The four-year interdisciplinary Pilot Application in Urban Landscapes project will see the ESS survey 2,500 citizens in pilot cities

By City Press Office, Published

The European Social Survey (ESS), based at City, University of London, is participating in a new Horizon 2020 project that aims to develop a systematic greenhouse gas measurement system for urban areas.

The project – Pilot Application in Urban Landscapes – towards integrated city observatories for greenhouse gases (PAUL) – will provide a concept for monitoring greenhouse gas observations.

Coordinated by ICOS - Integrated Carbon Observation System, it will bring together and evaluate the most innovative measurement approaches of greenhouse gas emissions in urban areas and will develop useful tools and services for cities to support their local climate action plans.

To test the feasibility of different modelling approaches in different areas, three cities of different size have been selected as pilots: Paris (large), Munich (medium) and Zürich (small).

As part of PAUL, the ESS will develop the methodology for an online questionnaire that will collect survey data measuring public opinion regarding climate change policies at the city level.

The ESS, housed within City's Department of Sociology, will then plan and operate a four-wave survey with a gross sample of 2,500 respondents in two of the pilot cities: Paris and Munich.

The survey will be centrally coordinated by members of the ESS core scientific team: ESS HQ – based at City, University of London (UK) – and Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Spain).

Sampling expertise will be provided by the team responsible for sampling and weighting based at the University of Essex (UK).

The publication and archiving of the survey data will be provided by a team based at NSD - Norwegian Centre for Research Data (Norway).

Each online survey will be implemented by ESS national teams based at GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (Germany) and Sciences Po (France).

As well as providing evidence for the project, the data collected through these web-based surveys will be made publicly available.

It is the first time that the ESS will be involved in a European Commission-funded project that is being led by an environmental focused European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC).

ESS ERIC is the only social survey research project involved in the PAUL project, as part of a consortium of 31 partners from a range of scientific disciplines.

The ESS ERIC will lead Task 1.3: The human dimension of climate policies: economic and behavioural impacts.

The four-year project began on 1st October 2021.

It becomes the fifth active Horizon 2020 project that the ESS ERIC is involved with, alongside the European Research Infrastructure Consortium Forum (ERIC Forum), Research Infrastructure Visibility (RI-VIS), Social Sciences and Humanities Open Cloud (SSHOC) and Next Steps in Securing the Sustainability of the European Social Survey (ESS-SUSTAIN-2).

ESS has included questions on attitudes towards climate change and energy in its main cross-national surveys. In Round 8 (2016/17) there was a 30-item module and a subset of those is now repeated in each of its biennial surveys.

Professor Rory Fitzgerald, Director of the ESS, said:

“I am delighted that the European Social Survey, hosted here at City, is playing its part in tackling climate change. This is a truly interdisciplinary project, and we are proud to be bringing the social science dimension to this natural science led project.

“We are looking forward to refocusing our social telescope for the first time – away from the whole nation state and instead directly onto the city.

This is an exciting new departure for the ESS infrastructure, allowing us to bring the voice of citizens in Paris and Munich to the heart of the scientific process.


To learn more about the European Social Survey, visit the website.

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