About this Research Topic
Cities are important actors in low-carbon energy transitions. They matter as front-runners, trend-setters and decision-makers. They matter as daily settings for over half of humanity. As cities continue to evolve, urban form is changing. Its effects on consumption and climate change are the focus of political debate, governance and urban transformation research. However, the most acute impacts of changing cities are on social inclusion. These are felt by vulnerable groups such as the urban energy poor. Shifts to positive energy districts and low-carbon urban forms can lead to green gentrification and exacerbate intersecting inequalities, or they can be drivers of inclusive cities that become low-carbon and socially sustainable.
This Research Topic focuses on the contested, varied and dynamic relationship between urban energy poverty and positive energy districts. The former refers to a lack of access to essential energy services in cities, while the latter highlights the multi-scalar spaces and places of sustainability interventions in urban infrastructure. We invite contributions from a wide range of urban contexts, social science disciplines and novel interdisciplinary methodological approaches that address:
• The impact of community, block and sub-urban scale renewable energy initiatives on diverse urban residents and socio-spatial patterns of involvement;
• Various targets for low-carbon urban transformation mobilized by municipalities and other actors and the concomitant implications for informal urbanisms and social inclusion;
• Synergies and trade-offs between urban retrofits to enhance energy efficiency in the built environment and trends on real estate markets in diverse urban contexts;
• The effects of smart city initiatives on urban energy services such as public lighting, mobility and energy efficient social housing as part of urban sustainability goals;
• Energy technologies for participatory environmental monitoring, such as electric and gas smart meters and other sensors, and how they relate to urban social inclusion;
• Relationships between socio-economic indicators (e.g. energy poverty) and low-carbon indicators of energy transition (e.g. carbon budgets) deployed in and by various cities;
• Hybrid governance of urban sustainability transformation by public, private and civil society actors and its implications for energy poverty and low-carbon transitions;
• Varieties of urban energy transition plans (e.g. positive energy districts) and their range of metrics to address informality and social inclusion during low-carbon transformation.
Keywords: Urban Transformation, Energy Poverty, Positive Energy Districts, Governance, Social Inclusion, Urban Energy Poverty, Urban Infrastructure, Renewable Energy, Energy Technologies, Low-Carbon Transitions
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