Energy Vulnerability in the Grain of the City

Stefan Bouzarovski and Harriet Thomson's "Energy Vulnerability in the Grain of the City: Toward Neighborhood Typologies of Material Deprivation"
This article's main topic is energy poverty, which is defined as the inability to obtain a certain level of energy services in one's home. The study of fuel poverty has sparked interest in the new field of energy geographies (Calvert 105), and a better understanding of the city fixity of fuel poverty can lead to new insights into the methodological foundations of justice. The authors developed a conceptual framework focusing on the connections between socio-demographic and housing vulnerabilities to indigency and models of social inequality in urban areas to achieve this level of understanding. This approach was used to conduct a research on post-communist urban areas in central and eastern Europe mainly in Gdansk, Skopje, Budapest, and Prague city. These areas were chosen for the study because they are among the developed regions that have experienced fuel poverty. In addition, Gdansk and Skopje have had less scholarly attention, and also the researchers wanted to cover a wide geographical region with diverse traits. However, it is not clear how the characteristics of the study areas adequately represent other developed nations such as America.

The authors have interrogated the housing, socio-demographic, as well as the infrastructural forms of the households that have insufficient domestic energy services and they have done this with the use of evidence from widespread custom-built vicinity surveys. However, it is not clear how the complexities caused by the indicators used to determine the symptoms and practices related to energy vulnerability were solved during the study. These indicators are determined through social and cultural means (Petrova et al. 1246), hence the complexity. The results of the study indicated that there are very different landscapes as well as typologies of energy vulnerability in cities. Energy burdens were found to be high in Budapest and Skopje regions due to low levels of income as well as the high rates of fuel poverty.

Bouzarovski and Thomson have cited the article “From ‘energy geography’ to ‘energy geographies’: Perspectives on a fertile academic borderland” by Kirby Calvert because the issue of fuel poverty has gained interest in the upcoming domain of energy geographies. This is because the deprivation of domestic fuel is a natural spatial phenomenon that comes as a result of interactions between inequalities that are social based and built forms and goes past income poverty (Buzar 63). Calvert’s article documents the contributions made by geography in studying energy and energy futures. According to him, energy is immanent to socio-spatial relations, and this thought is supported by Bouzarovski and Thomson in their article.

Calvert argues that geographical studies related to energy have broadened their coverage as well as theoretical plurality and, therefore, ‘energy geographies’ is the most suitable tag compared to ‘energy geography’ which is just a shorthand used for communication to the wider energy studies society. This can be seen in the work of Bouzarovski and Thomson, where they have developed a new theoretical framework for their study. In addition, Calvert has identified the problems, opportunities, as well as the uncertainties that are identified, understood, and resolved with the help of contemporary energy geographers. The article has brought out clearly and specifically the importance of geographical thoughts and practice in relation to energy, hence supporting the work of Bouzarovski and Thomson.

Works Cited

Buzar S., Energy poverty in Eastern Europe: Hidden geographies of deprivation. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2007.

Calvert Kirby, From “energy geography” to “energy geographies” Perspectives on a fertile academic borderland. Progress in Human Geography, 2015.

Petrova S., M. Gentile, I.H. Makinen, and S. Bouzarovski, Perceptions of thermal comfort and housing quality: Exploring the micro-geographies of energy poverty in Stakhanov, Ukraine. Environment and Planning A., 2013.

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