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Citizen science project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research My thing – I am what I (don't) have

Project period: 
April 2021 – March 2024 

Supported by: 
German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

Project partner
TU Berlin, co2online

Every European household owns an average of 10,000 goods – and the trend is rising. However, only a small proportion of these goods are regularly used and valued. This finding is problematic for two reasons: on the one hand, unused possessions can reduce psychological well-being; on the other hand, high consumption of goods is problematic because it consumes energy, resources and land on a large scale and produces emissions and waste. At the same time, numerous concepts, and movements for reducing possessions have emerged in recent years, with terms such as 'downshifting', 'minimalism', or 'voluntary simplicity'. Decluttering measures are intended to help get rid of unnecessary ballast through the targeted selection and reduction of goods. However, so far it has not been investigated to what extent decluttering can help people to live more resource-efficiently in the long term.

Against this background, the Citizen Science project aims to develop decluttering measures in the fields of clothing and office & technology together with citizen scientists in order to promote sufficient (resource-light) lifestyles. In a pre-post research design, the effectiveness of the decluttering measures for resource-efficient consumption will be investigated. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Under the leadership of the Technical University of Berlin, co2online and ConPolicy are working together with three practice partners.

To achieve these goals, the following project phases are being worked on:

  1. Inventory and recruitment of citizen scientists: In the first phase, the scientific state of research as well as the state of practice on concepts of goods reduction will be reviewed. In addition, digital information and materials will be produced to recruit approximately 200 interested citizen scientists in the project.
  2. Co-design, pre-test and further development of the intervention method: In the second phase, ideas for interventions are collected in co-design workshops. The results are further developed and lead to an intervention concept, the materials of the accompanying offer and survey instruments. The instruments are tested and further developed in a pre-test.
  3. Implementation of the decluttering interventions and impact measurement: In the third phase, citizen scientists will implement the decluttering interventions with two to three individuals in their communities. The results of the pre-post survey, the interviews and the collected experiences and content from the accompanying offer will be collected, processed, and evaluated.
  4. Co-evaluation, creation, and diffusion of recommendations for action and decluttering toolkit: In the fourth phase, the results of the analysis will be clearly prepared and interpreted and reflected upon in co-evaluation workshops together with practice partners and citizen scientists. Recommendations for action are developed jointly.

ConPolicy is particularly responsible for the preparation of the state of practice, the conception and implementation of the co-design workshops, the elaboration of the intervention in the field of demand office & technology, as well as the qualitative research.

Project of

Project Manager

+49 (0)30 2359116-15 v.muster@conpolicy.de

Project Manager

+49 (0)30 2359116-18 m.muensch@conpolicy.de

Christian Thorun

Managing Director

+49 (0)30 2359116-11 c.thorun@conpolicy.de