A slideshow presenting the intermediate findings of the (t)ERES project.
Further to the success of the (t)ERES workshop, we are co-editing a Special Issue of Transport Policy titled “Household transport costs, economic stress and vulnerability, at the interface between mobility, domestic energy and residential location”. The call for paper is available at http://www.journals.elsevier.com/transport-policy/call-for-papers/special-issue-household-transport-costs-economic-stress/.
While we aim to include all contributions from the workshop, we are also encouraging further submissions. The deadline for abstract submission is October 1, 2015.
The DEMAND Centre invites abstract submissions for its international conference to take place on April 13- 15 2016 in Lancaster, UK. The core of the conference programme will consist of 13 workshops organised into parallel streams.
More information on the conference (including the detailed call for papers) is available on DEMAND website.
Workshop 6: Energy and money
Convenors: Giulio Mattioli, Caroline Mullen and Greg Marsden (University of Leeds)
To understand energy demand, many researchers maintain that we need to investigate the specific ways in which energy is used in everyday life. This contrasts with the assumption that we can understand energy primarily a single commodity, which like other goods, can be translated as – ‘the grand equalizer’ – money. It is this economic approach to analysing energy demand which has been dominant in the transport and domestic energy sectors. Perhaps surprisingly, but in contrast, current accounts of energy-consuming practices often say little about how monetary resources can shape and constrain ‘what people do’, and the energy demand that results from it.
This workshop theme aims to gather theoretical, empirical and methodological approaches that cover the vacant middle ground between these approaches. It will bring into conversation research from within and beyond DEMAND and from a range of disciplines, to develop original insights into how monetary resources are involved, alongside other factors, in making and transforming energy demand. Possible topics include, for example:
– the relationships between poverty and energy use (e.g. fuel-, transport- and energy-poverty);
– the distinctive energy consumption practices of the wealthiest sectors of society;
– the distributional impacts and justice implications of energy policies such as taxes, subsidies and pricing;
– the impacts of changes in how public money is spent (e.g. austerity) on energy-consumption;
– the role of private household debt/credit in sustaining and making possible a variety of (often unsustainable) energy-consuming practices;
– methodological approaches to using expenditure data as a trace of energy consuming practices
This workshop will be based around a set of pre-written papers and associated presentations, with other activities such as panel discussions potentially to be included.
Abstracts of around 400 words should be submitted by the deadline of 28th September 2015 using the online submission system, which will be available at the latest by 24th August. Decisions on accepted papers will be made by workshop convenors, whom you may contact before the submission deadline to advise on relevance and fit.
All accepted participants will be required to prepare a written version of their paper (normally between 3000 and 4000 words in length) by the deadline of 1st March 2016. We plan to make all papers available as online proceedings. However, authors may decline to have their papers published in this form
Please contact Giulio Mattioli (G.Mattioli@leeds.ac.uk) if you have any questions about this workshop
The two-day international workshop “Energy-related economic stress at the interface between transport poverty, fuel poverty and residential location” was held at the University of Leeds on May 20th-21st. It was organised as part of the EPSRC-funded (t)ERES research project, which is linked to the DEMAND Research Centre. 41 participants from four countries took part in the workshop over the two days, including 13 non-academic participants from DfT, DECC, DCLG, Welsh Government, Leeds City Council, RAC Foundation, EDF R&D, CPT, ACE and the Centre for Cities.
The aim of the workshop was to make connections between issues of affordability in different areas (transport, housing and domestic energy) and how these have been conceptualised (or not) in three different EU countries (UK, France and Germany), while at the same time bringing together academic and policy perspectives. Over two intensive days we have discussed topics such as: transport-related economic stress among motorised lower-middle classes; the poor resilience and oil vulnerability of suburban and remote areas; urban households who cannot afford car ownership; the coping strategies of households and policy makers in the face of rising fuel and housing costs; how to develop a comprehensive approach to (transport and domestic) energy poverty; the definition and measurement of ‘transport poverty’.
The electoral campaign is over, but it is easy to predict that questions of living standards and affordability will continue to be debated in the UK.
The parties’ housing policies have been under intense scrutiny (see here and here) as opinion surveys show that “69% of people believe the UK is bereft of affordable housing“. A comprehensive study on “Housing in 2040” sponsored by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation concludes that, “unless some of the trends in housing policy are reversed” (including a rapid increase in house building rates):
the link between income poverty and housing deprivation is likely to strengthen, with housing costs becoming a more important cause of poverty, and the experience of poverty more likely to be combined with the experience of housing deprivation
Affordable housing may be scarce in the UK, but how does it compare to other European countries? Poorly, according to a 2012 CECODHAS report on “Housing affordability in the EU”.
If we look at domestic energy costs and fuel poverty, the comparison is also unflattering. The table below is taken from the Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE) fact-file, significantly titled “The Cold Man of Europe“.
Transport costs have not drawn much attention recently, probably because of the 2014 oil price drop. For a number of years, however, they have been a cause of concern, leading for example Sustrans to plea for the official recognition of “transport poverty”.
Indeed, findings from a 2013 Eurobarometer on urban mobility suggest that 83% of Britons (higher than the EU average) find “travelling costs within cities” an important problem.
This is problematic, as transport costs add to housing costs, and the price of oil might be seeing a recovery.
In this blog, we will comment on questions of transport affordability and how they relate to spending for housing and domestic energy – so watch this space.