‘No more thirst, cold, or darkness!’ – Social movements, households, and the coproduction of knowledge on water and energy vulnerability in Barcelona, Spain

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Abstract

© 2019 Elsevier Ltd Water and energy vulnerability (WEV) in Barcelona continues to stir up social debates in Spain, as the social movement known as the Aliança contra pobresa energètica’ (English: Alliance against Energy Poverty; hereafter referred to as APE) champions the cause and raises awareness of water and energy rights of vulnerable families in Catalonia and beyond. In the urban space of the metropolitan area of Barcelona and on top of the heavily unequal social fabric that the city cultivates, APE has been at the forefront of initiating new discussions on water and energy services and their governance. This is interpreted as a new form of water-energy nexus (WEN) addressed by end users and arose from posing fundamental questions on political ecology to participants, such as: ‘Why are water poverty and energy poverty approached and managed differently from each other by companies and administrations?’; ‘Who decides the regulations of water and energy vulnerability programs and what are the criteria of vulnerability?’; and ‘Who pays the costs involved?’. Using a mixed-method research approach, including participant observation, action research and quantitative analysis, we investigate the case of the APE, particularly how they deal with WEV and demonstrate their guiding principle of ‘co-production of nature and knowledge’. APE's guiding principle places WEV deep into the sphere of people, (urban) nature and power. We conclude that exploring water poverty and energy poverty together in an extensive and open manner reveals the lived experiences and struggles of households and brings a more holistic understanding of human and nature relationship at the household level.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101276
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
Volume58
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019

Keywords

  • Barcelona
  • Energy poverty
  • Governance
  • Water poverty

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