| GEMDev |
| Grounded Energy Modelling for Equitable Urban Development in the Global South |

GEMDev aims to contribute to inclusive decision making towards dignified housing and habitat by developing tools that can inform better energy planning. Communities which are off the grid of affordable, reliable and safe forms of energy services have limited or precarious access to energy services. This has particularly profound effects on health and economic opportunities.

Focusing on the nexus between energy, comfort and housing, the project takes the case of Lima and Ahmedabad to better understand the access and use of energy in the day-to-day lives of inhabitants and how these practices change over time through different policies and processes related to low-income housing, such as consolidation, eviction, upgrading and relocation.

| About GEMDev |
The Challenge
Access to affordable and reliable modern forms of energy services is essential to reduce poverty and promote economic growth, especially in the global South. Lack of knowledge about energy practices, needs and aspirations of the urban poor often leads to their exclusion from urban planning processes. This raises some important questions, including:
  • What are the energy practices in communities that are ‘off grid’ and how do these relate to housing?
  • How can these be represented in planning processes and tools?
  • How can the capacities of the communities be strengthened to tackle energy-related risks, and their voices be included in decision making processes?
These questions guide our motivation in the project GEMDev.
Our Aim
The project aims to investigate the nexus between energy access, comfort, and housing, embedded within the existing governance structures in Lima (Perú) and Ahmedabad (India). By co-producing knowledge with inhabitants about energy practices, this project seeks to inform Urban Building Energy Models (UBEMs), that are increasingly being used for development planning in the global South. Through fostering meaningful exchange between different actors and forms of knowledge, GEMDev aims to inform policy and actions for sustainable and equitable futures.
GEMDev will combine qualitative and quantitative research methods. The project will develop UBEMs to model 2-3 ‘off grid’ human settlements in Lima and Ahmedabad, representing occupancy patterns, energy use and comfort. UBEMs will be informed by data sets co-created with inhabitants using participatory research methods. Through expert interviews it will also investigate the policy frameworks that govern energy and housing in the two cities. The project also seeks to support South-South cooperation and knowledge sharing to build and foster equitable partnerships.
This video was produced for educational purposes only and frames the challenges GEMDev seeks to address. To acknowledge this video please cite Lambert, R., Mohamed, M., Fennel, P. (2021) Towards Sustainable Energy Futures and Dignified Housing, GEMDev research project, University College London.
GEMDev Ahmedabad Launch

For question and answers please see:

| Cities |

| Ahmedabad

Ahmedabad is the seventh largest city in India and has a population of 5.6 million. The climate with very hot summers, and maximum temperatures of 41.3°C, result in acute health concerns for those living in poor-quality accommodation and making thermal comfort a key priority for residents. Although many settlements emerge through the efforts of inhabitants, unlike Lima, the state and developers are playing a greater role in their redevelopment. The shift in morphology from sprawling low-rise slums to purpose-built apartment blocks has meant changes in the use of space and energy practices.

| Lima

Lima, Peru’s capital city, is the second driest metropolis in the world. Since 1980, the population of metropolitan Lima has doubled, from 4.8 to an estimated 9 million. In the absence of affordable housing policies, the city continues to grow expanding outwards, beyond its metropolitan boundaries. The vacuum in effective management, the lack of a robust diagnosis, and the exclusion of inhabitants from participating in decision making processes to redevelop the area, limit the scope of urban renovation projects and programmes.
| Work Packages |

| WP1:
Governance and Planning
WP1 will analyse the governance and planning processes that have underpinned access to housing and space in Lima and Ahmedabad over time.

| WP2:
Energy Practices and Transition
WP2 seeks to better understand the existing energy system and how it is related to inhabitants’ access to energy, comfort in the home and safety.

| WP3:
Models and Tools
WP3 will address the invisibility of informal settlements in existing urban building energy models.

