Improving health, wellbeing and equality by evidence-based urban policies for tackling energy poverty

WHAT: WELLBASED is a European project funded under the HORIZON 2020 programme of the European Commission. The diverse team will design, implement and evaluate a comprehensive urban programme to significantly reduce energy poverty and its effects on the citizens health and wellbeing, built on evidence-based approaches in six pilot cities that represent not only different urban realities but also a diverse range of welfare and healthcare models.

WHY: Energy poverty is becoming a main challenge of the European welfare systems and beyond, abounding on the inequalities derived from living conditions and social determinants, with a direct and negative impact on health and wellbeing, mainly in urban contexts. Health problems attributable to energy poverty include respiratory diseases, heart attacks, stroke and mental disorders (stress, anxiety, depression), but also acute health issues, such as hypothermia, injuries or influenza. The complex nature of this recently identified phenomenon requires a comprehensive analysis of the problem and its solution from a multidimensional approach, which should involve environmental, political, social, regulatory and psychological issues, thus involving other Social Determinants of Health and health inequalities. Urban policies and initiatives might respond very efficiently to energy poverty and their effects on the citizens wellbeing and health, by providing evidence-based interventions covering different angles of the challenges, including complementary actions covering individual (behavioural) but also social-political actions (regulations, urban planning) that include health in all policies.

HOW: Based on the socioecological model, we test intervention schemes addressing energy poverty in 6 different pilot cities in Europe: Valencia (Spain), Heerlen (The Netherlands), Leeds (UK), Edirne (Turkey), Obuda (Hungary) and Jelgava (Latvia). The city of Skopje (North Macedonia) joins the pilots as an observer.



WHAT FOR: policy-makers will get evidence for impactful policies reducing energy poverty and ill-health at once


The project’s multidisciplinary consortium is made up of 19 partners from 10 countries.