go to top scroll for more


Projects: Projects for Investigator
Reference Number ES/T008091/1
Title Cool Infrastructures: Life With Heat in the Off Grid City
Status Completed
Energy Categories Other Cross-Cutting Technologies or Research(Other Supporting Data) 20%;
Other Cross-Cutting Technologies or Research(Environmental, social and economic impacts) 80%;
Research Types Basic and strategic applied research 100%
Science and Technology Fields SOCIAL SCIENCES (Sociology) 75%;
SOCIAL SCIENCES (Development Studies) 25%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Sociological economical and environmental impact of energy (Environmental dimensions) 25%;
Sociological economical and environmental impact of energy (Other sociological economical and environmental impact of energy) 50%;
Other (Energy technology information dissemination) 25%;
Principal Investigator Dr JJ Cross
No email address given
School of Social and Political Science
University of Edinburgh
Award Type Standard
Funding Source ESRC
Start Date 01 April 2020
End Date 30 September 2023
Duration 42 months
Total Grant Value £1,777,882
Industrial Sectors
Region Scotland
Programme ESRC - RCUK GCRF - Grants
Investigators Principal Investigator Dr JJ Cross , School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh (99.992%)
  Other Investigator Dr D Friedrich , Sch of Engineering and Electronics, University of Edinburgh (0.001%)
Dr R J Harkness , Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh (0.001%)
Mrs M Morelle , Research, Paul Ango Ela Foundation (0.001%)
Dr E Oppermann , Institute for Geography, Ludwig Maximilians University Munich (0.001%)
Dr S Amir , School of Humanities and Social Science, Nanyang Technological University (0.001%)
Dr A Khandekar , Liberal Arts, Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad (0.001%)
Dr NH Anwar , UNLISTED, Institute of Business Administration (0.001%)
Dr A Nastiti , Faculty of Civil & Enviro Engineering, Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) (0.001%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , Universite Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne (0.000%)
Web Site
Objectives The project aims to:1) Increase access to affordable, sustainable cooling for the most marginalised urban residents in four cities by making 'cool infrastructures' a key component of national and international frameworks for action on extreme heat.2) Transform how national and international actors understand the cooling needs and capacities of marginalised women and men living in urban energy poverty by generating and disseminating new data and evidence.3) Enhance research capacity to address challenges of cooling in four DAC list countries.To realise these aims we will:- Build sustained partnerships for knowledge exchange and impact with municipal authorities, community groups and civil society organisations in Hyderabad, Karachi, Yaound and Jakarta; building strong, international and interdisciplinary partnerships for collaborative research; and facilitating dialogue on city level heat action plans between communities, civil society organisations, international and national NGOs, UN bodies (via the UN's Cooling for All Secretariat), private sector actors, urban planners, policy makers and researchers.- Design research methods and an analytical framework for the collection, visualisation, sharing and comparative analysis of qualitative data on cooling with low income urban residents living with no or precarious access to electricity in Hyderabad, Karachi, Yaound and Jakarta.- Generate contextually rich urban case studies of heat and intersectional inequality, cool infrastructures, and thermal practices in Hyderabad, Karachi, Yaound and Jakarta to evidence and support policy and programming alternatives, engineering solutions and/or social innovations.- Produce open access research outputs that communicate key findings clearly and accessibly, mainstream critical social science approaches to energy policy that go beyond top-down, technology-driven responses to overheating in cities, inform a human-centred, bottom-up approach to cooling, and make a contribution to the theorization of cities from the South.- Translate and integrate research findings into a gender sensitive methodology for assessing and forecasting of vulnerability to heat risk in cities; a social practice based needs assessment tool for use by international, national and regional organisations working to accelerate 'access to cooling'; a digital archive, catalogue and exhibition of vernacular cooling technologies' and a programme of face to face and online courses aimed at building the capacity of planners, practitioners and designers to account for the social aspects of cooling.
Abstract Rising temperatures in cities make access to cool infrastructures a global challenge. The UN's 'Cooling for All' coalition estimates that 1.1 billion people worldwide have little or no access to cooling to protect them against extreme heat . Those defined as most at risk include 630 million people across South Asia, South East Asia and Sub Saharan Africa who live in poor quality housing on low incomes, with limited, intermittent or insecure access to electricity and few if any electrical cooling appliances. Current global and national frameworks for action on heat in global cities categorise the negative effects of heat on these urban residents as either a public health issue (i.e. leading to heat illness, dehydration and disease) or an economic issue (i.e. leading to a decline in employment, worker productivity and output). Yet this categorisation significantly limits the way that frameworks for action on heat account for socio-economic inequality and gender.In some countries, like India and Pakistan, international and national frameworks for responding to extreme heat in cities have led to urban heat action plans and public awareness raising. However, action on overheating by city planners and policy makers remains typically top-down and technology driven; frequently challenged by silo-ed agendas, unexamined assumptions about energy cultures and practices, and the vulnerabilities of the poorest groups. There have been no systematic, comparative attempts to document how people living in contexts of urban poverty manage heat or meet their needs for cool food, water and space. As a result, there is little evidence about whether current strategies are a good fit for the contexts in which they are deployed.Over 36 months, this project will put 'access to cooling' at the centre of a major new interdisciplinary and comparative study of human-infrastructure interactions in 'the off-grid city'. The projected effects of 2-4 degrees C global heating on cities make the impact of uneven grids for energy, water and transportation on cool infrastructures and practices an urgent arena for scholarship. Against this backdrop, human-centred approaches to the study of energy infrastructures have the potential to make a major contribution to action on overheating by transforming the way cooling needs and capacities are understood at the global, national and city level; by establishing cooling as social as well as technical; and by promoting sustainable interventions. Our research will take place in four cities - Hyderabad (India), Karachi (Pakistan), Yaound (Cameroon) and Jakarta (Indonesia) - enabling us to develop the first globally comparative study of cool infrastructures across the Global South. These four cities are critical global sites for research on heat and cooling. India, Pakistan and Indonesia are home to three of the nine largest low income urban populations in the world currently facing heat related risks. Cameroon ishome to two of the twelve fastest growing urban populations facing heat related risks in Sub Saharan Africa. In each location, post-colonial patterns of urban growth, increasing population density, and pressures on infrastructures for water and energy are compounding the effect of 'urban heat islands', exacerbating the risks from heat for marginalised people, especially women, and shaping the specific context in which people negotiate access to cooling. Comparative research will allow us to bring these practices into relief, whilst building new South-South partnerships between cities (like Karachi and Hyderabad) in which extreme heat is attracting urgent attention in the present and cities (like Jakarta, Yaound ) in which action on extreme heat is being deferred into the future
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 10/02/21