| WP4:
Actionable Futures
WP4 will explore how the knowledge produced through the work packages 1–3 can inform actionable strategies for future redevelopment to ensure dignified housing and habitat for all.
| The Team |
The project team is comprised of practitioners and academics from a wide range of disciplinary and cultural backgrounds.
Paul is an architect and sustainable energy specialist with 25 years’ experience in industry and 15 years in academia. Paul is Professor of Energy and Building Performance at the UCL Energy Institute, where he is also Deputy Director and leader of the Building Stock Lab. He is also vice-chair of the International Energy Agency’s Energy in Buildings and Communities programme. Paul has conducted research and provide consultancy support to public and private sector organisations in the UK and internationally. His main areas of interest are the ‘Performance Gap’ between expectations and predictions of building energy and environmental performance and the reality experienced by building owners and occupiers; and the energy and environmental performance of the existing building stock at the urban and national scale.
Arjun is a Research Associate at Centre for Advanced Research Building Science and Energy (CARBSE) CEPT University. He is a civil engineer by trade and holds specialisation in Building Energy Performance. His major area of focus is improving the Energy Efficiency in built environment through research and their application. He holds experience and expertise in Building energy modelling, building physics, data analysis, research, tool development, python programming, machine learning, image processing using deep learning, etc.
Carlos Escalante Estrada is an urban architect with more than 30 years of professional experience in the field of urban planning and popular habitat. He has been a Consultant of the National Institute of Urban Development in Urban Planning, Productive Habitat and Development of Urban Environmental Capacities. Associate member of CENCA and Chairman of its Board of Directors of Coordinator of the Campaign for the Right to a Decent Housing for all of November, member of the Regional Action Committee of global campaigns promoted by the United Nations Habitat Agency, member from the AGFE Mission (Group of Experts against Forced Evictions) to the Dominican Republic and Argentina. Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the Metropolitan Institute of Planning and Chairman of the Board of the Cadastral Institute of Lima of the same municipality. Co-researcher in Vulnerability and Risk projects with IDRC, IMP, CENCA, and DPU, currently participating in action research projects with DPU-PUCP KNOW project and GEMDev Grounded energy modelling of equitable urban development in the global South.
Pamela is a Senior Research Fellow in the UCL Energy Institute where her research focuses on large-scale building energy models and their application to cities in the global South and the application of uncertainty and sensitivity analysis in such large-scale models. She established and leads the uncertainty and sensitivity analysis work stream for the IEA EBC Annex 70 which is working to develop methods for improving the empirical evidence on energy demand in the building stock and is co-chair of UCL’s Energy and Development Group. She has 15 years experience of developing complex multi-stakeholder investments in public infrastructure projects in the UK.
Siraz Hirani is presently working as Senior Programme Management Specialist at Gujarat Mahila Housing Sewa Trust (MHT). He is a senior professional with 18 years of strategic & operational experience with international development organisations including 10 years at leadership positions at Global & National level. He holds M.Sc. in Disaster Mitigation, M.Sc. in Life Science & MBA with specialization in Finance. He is an Alumni of the prestigious Harvard Kennedy School with work experience in multi-cultural & challenging countries like India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Tajikistan & Myanmar. He has proven capability in strategic planning, program management, policy development, change management, fund raising, forging partnership & talent management. He brings strong analytical skills in institution and program assessment. His sectoral experience includes Disaster Risk Management, Humanitarian Aid, Habitat Development, WATSAN, Health, Livelihood & Governance.
Dominic is a Research Fellow who works with UCL Energy to develop building stock models and the interfaces to make those models accessible to wider stakeholders. He believes in the importance of making research data open and accessible to empower communities to support action to tackle climate change. Dominic has worked on the London Building Stock model and London solar opportunity map both of which are openly accessible online. Dominic is a trained architect who previously specialised in low carbon retrofit. He holds a masters in advanced spatial analysis and data visualisation from University College London.
Harshavardhan is a Research Fellow at the Bartlett Energy Institute and Development Planning Unit, University College London (UCL). He has a double degree masters in Urban Development and International Cooperation, with a specialisation in Development Economics. Harshavardhan received his doctorate in Development Planning from UCL. He is an architect and a development planner with international experience of doing research, teaching, and development practice in India, Egypt and the European South. He draws on a range of disciplines to inform development planning practice in the global South. His work particularly focuses on participatory approaches to development, land politics and socio-environmental justice. His doctoral thesis was a postcolonial examination of participatory land policy in Pune, India.
Asha Joshi is working as Administrative Manager, Centre for Advanced Studies in Building Science and Energy (CARBSE), CEPT Research and Development Foundation, Ahmedabad. She holds experience of 19 years of which five years in industry and more than seventeen years in research, academics and non-governmental sector.She holds a Doctorate in Law and has done post-graduation in Environmental Law and International Legal Order from Gujarat University and post-graduation in commerce and business administration from Saurashtra University. She has double graduation in the field of law and commerce and business administration from Saurashtra University. She ensures about the organisation’s regulatory/legal requirements for Quality Management System conforms to customer for characterisation facilities ensuring evaluation of and reporting on, vendor quality systems. She owes to her credit eight edited books and more than twenty-five conference papers, book chapters and research papers. Her areas of interest include environmental, socio-economic, enviro-legal and socio-legal aspects.
