ICTA-UAB researcher Gara Villalba receives an ERC Consolidator Grant

The European Research Council (ERC) announced the recipients of its Consolidator Grant competition: 291 top scientists across Europe.

The ICTA-UAB awarded an Erasmus+ for running a project on higher education and research in Biosphere Reserves

For the first time since its founding, the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) has been awarded approximately 1 million euros by the European Commission through the Erasmus+ funding scheme.

ICTA-UAB contributes to bridging science and society in the 100xCiencia.3

ICTA-UAB took part in the 100xCiencia.3 “Bringing Science and Society”, the annual event of the SOMMa Alliance held on November 15th at the CNIO in Madrid.

Citizens prefer landscapes that combine nature with built infrastructure

A pioneering study analyses the photographs shared by citizens in social networks to evaluate the aesthetic consideration of natural landscapes.

Co-managed small-scale fisheries lead to social and ecological improvements

The co-management model of small groups of fishermen contributes to a greater abundance and habitats of species.

ICTA-UAB to design participative and concurred forest fire prevention strategies for the Montseny region

Scientists from the Institute for Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) aim to design prevention strategies for forest fires occurring in the Montseny Biosphere Reserve through a citizen participation process.

Nace El Observatorio del Besòs: un proyecto de seguimiento de la calidad de los sistemas fluviales de la cuenca

La Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) a través del Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA-UAB), y el Consorci Besòs Tordera evaluarán el estado de calidad a largo plazo de la cuenca del Besòs gracias a la creación de la Observatorio del Besòs.

Shift in large-scale Atlantic circulation causes lower-oxygen water to invade Canada's Gulf of St. Lawrence

The Gulf of St. Lawrence has warmed and lost oxygen faster than almost anywhere else in the global oceans.

Climate Change Modifies the Composition of Reefs

Corals devastated by climate change are being replaced naturally by other species such as gorgonians, which are less efficient in acting as a carbon sink.

ICTA-UAB launches the first master’s Degree in “Political Ecology. Degrowth and Environmental Justice”

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA-UAB) launches the master’s Degree in “Political Ecology.

Pioneering study analyses the effects of forests on human health

A group of volunteers have participated in an experimental study conducted by the ICTA-UAB to analyse the potential health benefits of forests.

Marine Litter on Mediterranean Beaches Triples in Summer

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) analyses and quantifies the waste generated by tourists in eight islands of the Mediterranean as part of the European BLUEISLANDS project.

Mapping the Urban Vitality of Barcelona

Researchers at the UAB have mapped Barcelona and and 9 surrounding towns using a new methodology based on urbanism activist Jane Jacobs' ideas on how cities should be configured to become vital spaces: 25% of the area is classified as having high vitality.

Agricultural intensification not a “blueprint” for sustainable development

Social and ecological results of increased agricultural intensification are not as positive as expected.

Green urban planning must consider social equity criteria

Cities that do not include social equity criteria into their political strategies to make their urban environment greener and more ecological will not achieve long-term sustainability and risk creating green enclaves only for the social elite.

The ICTA-UAB alerts of a new invasive Asian beetle pest in Catalonia that kills mulberry trees

A study by researcher of the ICTA-UAB and the Department of Agriculture Víctor Sarto i Monteys has identified in the province of Barcelona the presence of a species from Asia that could spread through Europe.

More than 120 ICTA-UAB researchers addressed environmental challenges at a symposium, especially those arising from global and...

The Institut of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) organized its 1st Spring Symposium with the aim of addressing some of the main environmental and sustainability challenges.

Low-carbon energy transition requires more renewables than previously thought

A new study by ICTA-UAB analyzes the impacts on lifestyles of substituting fossil fuels for cleaner energies.

Climate Change Threatens World's Largest Seagrass Carbon Stores

Shark Bay seagrass carbon storage hotspot suffers alarming losses after a devastating marine heat wave, according to a study led by ICTA-UAB researchers.

Amazon's indigenous people hunt animals feeding in areas contaminated by oil spills

A study by the ICTA-UAB and the UAB Department of Animal Health and Anatomy demonstrates that the main species hunted by the indigenous popoulations of the Peruvian Amazon ingest water and soil contaminated with hidrocarbons and heavy metals.

The new Planttes app warns of allergy risks in different urban areas

The Planttes application is a citizen science project which aims to encourage people to identify and locate on a map the existence of allergy-causing plants and indicate their phenological state.

