Why do environmentalists eat meat?

A study by researchers at the ICTA-UAB analyses the reasons why environmentally-minded scientists find it difficult to give up meat consumption, one of the world's greatest environmental problems.

La gestión del verde urbano permite incrementar la presencia de pájaros en las ciudades

Incrementar la biodiversidad del verde urbano permitiría aumentar la presencia de aves paseriformes en las ciudades mediterráneas, según un estudio científico realizado por investigadores del Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología Ambientales de la Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) que analiza qué estrategias hay que implementar sobre la vegetación urbana para conseguir "naturalizar" las ciudades favoreciendo la entrada de flora y fauna.

The Ebro River annually dumps 2.2 billion microplastics into the sea

An ICTA-UAB study analyses the distribution and accumulation of microplastics from one of the main rivers of the western Mediterranean.

European project to support rooftop greenhouses projects

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) is launching an open call to support rooftop greenhouse projects, in the framework of GROOF Project.

El ICTA-UAB participa en el proyecto que habilitará 10 escuelas de Barcelona como refugios climáticos

El Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología Ambientales de la Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) es una de las instituciones impulsoras de un proyecto que habilitará 10 escuelas de Barcelona como refugios climáticos para disminuir el impacto de las altas temperaturas del verano.

A warmer ocean will lead to 17% reduction in global marine animal biomass, by the end of the century

Climate change will affect the distribution and abundance of marine life, but the full extent of these changes under future warming has been difficult to predict due to the limitations of individual ecosystem models used for such forecasts.

New study dismisses green growth policies as a route out of ecological emergency

Researchers from ICTA-UAB and the Goldsmiths University of London suggest that emissions reduction is only compatible with a lower economical degrowth or a degrowth scenario.

New cross-boundary approach for addressing wicked weed problems

Weed species continue to spread and management costs continue to mount, in spite of best management practices and efforts by research and extension personnel who promote them to land managers.

Urban green spaces do not benefit the health of all

In general, the creation of parks and green spaces in urban centers has positive effects on the health of city residents.

ICTA-UAB researcher Antoni Rosell-Melé receives an ERC Advanced Grant

ICTA-UAB researcher Antoni Rosell-Melé has been awarded an Advanced Grant (AdvGr) from the European Research Council (ERC) to develop the project "New geochemical approach to reconstruct tropical palaeo-atmospheric dynamics" (PALADYN).

Urban Agriculture on Rooftops Provides Healthy, Fresh and Sustainable Food

​The implementation of urban gardens on building rooftops could produce fresh, healthy and sustainable agricultural food and guarantee the food sovereignty of cities, which are becoming increasingly populated.

Indigenous knowledge, key to a successful ecosystem restoration

Ecological restoration projects actively involving indigenous peoples and local communities are more successful. This is the result of a study carried out by the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB).

Future changes in human well-being more likely to depend on Social Factors than Economic Factors

The changes in the perception of personal well-being that could take place in the next three decades, on a global level, depend much more on social factors than on economic ones.

Success at ICTA-UAB: Six ERC Grants In Three Years

The Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) has been awarded six European Research Council (ERC) grants in three years, from the end of 2015 to the end of 2018. Each project (of between 1.5 and 2 million euros) lasts for five years and allows the recruitment of a team of six or seven doctoral students and postdocs.
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/

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