Domestic Heat Comfort for Energy Poverty and Climate Adaptation

Yağız Eren Abanus (TR), Sinan Erensü (TR), Duygu Dağ (TR), Cemre Kara (TR), Barış Türkdoğan (TR), Meryem Uyaver (TR), Elif Bengi Güneş (TR), Oğulcan Kınalı (TR), İlknur Akgül (TR), Daniela Kızıldağ (TR), Gülnaz Yücel-Durmuş (TR), Merve Özhan (TR), İdil Besler (TR), Tuğba Uçar (TR), Mekanda Adalet Derneği (Center for Spatial Justice) (TR)

Our project is a contribution to the climate & social justice struggle to increase people’s resilience, influence public opinion through creative storytelling methods, and raise the awareness of policymakers by producing quantitative and qualitative data on the vulnerability regarding energy poverty and heat waves. In June 2023, we launched the project "Domestic Heat Comfort for Energy Poverty and Climate Adaptation" to explore the experiences of individuals and households about the heat in Istanbul, with the help of citizen science methods. As part of this research, we provided heat and humidity sensors to a community of 32 households, with a specific focus on individuals from disadvantaged groups; such as the elderly, women, and children under 14. Using this equipment, we monitored the physical conditions these households were exposed to during the summer months. Furthermore, we also conducted interviews with participants to produce qualitative data about their experiences. 

We compiled and examined this information and used it to produce datasets and a report. We also created a second community called “facilitator citizen scientists”, mostly consisting of higher education students and active citizens. We consulted this group to obtain additional support and perspectives to support our project's research design, its implementation, and the creation of interview questions. Our citizen scientists also participated in home visits and played a role in analyzing the data collected.

To gain further insights from our participating communities, we organized two capacity-building activities to facilitate community building and engage with different stakeholders about the issues surrounding increasing summer temperatures.

To also help us spread our message and increase the visibility of the issue on social media, we organized a closing event and produced two podcasts and a video detailing our key findings and the potential health issues of increasingly warmer summers.

Our project was initiated thanks to the support of IMPETUS.

IMPETUS is funded by the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement number 101058677. 

Our project also was supported within our involvement in the Urban Doers Community which is an initiative of the DUT Partnership.

Mekanda Adalet Derneği (MAD) (Center for Spatial Justice) (TR) founded in 2016, the MAD has quickly become a prominent non-profit dedicated to tackling the issues of urban and environmental justice through a rights-based approach. Emerging from the collective efforts of action researchers, the Center initially focused on post-earthquake recovery and anti-eviction efforts. Since then, it has expanded its mission to include broader environmental justice initiatives. Our goal is to foster fair and sustainable urban and ecological environments through transdisciplinary research, and advocacy bridging the gap between academia, activism, and the public.

Yağız Eren Abanus (TR) he graduated from Kadir Has University Faculty of Law. During his undergraduate studies, he volunteered in organizations such as Kadir Has University Theater Community, Good4Trust, and Green Thought Association. He continues his amateur and professional civil society and lawyering work in different organizations. He works as an expert in the Environmental Justice Program of the Center for Spatial Justice with a special focus on climate justice. The main areas of his work are climate laws, just transition, heatwaves, energy poverty, energy democracy, community building, and green economy.

Sinan Erensü (TR) he received his PhD in Sociology from the University of Minnesota. His dissertation looked at the changing relations of nature, society, state and capital in Turkey through analyzing infrastructure investments and ecological struggles in the Eastern Black Sea Region. He co-edited the book Reasons of Water: Neoliberal Politics and Struggles of Water-Energy in Turkey. His research interests include development and ethnography of energy, environmental sociology and sociology of space, and urban and rural political ecology. He is a member of the Center for Spatial Justice.

Duygu Dağ (TR) completed her undergraduate education in the Department of Visual Arts and Visual Communication Design at Sabancı University. For many years, she worked in the architecture and media sectors. She is a volunteer at Team Conscience (Vicdan Takımı), a group that aims at children’s and young people’s empowerment through sports. She works at the Center for Spatial Justice.

Cemre Kara (TR) graduated from Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University Urban Planning Program. She joined MAD as an intern in 2018 and continued to work at the Environmental Justice Program since then. She aims to integrate her hopes relating to spatial justice into her life.


Barış Türkdoğan (TR) is a fourth-year student at Boğaziçi University, where they pursue a double major in Economics and Sociology. During their undergraduate studies, Barış has worked as a research assistant at the university’s Sociology Data Lab and has volunteered in various organizations as Boğaziçi University Social Services Club (BUSOS), Boğaziçi TV, and Vote and Beyond (Oy ve Otesi). Their main research interests include political economy/sociology, urban sociology, and the sociology of culture.

