Open House for Overheating: A Case Study of Overheating Policy Synergies in London

University essay from Lunds universitet/Internationella miljöinstitutet

Abstract: Overheating in buildings is a growing public health hazard becoming more prevalent with climate change. The research aimed to analyse how interactions between jurisdictional scales, urban stakeholders and policies promoting synergies affect adaptation processes in cities using overheating policies in London as an example. Understanding how these interactions affect policy implementation can ensure that cities are not promoting ineffective policies. To achieve this aim, a case study of London’s two overheating policies was conducted using a multilevel governance framework encompassing scale analysis and the adaption-mitigation dichotomy. First, a descriptive literature review was conducted to understand where synergies in buildings occur. A review of policy documents was then undertaken to establish the political framework London’s policies operate in and how national and intergovernmental policies create synergies, trade-offs and conflicts with the London policies. Interviews with municipal stakeholders, building professionals and advisory groups were used to confirm interactions with the policy documents, as well as identified barriers and future drivers to policy implementation. The policy document analysis showed that national and intergovernmental support for overheating was lacking which had the effect of weakening London’s enforcement capabilities for its local overheating policies. Multiple barriers were found relating to challenges of overheating being pushed into the future to address and stakeholders’ inability to prioritize the issue given specific circumstances within their operating domain. Future drivers to improve implementation of London’s policies related to preventing overheating from being seen as a future problem and incentivizing individuals to act sooner through more regulations, alternative financing mechanisms, and more. The thesis makes three unique theoretical contributions. While the adaptation-mitigation dichotomy can be used to explain barriers and drivers to integrated policies, overheating presents two unique challenges: i) overheating provides a significant adaptation challenge because of the perceived non-critical nature of the issue to the general public and apparent lack of immediate benefits; ii) large cities with devolved enforcement powers will face many of the same challenges as higher levels of governance. Finally, including informal institutions when conducting scale analyses is necessary so that these institutions can be mitigated with precautionary measures and tools. Policy recommendations are provided for London and other cities.

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