Ivan is a Research Associate in Building Physics, Modelling & Programming and is a member of the RCUK Centre for Energy Epidemiology. His current work involves the dynamic simulation modelling of the energy consumption of the non-domestic building stock of England and Wales. It also includes further development of the SimStock modelling tool which is a platform for a non-domestic building stock analysis based on automated sampling, model creation, simulation, and results processing. Ivan’s research interests are related to improving a built environment by designing energy efficient buildings and cover broad range of building and building services topics including: low-energy buildings, building heat transfer; thermal comfort; energy efficiency, optimal control and operation of HVAC systems; modelling of buildings and HVAC systems using dynamic simulation tools, etc.
Rita is an urban development planner and architect with over 19 years of international experience based at the Bartlett Development Planning Unit, UCL. Her research, postgraduate teaching and consultancy are closely linked and span across various countries (mainly Latin America and Africa). Her work focuses on socio-environmental justice, urban risk, energy justice, urban regeneration, affordable housing, mapping and participatory methodologies. She undertakes action-research, training and capacity building working closely with communities, NGOs, local and national governments, and local researchers,to co-produce strategies towards socio-environmentally just urbanisation.
Ms. Bhavana Maheriya is an Electrical Engineer by training. She has over eleven years of Energy and Community development experience. She has designed, managed and evaluated renewable / efficient energy programme for MHT. She has managed a Grid Electrification Programme in partnership with the private sector (Ahmedabad Electricity Company) which has enabled legal electrification in all poor households in Ahmedabad and has been showcased as a worldwide best practice by USAID. She has experience in a range of community energy programmes including grid electrification, renewable energy, and energy auditing and developing efficient energy entrepreneurs. She also has conducted evaluations and assessment for community energy programmes across states of India.
Palak Patel is a Research Associate at Centre for Advanced Research in Building Science and Energy (CARBSE), CEPT University. She completed her Master’s degree in urban planning with a specialisation in urban infrastructure.She holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture and hasexperience of one and a half years in the field of architecture. As a part of her post-graduation thesis, she worked on the Directed Research Project of “Assessing the building level energy consumption for the water services” as a part of the iNumber project.The project is based on the city of Ahmedabad and focused on measuring the electricity consumption for the water supply of residential typologies, further assessing it with various urban parameters. Her area of interest includes research on sustainable and climate responsive solutions.
Rajan Rawal is a CRDF Professor at CEPT University.CEPT Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) supports his teaching activities at CEPT University. He teaches energy-efficient built habitat, energy modelling, energy policy at postgraduate level. His work emphasis is on ‘energy performance of human habitat’ and ‘architectural science education’.Presently, he is Executive Director of “Centre for Advanced Studies in Building Science and Energy” (CARBSE) at CRDF. Prof Rawal led Indo-US Joint Clean Energy R & D Centre – Building Energy Efficiency Sector, and is presently leading Indo-UK project on Energy Demand Reduction and Mission Innovation challenge on heating and cooling in buildings from India side. He is a member of the International Energy Agency task 69 on low energy buildings and senior expert at Global Building Performance Network.
Silvia is an architect and urbanist with more than 30 years of professional experience. She has a masters degree in Architecture and various postgraduate diplomas. She is specialised in Integrated Cultural Heritage Management. She has undertaken research on urban housing, infrastructure and risks in collaboration with various institutions from Latin America and Europe. She is a researcher and project planner at the Centre for Research, Documentation and Demographic Advisory (CIDAP). She is a consultant and co-investigator on Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded project Knowledge in Action for Urban Equality (KNOW) and Disrupting urban “risk traps” in collaboration with Development Planning Unit (DPU), UCL. She has also worked with various civil society organisations, including Slum Dweller International (SDI), Institute of urban development (CENCA) and Foro Ciudades para la Vida (FCPLV) in varying capacities.
Pravalika is an architectural enthusiast and an urban development practitioner with experience of working in India in dignified affordable housing, urban policy and development space. She is currently working as a Development Associate at Mahila Housing trust, India under their energy and sustainable habitat development programme in urban informal settlements. She graduated from School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal as an Architect and pursued Masters in Urban Planning from CEPT University, Ahmedabad with a specialisation in Urban Housing. Her research interests and expertise include gender inclusive planning, housing affordability, energy and climate resilience and sustainable built environment.
Architect, urban planner, and environmentalist with decentralist approach, IPCC AR6 lead author, chapter 12th. Doctorand at Amsterdam University, dissertation onKnowledge building in Metropolitan Water Governance in cities facing climate change, master’s in real estate management and construction (UPM, Madrid) with several postgraduate courses abroad. Lecturer and invited master’s teacher at several Universities in Peru and abroad. Founder and Executive Director of Cities for Life Foro inter-institutional network and Coordinator of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy in Peru. Consultant of national and international organisations. Former Principal Advisor of the Environmental Commission and Indigenous Communities in the Congress of Peru.

