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Keynes Fund


Summary of Project Plan

Slum rehabilitation housing developments (SRHs) are transitional urban spaces designed to alleviate poverty and tackle the problem of urban slums.

These affordable housing developments designed for the low-income population are an expanding form of building stock in rapidly urbanising cities experiencing high-density rural-urban migration, such as Mumbai, Rio de Janeiro, Nairobi, Lahore, Jakarta and Addis Ababa. A persistent problem in the SRH is energy poverty. For example, a recent study has shown that SRH occupants in Mumbai pay up to 40% of their monthly income towards electricity. This project concerns energy justice and its distributive outcomes for those on low incomes.


Figure 1.


The policy implications of the intersection of energy, health and housing inequality have not been explored so this project aims to address this significant research gap with regard to distributive energy justice. The rise of energy poverty traps in the SRH represents an institutional inefficiency in these ‘affordable for all’ programs requiring interdisciplinary investigation. This research will investigate what causes electricity affordability challenges for people living in the SRH with reference to the economic incentives facing the housing developers. The methodology will include primary data collection on energy expenditure by households in the Mumbai SRH and its analysis using data fusion approaches combining econometric modelling with state-of-the-art data science techniques. It will enable a better understanding of the SRH model and how incentive systems, and mechanisms can be designed to prevent energy poverty traps emerging in future low-income housing developments.



Dr Kamiar Mohaddes, Prof Diane Coyle, Ronita Bardhan and Ramit Debnath


Dr Kamiar Mohaddes is an economist at the Cambridge Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow in Economics at King's College, Cambridge. His main areas of research are applied macroeconomics, global and national macroeconometric modelling, energy economics, and climate change.


Professor Diane Coyle is the Bennett Professor of Public Policy at the University of Cambridge and co-directs the Bennett Institute where she heads research under the themes of progress and productivity.


Dr Ronita Bardhan is an architectural engineer and urban studies educator, with a PhD in urban engineering. She is University Lecturer (Assistant Professor) of Sustainability in the Built Environment and Director of the MPhil in Architecture and Urban Studies.


Dr Ramit Debnath is a computational social scientist and Gates Scholar based at the University of Cambridge as well as a research associate at the Centre for Natural Materials Innovation and the Energy Policy Research Group at Cambridge. His main research areas are social data science, natural language processing, energy and climate justice, and social dimensions of digitalisation.


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