SSP Seminar Series: Researching Inequalities Network Workshop Two: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Researching Inequality: Barriers and Opportunities

Dr Lucie Middlemiss will discuss the the challenges and opportunities of her recent work into energy poverty, whilst Prof Karen Lucas will discuss transport inequalities in Global South Cities.

Theorising vulnerability using interdisciplinary data on energy poverty: challenges and opportunities

Dr Lucie Middlemiss, School of Earth and Environment 

Abstract: In recent years I have led a team of 10 social scientists working on energy poverty in two projects which use secondary qualitative data analysis to better understand the experience of energy poverty in the UK. The team is constituted of primary researchers with considerable collective experience of researching energy poverty, and experts in secondary data analysis. Primary data collectors come from a variety of social science disciplines, including health studies, social policy, sociology, environmental social science, and transport studies. This also means that primary data was collected with a number of different objectives and theoretical frameworks in mind. My contribution to the workshop would be to discuss the challenges and opportunities that this work has presented. This has mainly been a very positive experience, perhaps due to the open approach my colleagues have taken to working across disciplines. We have used our common empirical experiences, and our theoretical interests to bring our work together, producing work that I would argue constitutes more than the sum of its parts.

Developing interdisciplinary research into practice for the resolution of transport inequalities in Global South Cities

Professor Karen Lucas, Institute for Transport Studies

Abstract: The presentation describes the networking activities and key findings of a GCRF sponsored project, which purposefully draws together academics, policymakers and practitioners to transcend the hitherto ‘siloed’ transport planning and development studies domains. The INTALInC (International Network for Transport and Accessibility in Low Income Communities) project seeks to promote ‘research into practice’ to highlights the transport and mobility needs of urban poor and socially vulnerable populations in Global South cities and to identify more effective solutions for meeting their travel needs.  The eight deliberative workshops that formed the backbone of the research process have identified that women, children, older people and people with disabilities are the most severely affected by transport poverty. Overwhelmingly, the urban poor rely on walking as their main mode of transport, often travelling long distances to get from the peripheral urban slums where they live to their employment and other activities in the city centre. Badly designed transport infrastructures combined with high-levels of largely unregulated traffic expose them to numerous safety and health risks.  Their restricted accessibility to job, markets, education, healthcare and other welfare activities severely reduces their livelihoods and life chances. These wider social consequences of inequitable and unsustainable transport systems in Global South cities have been largely ignored by transport planners and social policy professional alike.

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