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Tidy Street: Changing Neighbors' Behaviors through Voluntary Monitoring and Public Infographics

Residents along Tidy Street (Brighton, UK) in collaboration with a graffiti artist, produced street art each day indicating their electricity usage from the prior 24 hours, allowing them and passersby to reflect upon (and change!) their consumption.

Photo of LaTeisha
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After being reminded of this project in Gary Huswit's Urbanized film, I thought I would post it.

Over two months in spring 2011, The Tidy Street project engaged volunteer residents and a street artist in a project attempting to change energy-consuming behavior.  Organizers gave residential participants electricity meters to track how much electricity different devices in their home use. A website enabled them to see how the electricity usage in their home changed over time--and allowed them to compare that against the street's average. They could also compare that to the national average or even that of other countries. Once participants started measuring, a local graffiti artist painted the street's average energy use against the Brighton average in a graph on the road outside their homes, updating this each day with information from the prior 24 hours.

The project aimed to answer whether the public display of this monitored data would change the community's electricity consumption during the project. Indeed, over the first three weeks, the street's average energy use dropped by 15%, with some cutting usage by as much as 30%.

I'm really impressed by the impact of monitoring and publicly sharing behavioral changes and the sense of project ownership and civic pride the participants seemed to have felt.


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Photo of Meena Kadri

Hey there! I've cross-pollinated this post into our current OpenIDEO Renewable Energy Challenge. Hope you might swing by and join discussions there...

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