Community energy projects reducing urban poverty

English: Cardiff University

English: Cardiff University (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PhD Studentship looking at building community resilience: the role for community energy projects in reducing urban poverty.

Community-led renewable energy and energy efficiency projects provide a wide range of social and ecological benefits, including cutting carbon emissions, promoting pro-environmental behaviours and building community resilience through generating sources of sustainable income. However, there remains a lack of research into the impacts of community-led initiatives on reducing fuel poverty, particularly in deprived urban areas. How can community groups and the organisations supporting them measure the impacts of community energy projects in reducing levels of fuel poverty? What is the capacity of social enterprises to sustain and better integrate community action in deprived communities? And, how can community development programmes effectively coordinate and support community action on energy that will specifically target the most vulnerable groups? Guided by these research questions, this doctoral studentship position will directly engage with the current knowledge gaps.

esrc logoThe empirical research will focus on deprived urban communities in Cardiff. An interdisciplinary and action research approach will be employed with research participants enrolled as co-researchers. This will support development of methodologies to bridge the gap between science and community and the cooperative generation of new knowledge to support community action. The learning outcomes of the research will be used to support a wide range of community and third sector organisations to develop more effective ways of supporting community action on energy.

The School of Planning and Geography (CPLAN) will be the home school for this studentship position. CPLAN is the largest planning school in the UK and takes a wide definition of planning which encompasses the policy areas of economic development, environment, housing, urban design, transport, health as well as land-use planning. The School strives to be a centre of excellence in research, teaching and policy and practice associated with the planning and management of cities and regions.

The doctoral academic supervisory team is comprised of affiliates of the Sustainable Places Research Institute (PLACE). PLACE combines expertise in planning and urban design, energy systems, rural and urban communities, ecosystems, infrastructure, health, and decision-making which addresses the management and policy needs for integrated place-based solutions. It operates as a scientific ‘meeting place’ in research and training between the Schools of Social Sciences, Planning and Geography, Medicine, Earth and Biological Sciences, Law, Architecture, Psychology, Engineering, and Business. Based in PLACE, the doctoral student will be supported in adopting an interdisciplinary approach which draws on research into sustainable energy consumption, fuel poverty and community resilience from a number of disciplinary perspectives. Interdisciplinary (and cross-disciplinary) working will also guide the action research methodology.

The studentship is also supported by the Welsh Government. As part of this support there may also be the possibility for the candidate to spend some time based within the Welsh Government, situated in the People & Environment Division. The policy scope of this division encompasses: – Energy Efficiency & Fuel Poverty, Local Environment Quality, Sustainable Behaviours and Engagement (inc. SD & Climate Change) and Radioactivity & Pollution Prevention.

Source:  Cardiff

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Call For Papers: Modelling Sustainable Urban Transition

Cardiff castle front, as seen from Castle st.

Cardiff castle front, as seen from Castle st. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Transitions towards more sustainable cities are inherently complex phenomena which cut across many fragmented sectors including water, waste, energy and the built environment. The challenge for urban policy makers is to develop the knowledge and capacity to use resources more sustainably and incorporate this knowledge into the existing urban environment, critical infrastructures, and the lives of the people who live in it.

 Although we cannot predict the future, we know that it will have to conform to the laws of nature, the constraints of ecological systems and the peculiarities of individual human and societal systems. Within the transition research community, much research is being undertaken to develop models to investigate the dynamics of urban transition pathways. However, efforts have thus far being piecemeal and disconnected.

 This symposium, held in Cardiff, UK, on July 3rd-4th 2013, will offer a platform for interdisciplinary collaborations regarding long term urban planning, bringing together academics and practitioners to discuss experiences, opportunities and limitations of using system dynamics modelling approaches to investigate suitable urban transition. A new collaboration network based on the symposium is proposed and a special journal issue in a leading journal will be sought. Funding may be available for travels and accommodations in the UK for invited speakers.

