- Environmental inequalities / environmental justice
- Energy vulnerabilities and energy poverty
- Ageing, environmental change and environmental policy
- Environmental health geographies
Current research projects
DEMAND: Dynamics of Energy, Mobility and Demand. RCUK funded End User Energy Demand (EU-ED) Research Centre 2013-2018,
Co-Investigator. PIs Professor Elizabeth Shove and Professor Gordon Walker, University of Lancaster
The £4.9 million DEMAND Centre is the largest hub of social science work on energy demand in the UK. It takes a distinctive approach to end use energy demand, recognising that energy is not used for its own sake but as part of accomplishing social practices at home, at work and in moving around. This approach generates an ambitious research agenda that is crucial for organisations involved in demand management and in radically reconfiguring infrastructures, buildings and transport systems in line with greenhouse gas emissions targets. In this research centre, I co-lead a project on mobility in retirement which will run 2014-16 and co-lead a further work stream on energy justice, running 2013-17.
Project website: www.demand.ac.uk Twitter: https://twitter.com/DEMAND_CENTRE
Stories of Change: Exploring energy and community in the past, present and future. AHRC funded 2014-17 (Connected Communities stream).
Co-Investigator. PI: Joe Smith, Open University
The Stories of Change project is an innovative, multi-discip;inary project which will work with communities in England and Wales to co-crete, analyse, circulate and broadcast narratives about community relationships with energy in the past, present and future. The project team includes archtects, historians geographers, media producers and literature experts and we will work in collaboraion with community arts organsiations and artists including Visiting Arts and Tipping Point.
2Genders: Generation and Gender Energy Deprivation: Realities and Social Policies. Funded by the Belgian Science and Policy Office 2014 -17.
International Partner. PI: Francoise Bartiaux, Universite Catholique de Louvain.
Energy poverty is a real concern in current Belgian society, as economic inequalities and energy prices are on the rise and price increases in housing and energy differentially affect the poorest sectors of society. Belgium has named energy poverty as an area for action in its federal plan to tackle poverty. The 2Genders project will describe the phenomenon and the populations affected, ascertain the wider impacts of energy poverty on social relations, mobility and self-reported health, and design and deliberate possible interventions with a range of important stakeholders including the energy poor. Particular attention will be paid to gender and generational aspects because there is good reason to believe that energy poverty is not manifest equally between genders and generations.
An intelligent digital household network to transform low carbon lifestyles. EPSRC (Build-Teddi) funded 2013-18.
Co-Investigator. PI: Shuli Liu, Coventry University.
This project is a collaboration with civil engineers and 'serious games' developers. it will design and develop an innovative whole house energy and water use monitoring system with a virtual world interface, and trial the system in social housing properties.
Completed Research Projects
Interdisciplinary Cluster on Energy Systems, Equity and Vulnerability (InCluESEV)
(ESRC / EPSRC funded 2009-2011 PI Karen Bickerstaff, Kings College London)
Work Package leader: WP2 Exploring the Diversity of Energy Vulnerabilities
This cluster brings together academics and non-academics in various activities over three years in a range of activities to further understanding of issues connected to social equity and vulnerability in relation to energy supply and consumption.
Visit the InCluESEV cluster website
Thermal management practices of older people during winter: accounting for the contextual dynamics
R Day and R Hitchings (Dept Geography UCL) 2008-9 funded by the Nuffield Foundation
This project uses in-depth qualitative interviews and photo diary methods to examine how older people at different levels of affluence manage their thermal comfort as they pass through the winter, using heating systems, movements, technologies and other material objects such as clothing. By focussing upon everyday practices and on how particular behaviours come to seem sensible and routine with regard to staying warm, it aims to provide a detailed understanding of the factors that structure this seasonal adaptation, including economic resources, physical infrastructures, age-related biophysical changes and cultures of ageing. The wider aim is to use findings to inform debate about thermal management behaviours within ageing societies such as ours and make timely contributions to policy agendas that promote both winter wellbeing for older people today and more sustainable forms of domestic consumption in the future.
Download the full report on Older people and their winter warmth behaviours: Understanding the contextual dynamics (PDF - 3.87MB)
Older People, Environment and Wellbeing
R Day, 2005-2007, funded by the Scottish Centre for Research on Social Justice
This project is a comparative study of three differing urban neighbourhoods in the West of Scotland, using qualitative techniques to work in depth with older residents. It addresses issues of how older people use and experience their local outdoor environment, how they feel it affects their health and wellbeing, and different types of barriers to outdoor activities they may encounter. Through the exploration of different neighbourhoods the work reflects on environmental equity concerns to do with the spatial distribution of key environmental qualities, the means by which older residents may be especially affected by certain neighbourhood environmental features and dimensions, and the extent to which older people feel able to participate in decision-making regarding their local environments.
Download the full final report from the Older People, Environment and Wellbeing project (PDF - 570KB) or the Older People, Environment and Wellbeing summary findings (PDF - 103KB)