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Urbanising Passive Climatisation Theory. A Cross-cultural Approach to the Urban Passive House



Roesler S.


Epiney L.


Ghodbane D.



The weak point of today's theory of passive climate control is its focus on individual buildings and self-sufficiency which should be overcome by focusing on interdependence and synergy effects on an urban scale. In this research project, the "passive house" is to be rethought as an "urban passive house" and conceptualized as part of the "political ecology" of the city. The project's investigation is at the intersection of architecture, ethnography, and science and technology studies. It examines the complex relationship between the climate and the city.

The future conception of the urban passive house relies on coordinated "combinations" between the different "agents" of passive climate control. Therefore at the very centre of this project is the investigation of meaningful "associations" (Bruno Latour) of spatial structures, sociocultural practices, and political regulations. The control of climate is conceived as a practice fundamentally influenced by culture and politics.

The two PhD projects will provide important empirical insights for theorizing the urban passive house. The doctoral researchers investigate the thermal conditions of an urban neighborhood in the global South (Cairo, Santiago de Chile) and exploring modernization strategies that foster passive climate control in the district. With the underlying rationale of the city as a political ecology, the projects shall combine bioclimatic urban research with microscale investigations on the use of "common-pool resources" (Elinor Ostrom), on local thermal practices, and on the political regulations of climate control.

Additional information

Start date
End date
48 Months
Funding sources
Swiss National Science Foundation / SNSF Professorships