ENERGY DEPENDENCY AT THE URBAN SCALE AND ITS SOCIAL
Ana Sanz Fernández. Architect planner. UPM DEA Master in Urban Planning and Territorial. Coordinator edition CF + S. PhD student.
Carmen Sánchez-Guevara Sánchez. Architect planner. UPM DEA Masters in Environment and Bioclimatic Architecture.
Gonzalo Sánchez-Toscano. Architect planner. UPM DEA Master in Urban Planning and Territorial. PhD student.
Madrid (Spain), january 2014
The objective of the present research is to highlight the relation between energy consumption and citizens
basic needs. It is aimed at showing the existing risk of social exclusion due to an unequal distribution of access
to energy sources. Furthermore, urban and built environment shortfalls make the support unable to satisfy
aspects related to the citizens welfare.
The social and functional specialization process of the different metropolitan pieces and the transformation of
the physical structures and land uses have generated an increase in transport needs and, consequently, in
energy dependency. Within the building scale, fuel poverty has dramatically risen triggered by the energy
prices increase. All this reflects the way the city and the housing stock were designed from the old perspective
of fossil fuels abundance and how it has generated a strong energy dependency.
The current scenario of increasing energy prices and decreasing citizens income exacerbates this dependency
and shows the urgent need to seek a solution that rethinks and restructures the support. Ecological, economic
and social problems are already visible and they will presumably become more acute in a context of urban and
social polarization and sources shortage.
The urban and built support should be the one that guarantees the access to basic services at a reasonable
transport cost and the one that ensures minimum habitability conditions at reasonable energy costs. This idea
is in line with the 65/151 resolution of the United Nations General Assembly which understands that energy
must be a sustainable good as well as achievable by the whole population.
This research presents an analysis of the social and ecological consequences (fuel poverty, transport related
social exclusion, CO2 emissions) that current situation of fuel fossil dependency is generating. These
consequences involve all scales from the territorial to the building scale.