Digitalisation and Sustainability at Home

24 May 2022, 11:00 to 12:00.

Research seminar.

Speaker: Dr Louise Reid (School of Geography & Sustainable Development, University of St Andrews)


In November 2021, the United Nations Environment Programme published an Early Warning, Emerging Issues and Futures paper highlighting the growing environmental footprint of digitalisation, specifically the increase in energy demand, impacts from minerals and metals in devices, and e-waste (UNEP 2021). Indeed, the sustainability implications of digitalisation have only recently been recognised and are still emerging (Lock & Seele, 2017).

Home is the frontline of digitalisation, where the environmental impacts of digitalisation and its wider social and economic consequences can be observed. In this presentation, Dr Louise Reid will reflect on the two megatrends of digitalisation and sustainability by exploring digital healthcare at home. For instance, digital technologies are moving healthcare away from clinical settings with diagnosis, monitoring and management of healthcare increasingly ‘taking place’ at home (Reid, 2021).

Critical social science has illuminated the complexity and experience of digitalisation at home (Sadowski, 2020), but little substantive engagement with digital healthcare and sustainability exists. How does digital healthcare shape meanings, experiences and imaginations of home for different groups of people? Does it facilitate or discourage ways of life, and how? What are the consequences, both negative and positive, for sustainability and how we understand it? In this presentation, Louise will reflect on these questions and where this leaves us when studying the relations between sustainability and digitalisation at home.


Dr Louise Reid is a Senior Lecturer in Geography & Sustainable Development. Louise’s main research surrounds ‘environmentally sustainable practices’, and the processes through which these influence and are influenced by everyday household life. Louise is particularly interested in the ways in which technologies and digitalisation for low carbon and healthcare are imagined and experienced at home. Currently Head of First Year Sustainable Development BSc/MA Degree Programme, Louise is also member of the University’s Environmental Sustainability Board (and co-chair of the Operational Adaptation Working Group), Vice Chair of the Board of Hanover Housing Association, and Editorial Board member of Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers.

Digitalisation and Sustainability at Home poster 2022

‘Digitalisation and Sustainability at Home’ video on YouTube

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