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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Citizen views on wood as a construction material: results from seven European countries

Viholainen, Noora; Franzini, Florencia; Lahtinen, Katja; Nyrud, Anders Q.; Widmark, Camilla; Hoen, Hans Fredrik; Toppinen, Anne


Multi-story wooden buildings are hailed as a favorable means toward reducing the embodied energy of the construction sector. However, the sector's path- dependent nature hinders acceptance of using wood in multi-story construction. As a result, research predominantly focuses on examining the perceptions of construction professionals to identify means of breaking the path dependency. We propose using citizens' perceptions about the use of wood to inform professional decision makers. Our research thus aims to answer two questions: What are citizens' perceptions about using wood as a construction material, and are there country-based cultural differences between these perceptions? To elicit this spectrum of citizen views, an online survey was deployed in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyze 6633 open-ended responses to the survey. Respondents held multi-faceted opinions about the physical properties, environmental, social, and economic aspects of using wood as a construction material. Citizens from Finland, Norway, and Sweden expressed discernably different perspectives about the acceptability of using wood than did citizens from Austria, Denmark, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Overall, respondents from all countries expressed high approval for the use of wood in construction.


citizen; end user; perception; multi-story wooden buildings; wood construction

Published in

Canadian Journal of Forest Research
2021, volume: 51, number: 5, pages: 647-659

Authors' information

Viholainen, Noora
University of Helsinki
Franzini, Florencia
University of Helsinki
Lahtinen, Katja
Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)
Nyrud, Anders Q.
Norwegian University of Life Sciences
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Economics
Hoen, Hans Fredrik
Norwegian University of Life Sciences
Toppinen, Anne
University of Helsinki

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities

UKÄ Subject classification

Forest Science

Publication Identifiers


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