Overcoming inertia for sustainable urban development: Understanding the role of stimuli in shaping residents' participation behaviors in neighborhood regeneration projects in China

Xinyue Fu, Queena K. Qian, Guiwen Liu*, Taozhi Zhuang, Henk J. Visscher, Ruopeng Huang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Neighborhood regeneration has become essential component of environmental improvement, and promoting resident participation is a key aspect of effective environmental management. However, in China, the legacy of the former housing allocation system and specific cultural contexts have led to residents' psychological inertia towards participating in neighborhood regeneration. Although there has been extensive research on encouraging resident participation, most studies fail to recognize that cultivating active participation behavior among residents usually requires overcoming their existing reluctance or psychological inertia first. Grounded on the innovative notion of psychological inertia, this paper puts forth the perspective that to foster resident participation, it is imperative to initially disrupt their current participation inertia and subsequently facilitate the reconfiguration of their participation behavior. Specifically, it addresses two key research questions: (i) which factors are conducive to stimulating residents to overcome inherent psychological inertia and stimulate their positive participation attitudes? (ii) How do these stimuli shape and reconstruct residents' participation behavior? Based on the Stimulus-Organism-Response (SOR) theory and structural equation modeling (SEM), this paper unveils the mask of intrinsic mechanism for overcoming psychological inertia and reshaping residents' participation behavior. The empirical results show that three stimulating factors (information acquisition, social norms, and perceived grassroots government support) directly impact residents' participating attitudes; these stimuli reconstruct participation behavior by triggering individual psychological changes and then inducing behavioral changes. With the new insight of “overcoming psychological inertia” and the incorporation of behavioral psychology in restructuring resident participation behavior, this paper presents implementation strategies for promoting resident participation in neighborhood regeneration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107252
JournalEnvironmental Impact Assessment Review
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository 'You share, we take care!' - Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care.
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  • Neighborhood regeneration
  • Overcoming psychological inertia
  • Resident participation behavior
  • Stimulus-organism-response theory
  • Structural equation modeling


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