Published 5 books, 15 peer review (mainly English) articles, 12 book chapters and writes a monthly article at a governmental journal in Peru since 2014. Being a civil society activist uses mass media, journals, and social networks regularly. She is engaged in world-wide conferences, such as the Conference of the Parties (UNFCC), UNCSD – Rio + 20 and World Urban Forum and Habitat. Ashoka Fellow and Avina Leader with several other recognitions for her trajectory and policy development impact.
Kartikay Sharma is an urban energy researcher with five years of high-level expertise in urban and building energy simulation, with detailed understanding on building and its interaction with the environment. He is a civil engineer with Master of Technology in Building Energy Performance from CEPT University. Along with urban energy modelling portfolio, he has an extensive understanding of urban data collection via utilizing UAV and sensors including LiDAR and aerial photogrammetry. He is currently contributing as lead researcher for creating a 3D city model for energy use analysis for 300 km2 Ahmedabad city.
Julia is a Lecturer in Energy, Resources and Development at the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources. Her research advances understanding of the human and political dimensions of energy and resource use in low- and middle-income countries, especially in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her work engages with research users from policy, academic and industry, and examines the practical and policy mechanisms that can advance sustainable development. She draws on a range of social science theories and methods in her research and regards her experience and outlook as truly interdisciplinary. She is a member and co-founder of the UCL Energy and Development Group and has published more than 20 papers in a range of leading peer-reviewed journals, including Nature Energy, the Lancet, and Energy Policy.
Richard is a freelance architect with a Master of Advanced Studies in Architecture and Sustainable Development at the EPFL in the LESO-PB (Switzerland), the UC Louvain-La-Neuve (Belgium) and the Ecole d’Architecture de Toulouse (France). His experience includes the development of projects, research, patents and consultancies on sustainability, architecture and urban planning. He is founder of SUNARCH E.I.R.L. company dedicated to sustainable development and solar energy projects. With 7 years of experience as a consultant for the Cities for Life Forum (FCPV) and 15 years of teaching experience in various faculties of architecture in the city of Lima, in courses such as design workshop, environment, building physics, sustainable urban development among others. He is co-author of the book “Peru towards the sustainable construction in climate change scenarios” (2015).
Marion Verdiere is a research assistant at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP) for the GEMdev project. She is a French architect focused on territorial development for improving local daily life. She has been involved for 8 years in a development project with the association Mano a Mano Perú in marginalised neighbourhoods of the northern periphery of Lima (Puente Piedra, La Ensenada). There, she has reflected alongside the inhabitants of the area on the design of public spaces in their community. She has participated in the creation of the Homogeneos project, a Peruvian initiative which works in public spaces to design the preparation of neighbourhood development plans, responding to local needs. Recently, she has also done consulting in private projects reflecting on the city of the future, using natural elements.
Martín Wieser is an Architect, with a master’s degree in “International Development” from the Polytechnic Foundation of Catalonia and a PhD in “Energy and Environment in Architecture” from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia. Principal professor at the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism of the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP) in the area of Technology. Currently, he is part of the board of directors of the Centre for Research on Architecture and the City (CIAC-PUCP). Researcher and consultant on daylighting and passive cooling and heating in buildings.
Will be available soon …
Will be available soon …