 The themes of the symposium will be

  1. Physical flows: energy, water and waste
  2. Urban infrastructure and urban metabolism
  3. Social transitions
  4. Methodologies
    1. systems thinking and analysis
    2. dynamic modelling

Source : retrofit2050

Gijón: En la élite de los viajes sostenibles

Palacio Revillagigedo, Gijón

Palacio Revillagigedo, Gijón (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

La ciudad de Gijón asume la carta ‘Biosphere Destination’, un tratado internacional en el que los responsables de turismo se comprometen a impulsar el turismo sí, pero desde un punto de vista sostenible y responsable con el medio ambiente. Ayer se firmó la carta en un acto en el salón de recepciones del Ayuntamiento de Gijón escenificado por el concejal Fernando Couto, el presidente de la Comisión Española de Cooperación con la UNESCO, Luis Ramallo, y el presidente del Instituto de Turismo Responsable, Tomás Azcárate, quien aseguró que «España tiene que hacer un esfuerzo y apostar por la diversificación y segmentación» del mercado para superar el «momento crítico» de este sector a causa de la crisis económica.
El turismo es uno de los principales recursos económicos del país y «hay que hacer un esfuerzo para poder competir porque el turista es cada vez más exigente», señaló Azcárate durante la firma del compromiso ‘Biosphere Destination’.
Esta carta mide la sostenibilidad de los destinos turísticos en el cumplimiento de un centenar de requisitos, basados en el análisis de aspectos económicos, medioambientales, sociales y culturales.
El 80% de los turistas prefieren destinos sostenibles frente a otros que no lo son para sus viajes de ocio, descanso o vacaciones, porque en la actualidad la sostenibilidad es un «producto turístico de primer orden», afirma Azcárate.
Desde ayer y en lo sucesivo, la ciudad de Gijón es «una de los pocas de Europa» que se someterá al control de su sector turístico con el propósito de conseguir la certificación de «turismo sostenible y responsable» que concede el Instituto en representación de la ONU, según explicó Fernando Couto.
El concejal calificó de «histórica» la jornada por la firma del protocolo que le dará a la ciudad un valor adicional a su «reputada trayectoria con la sostenibilidad y el respeto por el medio ambiente». «Este es uno de los momentos más importantes en la historia de Gijón», llegó a decir. Y aseguró que la política «de largo plazo» busca exportar el modelo turístico de Gijón, asentado en la protección del medio ambiente y de los recursos culturales e históricos.
El presidente de la Comisión Española de Cooperación con la Unesco, Luis Ramallo, comentó que es «optimista» y se congratuló del desarrollo que ha tenido en los últimos 15 años la conciencia social.
source : Elcomercio

Go Green Day

A big call out for everyone to take part!

This year we’re all gearing up towards Go Green! A national day on Friday 19 October, where everyone wears something green to show their support for Size of Wales. This could be as extravagant as a green wig and green facepaint or a subtle as green socks or a green necklace. But the main thing is that everyone can get involved.

So far we’ve had lots of schools wanting to Go Green! They’re holding no school uniform days, up and down the country. Businesses are also taking part with dress down days. In fact, any workplace can take part. It really is very easy. Simply wear something green or do something ‘green themed’ and donate £1 to the Size of Wales.

£1 will help protect an area of rainforest the size of one rugby pitch. We’re excited about supporting the rainforest, and we want to have fun in the process.

Here are some of the ideas that we’ve had so far….

– Wear something green to work or school/college

– Hold a Green Fashion Show or clothes swap

– Take pictures of your ‘greenness’

– Take some face paint into work and get on the attack!

– Paint something green e.g. light bulb

– Have one meal that is 100% green in your canteen

– Change your facebook profile picture green

– Bake green cup cakes for everyone

– Write everything in green ink (with a good excuse)

– Green nail varnish (you know you want to)

– Green cocktail party after work

We need you to make Go Green Day massive! Come on Wales!

Be as creative as you like and have as much fun as you can. It could be your only chance to wear that Christmas jumper or novelty skirt that you can’t bear to throw away.

Take lots of photos, as we’ll also be launching a photo competition.

Register for Go Green Day

Source : Size of ales 2012 Events