Alleviating energy poverty consequences: Research by design for a new community center in Groningen, NL

Rachael Tillotson, Adrian Figueroa Flores, Ifigeneia Psarra

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingContribution to conference proceedingAcademicpeer-review

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    Energy poverty is a growing concern in the Netherlands due to the rising gas and electricity prices. There are three main contributors to energy poverty: low income, high fuel costs and energy inefficient homes. Energy poverty effects can have significant consequences, influencing both physical and mental health, increasing the chances of becoming trapped in a cycle of poverty and social isolation. Usually, policy making approaches to combat energy poverty mainly focus on financial support on a household scale or on prices regulating efforts. However, this study argues that actions on a community level could also contribute to alleviating the impacts that energy poverty has on citizens’ lives. For example, community centers in low-income neighborhoods could potentially play a catalyst role in alleviating the effects of energy poverty by exemplifying energy saving techniques, catering to the needs of residents, increasing social cohesion and inspiring collective action. This research explores strategic design interventions through a whole system’s lens; social, energy and nature, that can be applied to the new VanHouten community center in the Oosterpark district of Groningen, the Netherlands. This is a historic, former school building, under a restoration and reuse process, owned by the municipality. Literature reviews, participatory events and interviews have been used to explore the possibilities to mitigate energy poverty, within a research by design process. Beyond the local case, the findings lay the groundwork for more systematic studies on how to alleviate the impact of energy poverty on a community level.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationReflecting on the Agency of Architecture for Regenerative and Distributive Solution the Global North and the Global South
    Subtitle of host publicationproceedings of the 2nd fall symposium
    Place of PublicationHasselt
    PublisherHasselt University
    Number of pages11
    Publication statusPublished - 13 Sept 2022
    Event2nd Fall Symposium Building Beyond Borders: Reflecting on the agency of architecture for regenerative and distributive solutions in the Global North and the Global South - Hasselt, Belgium
    Duration: 17 Nov 202218 Nov 2022


    Conference2nd Fall Symposium Building Beyond Borders
    Internet address


    • energy poverty
    • community center
    • co-creation
    • research by design
    • Groningen


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    • Energy transition in Oosterpark

      Ifigeneia Psarra (Chair), Adrian Figueroa (Speaker), Rachael Tillotson (Speaker), Marcia Sulman (Speaker), Yelyzaveta Sierova (Speaker) & Katerynya Sydorenko (Speaker)

      2 Jul 2022

      Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

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