Mapping summer energy poverty geographies of older adults

30 April 2022

During summertime, cities located in Southern Europe, such as Madrid, experience an increase of social activities taking place in public space. Regarding the lack of qualitative research able to characterise and evaluate community strategies to cope with excessive heat, our aim is to create a participatory cartography that reflects the personal or collective measures, initiatives and geographies, embodied by older adults and driven by summer energy poverty. We want to develop collective mapping through neighbourhood-led walking tours within Madrid, together with older people living in Usera district, during summer. These activities will be conducted as workshops in seven Municipal Centers for Older People, which are already collaborating with H2020 project COOLtoRISE, also focused on tackling summer energy poverty.

As an architect focused on construction and energetic building behaviour I found it difficult to spread my work when it is focused on energy poverty, even more when it includes qualitative data analysis. Currently I am developing my PhD research in qualitative methods and energy poverty. Apart from conducting interviews and analysing the phenomenon from an individual experience as I did during the project FEMENMAD (Sánchez-Guevara et al., 2020), I find it interesting to analyse and characterize collective lived experiences. This EPEC fund is an extraordinary opportunity to work with neighbourhoods and to develop our own research which allows us to get first results in collective experiences, in order to replicate the research in more scenarios. To deepen these geographies of summer energy poverty enables the scientific community and public institutions to design better policies that respond to everyday realities.

Marta Gayoso, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
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From architectural practice to research, I try to explore how the material conditions of the built environment have effects on human communities, mainly focusing on climatic conditions. For my post-doctoral research, I am trying to investigate the social dimension of the Urban Heat Island of Madrid, identifying how people feel and cope with overheating situations, and how they interact with the built environment in that context. I am trying to evaluate if this type of bottom-up knowledge can be useful for architectural practices in the context of the climate crisis. Social cartographies are proposed in these terms, as operative tools for urban bioclimatic design. The opportunity of developing a case study, together with Marta Gayoso, working with neighbors and in the context of a great project as Cooltorise, is priceless.

Daniel Torrego, Universidad de Alicante
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