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Smart City Block: WP15:Project Summary

Frédéric Klopfert (), Olivier Mortehan and Hélène Joachain

ULB Institutional Repository from ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles

Abstract: Increasing the rate of renovation for the existing building stock is a crucial challenge for EU’s energy policy. The Smart City Block (SCB) project proposes an innovative answer to this challenge. The underlying hypothesis is that introducing a collective dimension to renovation could result in increasing rates of renovation while also impacting positively the efficiency of the renovation and the social ties within urban areas. The collective dimension considered is the city block in Brussels.The first part of this paper describes the theoretical part of the project that was necessary to develop an adapted methodology. It describes the SCB offering, Brussels segmentation and some results of surveys.The SCB offering shows that many different options can be proposed to the city block dwellers, ranging from a collective insulation, efficient heating systems and shared photovoltaics to collective kitchen garden in the inner space of the block, shared vehicles or shared spaces. This is especially relevant for Brussels where city blocks often have an inner space that could be used. Besides, the segmentation of Brussels based on city block characteristics offers a typology that can be further used to target specific environmental or social deficit.However, the collective dimension introduced in the project is challenging for western individualistic minds. In order to evaluate the acceptance of households, a survey was conducted on 4 city blocks in Brussels, representing over 450 households. It shows a clear willingness to investigate the concept further but only if concrete proposals with estimations of energy and financial savings are provided. Sharing space, equipment and activities was more positively accepted than what we initially expected. Although the attitude-behaviour gap must not be underestimated, this opening can be viewed as an evolution of lifestyles in some segments of the population. Governance and institutional arrangements are expected to play a critical role in supporting this evolution.The second part of the paper relates to the practical part of the research.Our selection process aimed at locating two types of city blocks: a “fuel poor” city block - where the inhabitants face comfort and energy cost difficulties – and a so-called “early adopter” city block – where inhabitants have a positive attitude for the SCB concept.In the “early adopter” city block, located in Uccle, brainstorming meetings and coelaboration meetings were held as to elaborate an SCB model, with the inhabitants and in accordance with their aspirations and needs. Different solutions, including district heating, shared photovoltaics, shared vehicles and collective insulation were modelled both technically and economically. Financing solutions were also proposed.In the “fuel poor” city block, located in Saint-Josse, we conducted a survey on the needs of inhabitants, commercial activities and owners (occupants or landlords). The need for increased energy efficiency is clearly expressed but we also identified the important barriers related to the ownership structure of the block.Prior to the conclusions and proposal for further research on this topic, a section is dedicated to a discussion on the methodology and the hypotheses used during this research.

Keywords: Retrofit; mobility; shared resources; urban planning; energy efficiency; households; collective action; co-haousing (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 30 p.
Date: 2017-08-17
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ene
Note: Sponsorship: Engie-Electrabel
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:ulb:ulbeco:2013/270614

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