What unsustainable behavior needs to change:
Parks are a crucial and much-needed escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. They offer a space to relax, people can indulge in recreational activities, and city folk can appreciate the lush greenery that contrasts the concrete jungle. Unfortunately, unsustainable behaviour by some park-goers often results in a decline in park conditions, including littering and other detrimental effects.
Waste behaviour: It’s a well-known image for a Dutchman: a park buried under litter after a sunny day. Despite municipalities enforcing and communicating numerous rules for clean and respectful behaviour in public spaces, visitors often struggle to comply. This begs the question: are municipalities using the most effective behavioural approach? Visitors come to parks for relaxation, yet they often feel constrained by rules that limit their freedoms.
Takeaway delivery behaviour: Meal delivery has grown increasingly popular in the Netherlands. Dutchies particularly enjoy having meals delivered not only to their homes but also to public spaces like parks. However, delivering meals to parks presents challenges, as there is no official delivery address. Some rely on nearby houses with numbered addresses to receive food deliveries, resulting in lost drivers, frustrated residents, and a disruption of park visitors‘ relaxation.
The Green Nudge:
Fama Volat has implemented a behavioural intervention to the challenge of meal deliveries in parks. They have installed small, easily identifiable houses with a dual purpose in several parks. Introducing Parkhuisje 3 (Parkhouse 3): on one side, an official address to serve as a collection point for delivery meals, and on the other side, a disposal point for litter in the park.
Parkhuisje 3 is a Green Nudge that replaces traditional communication and rules in parks towards cleaner behaviour, making smart use of the law of reciprocity: a ‘give’ and a ‘take’. By having a designated meeting point for meal deliveries, people receive their meal warm and on time (the ‘take’) thus encouraging people to clean up after eating ( the ‘give’). In exchange, a clean park for easy ordering and delivery.
The result: Not only were there happier faces in the park where Parkhuisje 3 was stationed, but waste processors found less litter and fewer nuisance reports. The success of Parkhuisje 3 garnered regional and national media attention. And as a result, more of these houses will be installed in Dutch parks in the summer of 2023.