Innovations in Consumption: Three Case Studies on Alternative Systems of Provision in Halifax, NS
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Given the challenges of climate change, mass consumerism is dominant in mitigation discourse. This thesis studies alternative systems of provision to investigate alternative sustainable consumption options. Systems of provision are the parameters of consumption, including all stakeholders involved from the beginning of production to the consumption of a good or service. It is an applied lens to study consumption. Alternative systems of provision seek to establish sustainable consumption that have a lesser ecological footprint, a greater sense of community, affordability, and social equity. This thesis seeks to gain a greater understanding of alternative systems of provision and the obstacles and challenges that they face. Three case studies are conducted in Halifax, Nova Scotia on organizations participating in alternative systems of provision. The case studies are Off the Hook, CarShare Atlantic, and the Halifax Tool Library. The study finds that alternative systems of provision challenge the culture of individualized and commodified systems of provision through their focus on social equity, economic benefits to consumers and producers, and reducing their ecological impact. They face challenges from lack of public awareness, funding limitations, and exhaustion of human capital. This research contributes to the literature on systems of provision, sociotechnical transitions, and consumption. The thesis recommends future research to study consuming members of alternative systems of provision, public perception, and the sharing economy.