Cross‐cultural research Design methods Household routines Sustainability
The University of Hong Kong
ELIZONDO, G.M. and LOFTHOUSE, V.A., 2010. Patterns of conservation and domestic water use in different cultures: a comparison between Mexico and the UK. IN: Proceedings of the 16th Annual International Sustainable Development Research Conference. 30th May-1st June, Kadoori Institute, Hong Kong, pp. 184 - 195.
Most water‐related behaviours in the home happen as routines that are shaped by a series of
circumstantial factors that can be perceived to have similarities within certain groups of people. The
paper presents findings from an on‐going PhD project, which is looking to provide an understanding
of the influence of cultural background on designing products and services for sustainable behaviour
in regards to water use.
The paper reflects on the process of data collection through an online questionnaire and the
administration of cultural probes in both the UK and Mexico. It argues the complexity of water
use/waste whilst doing the dishes, partly derived from the cultural, behavioural and geographical
circumstances, which also have an influence on the perception of personal use of water in the home.
It concludes by outlining opportunities for using these insights of cultural influence on washing up
habits to support the design of products that can lead to a more sustainable use of water.