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New article on energy citizenship in the urban heating system

Person in metro station

How can urban citizens be engaged and active in the energy transition? A new article explores this by applying the methodology called ‘Walking with Energy’, which seeks to (re)connect citizens with where their energy is coming from.

Energy citizenship has emerged as a concept which attempts to capture the new role envisaged for urban citizens as engaged and active in the energy transition. However, exactly how to successfully engage energy citizens requires more research. In a new article by Aimee Ambrose (Sheffield Hallam University, UK) and Jenny Palm article this knowledge gap is addressed. The article presents a new methodology, ‘Walking with Energy’, which seeks to (re)connect citizens with where their energy is coming from. By experimenting with the application of this method in the UK and Sweden, the authors consider how viewing and talking about heating provision, whilst in the energy landscape, can encourage participants to reflect upon their local, mundane energy experiences and foster a greater sense of energy citizenship and greater motivation to engage with debates around heating transition.

The article presents four different events: 1) A physical walk to an Energy Recovery Facility, 2) a walk to view a building’s heat exchanger, 3) a round-table discussion using pictures to communicate in a language café, and 4) a virtual tour around an Energy Recovery Facility. The results show that the method ‘Walking with Energy’ encouraged the sharing of personal experiences, storytelling, and deepened the engagement of participants with debates about energy. The method can help promote energy democracy and boost a deliberative dialogue about present and future energy systems among citizens. An important finding was also that promotion of energy citizenship requires not only active citizens but also active facilitation to create opportunities for citizens to engage and reflect.

The article is available here