Breogan Sanchez – Urban and Transport Planner
Quim Vilar – Urban Planner and Designer
Norma Rey – Urban Ecology Expert
ECTP Abstract Submission for the Young Planners Workshop 2014 Spatial planning and energy. Planning towards energy saving communities with a UX (User Experience) centred methodology.
A clear mistake often present in the urban planning/design process is to consider cities as inert scenarios where the hands of a few professionals result in a successful and sustainable
place. However, cultural patterns, social interactions or energy demands differ from one place to another and they deserve an extremely sensitive consideration in planning towards the
inhabitants and their future needs.
Cities are physically expanding more rapidly than their number of new inhabitants increases, causing an impact on traffic and energy consumption per person. Residential areas become more ‘only residential’ with discussions related to the future well-being of the community, such as energy efficiency, cease to exist and are often left to the hands of a few policy-makers.
In this sense, our approach is to plan energy efficient urban communities that provide a direct benefit and return to the citizen and thus making the neighbourhood the core element to achieve a successful result. Using a system of local cooperatives (that benefit for instance from a better taxation system for energy saving and renewable energy interventions), we propose a profit share benefit to the community that becomes owner of the energy grid ensuring it evolves efficiently and respectfully with the environment.
Once the decision to create energy efficient communities has been set we propose to use a ‘UX’ or user experience methodology to move the planning process forward. This model places the user (citizen) and experiences right at the centre of the planning/design process as they are the ones who know best what are the key adaptations needed in their neighbourhood.
Quantitative and qualitative energy data is analysed in conjunction with the community in order to establish robust decisions, therefore, interventions are undertaken at local scale and with the
consent of all parts, ensuring every decision is a positive investment (financially and socially) for the locals.
We believe that the planning process towards energy efficient cities starts at the heart of communities.
Our aim in the Young Planners Workshop is to demonstrate how measures to optimise energy can be efficiently started and managed locally with a UX integrated model resulting on a direct impact on communities, consequently delivering energy efficient spaces with locals committed to energy saving measures from the beginning of the local planning process.