In scientific terms, an ecosystem is a geographic area where plants, animals, and other organisms, as well as weather or landscape, work together to form a bubble of life. In a wider sense, it refers to a complex network or interconnected system. Municipalities act as ecosystems themselves interconnecting citizens with services, industries, civil society, educational hubs, etc.

Getafe has a strong industrial sector that has led to exponential growth of its population in the last 60 years: from 19.224 inhabitants in 1960 to 185.589 in 2022. Around 7.000 private companies, including Airbus which employs more than 5.000 in the city, a reference university such as Universidad Carlos III and a rich civil society contribute to an active ecosystem in Getafe. 

EPIU’s project as part of an interconnected system

After two years, Energy Poverty Intelligence Unit is more than a project. It has permeated city structures and is part of the ecosystem, not only of Getafe, but also at national and EU level in the energy poverty arena.

At consortium level, academic partners UPM and UC3M have positioned EPIU in the energy poverty EU data management ecosystem contributing to the evolution of identification and knowledge of energy vulnerability in Europe. National practitioners and charities such as ACA-Asociación de Ciencias Ambientales or Red Cross Local Assembly of Getafe feed the intervention on energy poverty as they turn over to EPIU, but the learnings of the project contribute to improve general methodologies, too.

Different stakeholders also participate in EPIU. Technical collaborators such as IDAE, Comunidad de Madrid, Airbus, Ecologistas en acción or Triodos Bank are part of the Energy Poverty Technical Committee (EPTC) that is monitoring EPIU’s advancements.  As for social stakeholders, for example Murialdo and other local entities (i.e. neighborhood associations) are involved workshops and will contribute to determine the social impact of EPIU.

The relevance of the participation of stakeholders in EPIU

Last November 8th, EPIU’s Advisory Board met in Getafe. Apart from the participation of the Major of the city and consortium members, most of the stakeholders attended the session. Representatives of the national public administration such as IDAE, financial sector like Triodos, private companies with presence in Getafe such as Airbus or Ecooo and social organizations as Murialdo, actively contributed to this project event.

It may seem a formality, but it is not. Spaces as this Advisory Board meeting are essential to ensure the permeability of EPIU in different communities. Stakeholders are not directly working on the project so when sharing the updates of the advancements, members get refreshed about the status of EPIU in this case.  They are key players in the dissemination of the project in different spheres, public and private. Furthermore, their contributions enrich EPIU as they bring inputs from different realities. As an example, both consortium member UPM and Murialdo laid on the table the topic of marginalized communities and slums where projects on energy poverty such as EPIU can’t reach. Constructive criticism is always a treasure and contributes to improve initiatives and projects such as EPIU.

All innovation initiatives such as EPIU, need to caress their community, their stakeholders as they play an essential role not only in the design or implementation phase, but also beyond the boundaries of the project.

More on EPIU

The project will be running until 2023 so stay tuned to know how it is progressing on EPIU’s website

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About this resource

Marta García París, UIA expert
Getafe, Spain Small sized cities (50k > 250k)
About UIA
Urban Innovative Actions

The Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) is a European Union initiative that provided funding to urban areas across Europe to test new and unproven solutions to urban challenges. The initiative had a total ERDF budget of €372 million for 2014-2020.

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