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

Adrian Figueroa Flores, Ifigeneia Psarra, Rachael Tillotson

Onderzoeksoutput: Contribution 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.
Originele taal-2English
TitelProceedings of the 2nd Fall Symposium Building Beyond Borders
Aantal pagina's9
StatusAccepted/In press - 13 sep. 2022
Evenement2nd 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
Duur: 17 nov. 202218 nov. 2022


Conference2nd Fall Symposium Building Beyond Borders
Internet adres


  • energiearmoede
  • gemeenschapscentrum
  • co-creatie
  • onderzoek door ontwerp


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