a larger size of dwellings, more resources, more energy for travelling between dwellings or for heating the dwelling, etc. All of this raises the question of sustainability: At a time when we are talking about sustainability, is it really acceptable to live (and to work) in more than one context at a time? But reversely, we know only very little about whether multi-local living is less sustainable as comparable alternatives. Are there sustainable ways to practice multi-locality and which are they?
If some aspects of residential multi-locality do not correspond to sustainability objectives, what can be done to reduce the negative impact of these aspects? Thus, forms of spatial planning such as the 15minute city (Paris), the Superblocks (Barcelona), or the pedestrian city (Vitoria-Gasteiz), a collective transport systems can facilitate multi-locality sustainability, not only in terms of lower costs and energy resources but also of local social cohesion.
Finally, if we want to reduce the amount (of certain forms) of residential multi-locality, what alternatives could we develop? Can new technologies provide solutions? (videoconferencing), Fusion Mobility (FM) or Building Blocks (BBs) approach? Thinking about the sustainability of residential multilocality means integrating it into a systemic perspective, which should invite us to rethink even our advanced modernity (Neun, Cortesi & Kesselring 2020). In this regard, residential multi-locality can be considered as part of a major social transformation.
Residential multi-locality can have an impact on all aspects of sustainability at the societal and community level, as well as at the neighborhoods and for households or individuals. In the term of sustainability, we have outlined some of the risks of multi-residential practices that need to be analysed in depth. But it might also be possible that residential multi-locality is a sustainable solution compared to other alternatives (e.g. long-distance commuting). To what extent would this be the case?
Multi-local living, like sustainability, is a very vast and multiple reality which concerns a diversity of disciplines. We propose that contributors to the conference focus their papers in the following areas:
1. Residential multi-locality and sustainable families
2. Sustainability of work related multilocal living
3. Sustainability of secondary homes