Meryem Uyaver (TR) is a senior student at Bogazici University,  pursuing a double major degree in sociology and history. She is a member of the Sociology Data Lab in her school, where she has been working on family forms and fertility in Turkey from a quantitative perspective. Nonetheless, her interests also expand to heritage studies and urban sociology, with a focus on gender and identity. Meryem took part in various volunteering organizations, including Bogazici University Social Services Club, where she had the opportunity to conduct ateliers with children from diverse backgrounds.

Elif Bengi Güneş (TR) after graduating from Middle East Technical University's Department of City and Regional Planning in 2020, she earned her Master's degree there in 2023 with a thesis on the climate vulnerabilities of Syrian migrants in Istanbul. Since 2020, she has worked as a research assistant at Gebze Technical University, focusing on low-carbon urbanization, fair climate and energy policies, urban political ecology, and sustainable urban transformation to promote inclusive and fair solutions for all and sustainable solutions for nature.

Oğulcan Kınalı (TR) graduated from the civil engineering department in 2012. He worked in zoning and urban planning directorates in various municipalities. He is currently working in the zoning and urbanization directorate of Bakırkoy Municipality. He is also a member of the Chamber of Civil Engineers and has served on various commissions there. He is passionate about conducting research and studies in urban sociology and urban justice.

Tuğba Uçar (TR) was born in 1996 in Istanbul. She graduated from the department of Sociology at Middle East Technical University. Tuğba has volunteered for Tarlabaşı Community Center which engages in right based activities. Currently, she is a volunteer at the Center for Spatial Justice. Since 2021, Tuğba has been working at Postane, an urban center for impact-driven work and joint cultural production based in Galata, Istanbul.

İlknur Akgül (TR) graduated from Ankara University's Sinology Department, she began her journalism career at Sabah Magazine Group. She has written books and held roles such as media coordinator in the publishing industry. Since 2017, she has been working freelance as a copywriter and content producer. She has enhanced her skills through workshops in scriptwriting, poetry, text analysis, and social media management. Previously, she was Co-Spokesperson for the Green Left Party in Şişli. She volunteers for initiatives like the Climate Justice Coalition, and Disaster Solidarity Volunteers.

Daniela Kızıldağ (TR) is a master’s student of sociology at Boğaziçi University, where she holds her bachelor's in philosophy and sociology. Her research interests include environmental sociology, climate change, and human-animal relations. She is a member of the Polen Ecology Collective.

Gülnaz Yücel-Durmuş (TR) in 2020, she graduated from Istanbul University, Department of Political Science and International Relations and completed his master's degree in International Relations at the National Defence University with a thesis titled "Environmental Security and Climate Change Related Migrations: Afghanistan". In 2023, she started her master's at Boğaziçi University Institute of Environmental Sciences. She has worked as a researcher and project coordinator in non-governmental organizations. She is academically interested in the Taliban-US peace process, climate change, and environmental security.

Merve Özhan (TR) is an educator, architect, and urban designer focused on mobility. At Arkki Türkiye and Bilgi University, she mentors students in architectural excellence and computational design. As the founder of InkluTech Design Studio, she leads sustainable product initiatives, combining diverse design techniques. Her research at C-MUS covers air travel management and urban dynamics, with a thesis on Istanbul's New Airport. She also bridges academia and municipalities, promoting participatory research and urban engagement.

İdil Besler (TR) is a Marketing Analytics Executive with a background in consultancy and e-commerce field in one of the biggest q-commerce companies in the world. Strong analytical mindset and communication skills with expertise in leveraging data insights to drive strategic marketing decisions and enhance business growth. She is also passionate about raising awareness using data visualization, she volunteered to visualize femicides in Turkey for the UN Women’s #OrangeTheWorld campaign.

This project focuses on addressing energy poverty and extreme heat vulnerability through a participatory research framework. By engaging citizens from diverse backgrounds in Istanbul, the initiative aims to quantify disparities in domestic heat comfort and resilience to extreme heat events in Istanbul. Through the deployment of heat and humidity sensors in households and qualitative interviews, the project generates valuable data to influence public opinion and inform policymakers. The project's most significant impact lies in its innovative approach to tackling climate and social justice issues. By addressing these questions, the initiative contributes to climate justice advocacy and informs policy discussions on climate adaptation and urban resilience.