International Advisory Board

The International Advisory Board (IAB) is comprised of highly qualified and globally renowned practitioners and academics, who will provide strategic direction and oversight for the project.
Nabil is a highly qualified professional with twenty-five years of experience in securing business outcomes for infrastructure projects using technology. He now helps directors and senior managers to obtain deeper insights on emergent technologies and formulate strategies to leverage opportunities, while navigating change. He has a passion for innovation, research, and the creation of products that anticipate emerging client needs. He has demonstrated flexibility and confidence in a range of leadership contributions, whether as a trusted board member, strategic initiative leader or turnaround manager.
Harish Hande, the founder and Chief Executive of SELCO Foundation, is a renewable energy entrepreneur with over 25 years of grassroots experience in meeting the energy needs of underserved populations. He is also the founder of SELCO India – a pioneering last mile rural energy enterprise based in India since the early nineties.

SELCO sees the pressing need to develop a fertile environment to enhance sustainable energy access solutions for the poor. This energy access increases incomes, improves quality of life, and alleviates poverty, turning energy consumers into asset owners. Last mile energy solutions have clear commercial viability, and SELCO works to combine technical and non-technical aspects focused on alleviating poverty in a sustainable manner.

Today, SELCO is an umbrella of organizations, each tasked to address gaps in the energy access ecosystem. SELCO India established in 1995 runs grassroots operations which sell, install, and service decentralized energy solutions like solar lights systems for households, institutions, digital education, livelihood appliances etc. financed by local financial institutions. SELCO Foundation established in 2010 is an open-source innovation research lab for replicable social innovations across areas: livelihoods, education, and health. SELCO’s incubation program created in 2012 nurtures and catalyses aspiring clean energy enterprises that deploy and maintain sustainable solutions for underserved communities. Finally SELCO Fund registered in 2016 is an impact fund that seeks to deploy patient capital such as equity or debt to last mile energy access enterprises. SELCO operates at every level of the system and at every point in the supply chain, to build an ecosystem that increases accessibility, affordability, and appropriate renewable energy solutions for the poor. Collectively SELCO has so far impacted over 2 million people.

Harish, a graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur and a Masters and PhD from University of Massachusetts, US. In recognition of his vision and the efforts of SELCO, they have been awarded national and international awards including the reputed Zayed Future Energy Prize in 2018 and the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship – 2018. In 2011, Harish was conferred the Ramon Magsaysay Award in recognition of his vision to catalyse development outcomes via sustainable energy.
Chilean architect, specialized in human settlement programs. As President of the SELAVIP Latin American, African and Asian Popular Housing Service, she promoted and coordinated more than 500 projects for the improvement of precarious and informal settlements in some 50 countries of the global South, for more than 52,000 urban families with limited resources (1998-2014). She was Undersecretary of Housing and Urban Planning of Chile (1990 – 1994) and Executive Director of the Regional Diploma in Human Settlements, CEPAL-MINVU (2000-2003). During her academic career, she has been a visiting professor at various Chilean and foreign universities such as the Master’s Program in Human Settlements at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium (2010-2013) and today she is a postgraduate teacher at Chilean universities. He was a member of the group of experts convened by UN-HABITAT to support the preparatory process for Habitat 3 (2015). He has collaborated with international entities such as ECLAC, UN-Habitat, the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank and Slum Dwellers International, among others, in matters of her specialty, and has published some 30 documents and books.
Ruth McLeod is an urban development specialist with an international background in organisational development; project assessment, design, management, monitoring and evaluation; human settlement policy and strategy, and innovative financing for housing and settlement upgrading. She was Chief Executive of Homeless International for 19 years and has taught at DPU since 2007. Ruth has worked as an independent consultant for a range of national and multilateral agencies.
Dr. Indrika Rajapaksha is Professor in Architecture in the Department of Architecture at University of Moratuwa. She has been an academic for over 15 years, exploring the fields of Architecture and Architectural Science research in Sri Lanka. She was a Japanese Government Monbusho scholar and holds a Doctor of Engineering (PhD) degree awarded by the Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Faculty of Engineering at Nagoya University, Japan. She was a Research Associate of the Center for Sustainable Design, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, Senior Research Fellow of the Bartlett School of Built Environment, University College London, United Kingdom and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow of the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, University of Sydney, Australia.

She was awarded with several prestigious Fellowships such as the Commonwealth Academic Staff Fellowship tenable in the United Kingdom and Postdoctoral Research Fellowship of the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, University of Sydney. She was the recipient of competitive national research grants and awards for research such as research and publication award of the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects, Award of Excellence for research performance, University of Moratuwa and International Travel Funds of National Science Foundation.

She was a co-researcher of International Energy Agency (IEA) Task 28, Task 47 and IEA-EBC Annex 69, Global Challenge research fund, University of Coventry, UK and the Lead of University of Moratuwa ERASMUS, UK program of Global Disaster Resilience Center, University of Huddersfield, UK. She is an Associate Editor of the Architectural Science Review, Journal of Taylor and Francis, UK. She is a Chartered Architect with more than 20 years of professional experience as an Associate member and was a member of the Council of the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects.
| Funders |
| Partnership |