Since November 2017 I have served as a Commissioner on The Travel Demand Commission which looked at how travel demand is changing and might change in the future. This involved 6 evidence sessions, which led to a Report which was launched in May 2018:

Overview of the Commission and Evidence Sessions Read here >>

Marsden, G, Dales, J., Jones, P., Seagriff, E. and Spurling, N (2018) All Change? The future of travel demand and the implications for policy and planning. First Report of the Commission on Travel Demand. ISBN 978-1-899650-83-5. Read here >>

As part of my work for the Commission I organised and chaired an International Symposium ‘The Role of Parking in Future Cities’:

2017 Spurling, N. The Role of Parking in Future Cities: Symposium and Workshop, The Trinity Centre, Cambridge, http://www.demand.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Parking-Symposium-Report.pdf, 21 September 2017. Funded by the Travel Demand Commission and the Greater Cambridge Partnership.

In November 2017  I curated ‘Parking in Utopia’, a public social science event at The Mobile Utopia Experiment, http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/cemore/project/parking-in-utopia/, 1-2 November 2017, part of the International Mobilities Conference, Lancaster University, UK.

Engagement work from 2014-2016 focussed on end use energy demand, and included public talks and workshops, picture books, policy responses and blogposts:

Mobile Utopias 1851-2051, 24th-26th June 2016, co-curator of this project stall at the Utopia Fair, Somerset House, London.

Lancaster Life 2051 18th May 2016, Co-Curator of Co-facilitator of this 1 day exhibition including an exhibit ‘Ideal Homes’, St. Nicholas Arcade, Lancaster.

If the Walls Could Talk: histories of homes, daily lives and domestic energy use in Stevenage, 13th November 2015, 1030-1200, Stevenage Museum. A talk and interactive workshop with Stevenage residents & project participants. This event is being held as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science.

Download the Picture Books here:
Daily rhythms and energy use in Stevenage
Central heating comes to Stevenage

Exploring the Peaks: energy demand and the changing rhythms of daily life, 9th October 2015, Talk given at the University of the Third Age Cumbria Network, Energy Conference, Rheged, Penrith.

National Policy, local plans and household energy demand, 14th December 2015, Talk given at the Energy Technologies Institute Workshop on Options, Choices and Actions on low carbon energy for Local Authorities, Loughborough University.

Pathways to central heating: insights and lessons from past transitions, 28th July 2015 Shove E. and Spurling, N., talk at the Energy Technologies Institute, Birmingham.

Policy Response
Spurling, N., and Shove, E. (2014) Developing DECC’s Evidence Base: A Commentary from the DEMAND Research Centre. Please get in touch if you are interested in this. 

Spurling, N. (2014) Tesla’s Technocars are the Right Answer to the Wrong Question, The Conversation, read here >>

A common question posed to those working with theories of social practice on issues of sustainability is: What is the potential of theories of practice, and empirical studies that draw on this work, to inform government policy?

Between 2009-2013 I worked with a variety of non academic audiences on this question via Exhibitions, policy reports, working parties, policy responses, blogposts and short sociological films:



Layout of the SPRG Exhibition at Mary Ward House

Sustainability|Social Practices|Policy:  An Exhibition of Ideas and Panel Discussion, 11th September 2013, Mary Ward House, London.
with Andy McMeekin, Dale Southerton, Dan Welch & SPRG members

A major public sociology event at Mary Ward House, London, our audience included colleagues from DEFRA, Unilever and the Environment Agency.

We took the Exhibition to The Scottish Government on 5th March 2014.


How much is enough? excerpt from the Exhibition of Ideas January, 2011

How the Social Sciences can help Climate Change Policy: Extraordinary Lecture and Exhibition of Ideas, 17th January 2011, British Library, London. With Elizabeth Shove and members of the Social Change Climate Change Working Parties. A major public sociology event at the British Library exhibiting the ideas of the Working Parties (see below), our audience included DECC, DEFRA, Thames Water and Waterwise.


sprg-interventions_in_practiceSpurling, N., McMeekin, A., Shove, E., Southerton, D. and Welch, D. (2013) Interventions in Practice: Reframing policy approaches to consumer behaviour, SPRG Report. The Report develops and illustrates a workable alternative to behaviour change approaches in areas of transport, food and housing.

Social Change Climate Change Working Parties
Three working parties for non-academics and early career researchers,  with Elizabeth Shove on her Transitions in Practice ESRC Leadership-Fellowship: Crafting interventions, 8-9 July 2010,  Methods of representing transitions in practice, 6-7 Jan 2010, Social theories of change, 9th-11th July 2009, Lancaster University. These events introduced and developed a broad range of practice-theoretical ideas, and through activities and workshops considered their relevance to issues of sustainability.

Welch, D. and Spurling, N. (2014) Towards Sustainable Consumption: Start by reframing the questions, Policy@Manchester, read here >>

Spurling, N. and Dan Welch (2014) Unsustainable Practices: Why electric cars are a failure of ambition, Talking Climate, read here >>

Short Sociological Films
In 2010 I co-wrote and made two short films introducing key ideas from Theories of Practice to a public audience.

Captured by Showering, absolutely not psychology view here >>

Flipping Habits in the Kitchen view here >>

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