ICTA-UAB’s success: five ERC grants in two years

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) has been awarded five European Research Council (ERC) grants in two years, which is about ten per cent of all ERC grants arriving in Catalonia over the period from the end of 2015 to the end of 2017.

New ICTA-UAB 'Welcome Guide'

The new ICTA-UAB 'Welcome Guide' it is at your disposal now. With this document, we aim to help you discover the basics of the PhD programme, ICTA-UAB’s structure, etc.
News
Green urban planning must consider social equity criteria

Date: 2018-06-01

Green Urban Planning

Cities that do not include social equity criteria into their political strategies to make their urban environment greener and more ecological will not achieve long-term sustainability and risk creating green enclaves only for the social elite. This is the result of a study carried out by a group of researchers from the Institute of Science and Environmental Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB), led by urban planning researchers Isabelle Anguelovski and James Connolly, which analyses the trajectory of greening policies in the past three decades, in 99 cities of the world.

In recent years, public institutions have promoted greening initiatives in cities, recovering and creating green spaces and infrastructures with the aim of making them more liveable, more socially cohesive and healthier. However, researchers are now asking who can truly benefit from and enjoy these green spaces. The approval of the New Urban Agenda at the 2016 Habitat III conference in Quito, Ecuador, will make this greening trend to continue to intensify and diversify in the upcoming years. Therefore, researchers deem it necessary to analyse its social impact in a broad and systematic manner, especially among the most disadvantaged groups, so that these new environmental goods do not become green privileges for only a few.

These results, which are collected in the book Green Trajectories: Municipal policy trends and strategies for greening in Europe, Canada and the United States (1990-2016), published recently by the Barcelona Lab for Environmental Justice and Sustainability (BCNUEJ) in collaboration with the network of cities ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, is one of the first products of a larger international European Research Council (ERC)-funded study called GreenLULUs that seeks to determine the extent to which green cities in Europe, Canada, and the US are also racially and socially equitable. According to James Connolly, "as the green wave floods the cities, this book aims to take a step back and take stock of the effects".

The analysis indicates that the majority of the selected cities, all of them from Europe, Canada and the US, carried out ecological actions with the purpose of improving the physical and mental health of their inhabitants, revitalizing neighbourhoods and city centres, redeveloping post-industrial landscapes, minimizing the possible impacts of climate change, preserving nature and restoring their ecosystems. These actions consisted in the construction and rehabilitation of green areas, parks and ecological corridors, and the creation of permeable pavements or rain gardens. However, the study reveals that this "greening" of cities is deeply intertwined with their economic development, and many municipalities establish a direct relationship between their green performance and their capacity to compete for new investments and local development resources.
"For many cities, this green urban strategy is necessary to differentiate themselves from other cities and helps them attract, among other assets, highly qualified service-industry workers for the new economic sectors they are hoping to promote," says Isabelle Anguelovski. This finding shows how greening is commodified in today’s municipal practice. Cities that show off their green "brand" and boast the most more about their greening achievements also tend to be the most unaffordable ones, especially for the most vulnerable groups.

There is also a process of "green gentrification" that takes place when lower-middle and lower class neighbourhood residents are displaced by new residents with higher purchasing power who arrive to these areas attracted by the proximity of new parks, gardens and more attractive housing options. As a result, rental and housing prices substantially increase so that low-income residents cannot cope with the prices and must move to less attractive neighbourhoods with a lower quality of life. This is happening in cities such as San Francisco, Zurich or Boston.

However, when cities, such as Nantes, place equity and affordability at the centre of urban green policies, the relationship between urban green branding and unaffordability disappears. Therefore, the authors of the book emphasize that it is necessary to account for equity, displacement and exclusion concerns over the long term and take seriously issues such as green gentrification when planning and designing future green cities. “By focusing on bolstering these strategies, the benefits of the urban green amenities can become universal rather than privileges for selected groups”, concludes Anguelovski.

The study analyses cities such as Barcelona and Valencia and emphasizes the efforts of these two cities to improve access to green areas, especially to green public spaces, to new proximity gardens, and to large urban parks in the historically more marginalized and industrial areas. "These efforts were combined with other major urban revitalization projects and the development of new infrastructures, especially in the 1990s and 2000s," says Anguelovski, adding that more recently, efforts have been noted to integrate urban green into the objectives of climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Access to the book here: http://www.bcnuej.org/projects/green-trajectories/

ICTA's Activities