| 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. It will work on three main fronts:
  • It will trace the networks that constitute the energy system to reveal the power relations that regulate the access to energy for cooking, lighting, and household appliances and identify injustices that need to be addressed as much as positive relations that could be supported.
  • It will seek to better understand the key nodes within an energy network and, by analysing energy practices within these nodes, it will identify the risks produced, the current coping mechanisms and devise a training that enhances the capacity to reduce these risks, promote more sustainable and efficient energy sources and spatial configurations.
  • It will capture inhabitants’ experiences of energy challenges. It will focus particularly on the COVID pandemic, as it provides a scenario where the intensity of energy needs is acute and can inform future planning.


WP2 takes a longitudinal approach, tracing the trajectory of human settlements with regards to the evolution of housing and energy practices to inform actions towards energy justice and dignified housing that address safety, comfort and enhance the capabilities of inhabitants. We will use various participatory research methods, such as focus groups, in-depth interviews, participatory mapping, to gather grounded data from the inhabitants of the human settlements. In WP2, we will also train community members to become energy assessors learning from the Energy Assessors’ Training conducted by Mahila Housing Sewa Trust, Ahmedabad. The purpose of training energy assessors from the human settlements in Ahmedabad and Lima is to build community’s capacities to tackle energy related concerns and to foster South-South dialogue. The main research question we seek to answer are:
  • How have the energy practices (around cooking, lighting and other household appliances) evolved over time and how do these link to housing processes and capabilities of inhabitants?
  • Who are the actors (human and non-human) that constitute the energy networks within human settlements, and what is their role in households’ access (collective or individual) to energy for cooking, lighting and other household appliances?
  • What are the risks faced within the energy network nodes and what capacities to tackle them currently exist?

WP2 Team

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.