Chapter 26: Spatial approaches to energy poverty
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Energy poverty, the inability to attain sufficient energy services in the home to ensure health and wellbeing, is a key equity and justice concern, and energy poverty evidence and policymaking has grown rapidly in its geographical scope over recent decades. Emphasis has been placed on how the phenomenon is highly spatial variable between, and within, countries, with uneven implications for different neighbourhoods and household types. Underpinned by a rich tradition in poverty and deprivation, spatial analysis can shed light on the distribution of energy poverty in this diverse range of contexts. Building on the small but growing body of existing research across the Global North, this chapter sketches out a blueprint for the spatial analysis of energy poverty. Firstly, the chapter reflects on some of the key strengths and challenges of spatial analysis of energy poverty to date including: the multidimensionality of symptoms and drivers; the central role of infrastructure; the private nature of the condition; and data constraints. Secondly, a range of appropriate framings, scales and units of analysis are evaluated. Several examples of spatial approaches to energy poverty from the UK context are provided, analysing and mapping both (i) the symptoms of energy poverty, and (ii) the multi-dimensional drivers of energy poverty. Finally, the chapter concludes with reflections on future research avenues and the opportunities that new real-time datasets provide for predicting energy poverty propensity across space.

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