The main issue I would like to explore is how can technology be used to reduce fuel poverty in the city.
1. What: What I hope to achieve by exploring this issue is how sensor technology can be used to monitor the energy usage of a home and understand the socio-economic impact that energy usage has on the poorest members of society. I would like to explore the impact of crowd funding and wealth redistribution on the worst off communities. By exploring this I would like to learn how widespread communication technologies, coupled with sensor technologies can be used to understand energy consumption and how to connect vulnerable members of society with those who are better off.
2. Why: I have been drawn to this issue as it is extremely prevalent in the city I was born and raised, Glasgow. Our city has some of the highest rates of fuel poverty in the UK and I would like to explore how best to tackle this issue. I am also a key member of The Future Cities Demonstrator, an initiative funding by the Technology Strategy Board in the UK with a budget of £24 million. The aim of the project is to explore how cities of the future might better serve their citizens. From a more personal stand point, I am very passionate that society as a whole should ensure that the basic building blocks are in place to allow any individual to better themselves and build a better future for them and their family. I believe to do this we should increase the standard of education and provide a minimum living standard through which people can flourish.
3. Where: This project is in Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom.
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4. Who: There are thousands of homes within Glasgow that are suffering from fuel poverty. There are also other important stakeholders including, energy companies, local government officials and academics who specialise in the area of energy consumption that I feel it would be important to engage with.
Requirements: I will look to use both qualitative and quantitative methods to understand the issue. By reaching out to homes that find themselves in fuel poverty in Glasgow through face-to-face interviews, I aim to identify the challenges faced. I will use well established techniques such as grounded theory to code the interviews and extract key points from the qualitative analysis.
There are also numerous quantitative data sets available that can be drawn from. These include energy consumption for many civic buildings and numerous house holds that will help identify what the sensor technology might bring to the solution
Design: I will also look to build a small prototype to start to engage with citizens to elaborate on the initial requirements and try and refine them toward a more complete solution.
6. Final Product: Based on my findings my aim is to produce a set of guidelines that will establish the challenges in solving fuel poverty in a written report with detailed analysis. I will also look to provide an example design that will build on these guidelines toward an initial prototype solution that could be the basis of a solution for this problem.
7. I will be working on this project by myself. However, I want to note that I have many colleagues who I will be sharing ideas with to create a better overall outcome to the project.