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.
PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN CITY DESIGN
Today close to two thirds of world population live in cities or suburbanized areas. There, they are faced with numerous problems, such as overpopulation, lack of green areas, excessive and unsustainable use of cars, inadequate public transport… Furthermore, they are fighting global challenges as economic crisis and climate change – to solve these challenges, cities will have to come out with better energy efficiency and effective transport solutions through the intelligent use of modern information and telecommunication technologies (ICT).
All of this can be achieved with better planning and active involvement of stakeholders in the process of decision-making and urban management. The use of contemporary ICT tools can improve participation in the city making process. That could help create sustainable, user-friendly cities, that are based on mixed land use, walkable cities and smart and well organised public transport.
Our goal in the project is to explore the forms and possibilities of interactive public participation, such as e-Democracy, 3D models, different interactive web tools and other kinds of presentations of actual projects and communication with public audience.
We will perform a case study of importance of public awareness and information in designing cites in a smarter way. We will also explore, if it is possible to contribute to renovation urban public places and improve their use with public participation and promoting commmunity building.
The same set of problems is occuring in all cities in the meetropolies, big urban areas as well as in the medum and small sized cities (SMSC) . We will focus our attention on SMSC,because the importance of high level of quality of life remains the same regardless the size of the city. At the same time it is interesting for wider Europe, where urban networks of numerous european countries are formed from medium and small sized cities.
STEPS TOWARDS ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN HISTORICAL DISTRICTS
how to rehabilitate old housing buildings in a sustainable manner
Energy efficiency in housing has a crucial importance; the household sector consumes around one third of final energy consumption (EEA) but this is also an area which offers plenty of opportunities for significant improvement.
Europe is facing serious challenges on the level of energy efficiency which mainly appears as a result of ageing housing stock with low environmental standards. This situation can only be solved with an integrated approach and with the active involvement of various stakeholders. To prove this point this research will examine a specific area of intervention. A typical affordable housing neighbourhood has been selected from the heart of Budapest in order to demonstrate the planners’ real challenges in a housing district rehabilitation which aims to increase energy efficiency. In course of the work we will present the different levels of possible intervention in terms of who the stakeholders are, what is the extent of investment depending on the technical and architectural complexity. Based on our research and interviews we will examine what the added value or the risks and challenges are on each level of intervention. Therefore we will have a clear picture of what the community can do without any financial support, what they can do with financial support and what the municipality can do in cooperation with the community with or without a big investment.
As the main goal of this work is to prove that the most significant added value is in the integrated approach involving the various stakeholders, the research will go beyond modelling the different intervention possibilities separately. Based on the best practices found in other European cities our work will outline how the most harmonious living can be achieved which is sustainable from environmental, social but also economic aspect.
Anna BAJOMI, master student in Social policy with specialization on housing issues
Melinda MIHALY, Economist on Regional and Environmental Studies (MSc)
Helena POLOMIK, Economist on Regional and Environmental Studies (MSc), strategic planner-analyst in the Ministry for National Economy, Hungary and seconded national expert of the European Economic and Social Committee
Beata IMRE, Economist on Regional and Environmental Studies (MSc), consultant specialized in development policy and indicator systems
Dia MOLNAR, architect Msc, consultant specialized in buildings’ energy efficiency and renewable energy, and sewage treatment projects
Agata Krause, PhD scholar, Cardiff University, School of Planning and Geography, Cardiff, United Kingdom
Ioanna Katapidi, PhD scholar, Cardiff University, School of Planning and Geography, Cardiff, United Kingdom
Eleni Malekkidou, Urban planning and regeneration consultant, Gregory M. Malekkides & Associates, Limassol, Cyprus
The purpose of planning revisited: Challenges in achieving sustainable energy goals in historical cities of the European Union.
In the paper we unravel opportunities and challenges of sustainable planning in European historic districts. Taking into account the development of Western urban planning thought and the focus on sustainability, we examine how energy efficiency policies and practices relate and result to more sustainable urban historic districts, which constitute places of high value but also vulnerability (Phelps et al. 2002; Lewis et al. 2013). In order to achieve this we i) explore the how selected international and national sustainable energy oriented policies refer to urban heritage; this involves overview of the assets and challenges of urban heritage and ‘links’ between sustainable planning policy and energy efficiency in historic districts; ii) we assess how the processes refer to selected contemporary debates about the urban planning.
We argue that although urban heritage sites represent interesting premise of creating energy efficient places, they have been overlooked by current developments in sustainable oriented policies and practices. Furthermore, we question the extent to which these policies and practices would/could remains uncontested in the light of the evidence about ‘glocalisation’ tensions (Swyngedouw 2004) and policy ‘convergence’ issues (Gertler 2004). We further suggest that eco-efficient policies and practices are negotiated in the processes of social interaction and shaped by power relations (Foucault and Gordon 1980). This includes suggestions that ‘objectivity’ and ‘reliability’ of sustainability assessment methods can be in various ways compromised (Bond and Morrison-Saunders 2012). Finally, we identify areas of broader concern regarding the role of planning in the development and implementation of such policies and practices by raising the interest for further research in the field.
Bond, A. and Morrison-Saunders, A. 2012. Challenges in determining the effectiveness of sustainability assessment In: Bond, A., Morrison-Saunders, A., Howitt, R., ed. Sustainability Assessment: Pluralism, practice and progress. Oxon: Routledge.
Foucault, M. and Gordon, C. 1980. Power/knowledge: Selected interviews and other writings, 1972-1977. Pantheon.
Gertler, M. S. 2004. Best practice? Geography, learning, and the institutional limits to strong convergence. Reading economic geography, pp. 350-361.
Lewis, J. O. et al. 2013. Cities of Tomorrow–Action Today. URBACT II Capitalisation. Building energy efficiency in European cities.
Phelps, A. et al. 2002. The Construction of Built Heritage: A North European Perspective on Policies, Practices, and Outcomes. Ashgate Aldershot,, UK.
Swyngedouw, E. 2004. Globalisation or ‘glocalisation’? Networks, territories and rescaling. Cambridge Review of International Affairs 17(1), pp. 25-48.