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
Citizens prefer landscapes that combine nature with built infrastructure

Date: 2018-11-12

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

In the province of Barcelona, the preferred images are those taken in urban and periurban environments that integrate green spaces with grey infrastructure.

 

Citizens prefer to enjoy natural landscapes that combine nature with built infrastructure, and that are close and accessible. This is apparent from the results of a pioneering study developed by researchers from the Institute of Science and Environmental Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) in which, for the first time, the preferences of the citizens of Barcelona have been analysed with regard to landscape aesthetics on the basis of photographs shared on social media.

Land-use policies and landscape planning developed by public institutions are increasingly taking into account ecosystem services, that is, the benefits that nature brings to society and that improve health, economy and people’s quality of life. In this context, the non-material and subjective benefits that aesthetic landscape brings to the citizen’s well-being are increasingly important.

The research at ICTA-UAB, carried out in collaboration with the Diputació de Barcelona, has deepened into this issue from a novel analysis of the photos of landscapes that citizens take and share on social media. The study is based on more than 130,000 photographs taken by more than 4,000 users in the province of Barcelona and shared through the Flickr platform.
The results show that, contrary to general belief, the presence of man-made infrastructures in green environments does not seem to negatively affect the aesthetic consideration that citizens have of the landscape. In fact, 57% of the photographs analysed presented "grey" infrastructure such as buildings, roads, bridges, railway lines or viewpoints, and the authors of the images sought the contrast between nature and buildings. Specifically, buildings appear in 41.4% of the photos, while forest and the sea elements appeared in 28.8% and 28.6% of the photographs respectively. "The study shows us that landscape aesthetics seems less dependent on ‘pristine nature’ than experts and planners assume, while the complex integration of green and grey landscape features plays a critical role", explains Johannes Langemeyer, author of the study together with Fulvia Calcagni and Francesc Baró.

Most of the preferred environments (more aesthetic) by citizens to shoot are coastal, urban and forest near the most populated areas, therefore in the urban and periurban areas of Barcelona. In particular, most of the photographs were taken in enclaves such as the Parc de Collserola and Montjuïc, in the periurban areas of Barcelona, as well as in the coastal areas. On the contrary, other inland agro-forestry landscapes, plain- agrarian zones and urban landscapes (with the exception of Barcelona) registered a lower aesthetic preference. Despite the distance from Barcelona, Montserrat was another favourite place. This is due to its tourist attraction and good access by public transport. And is that proximity and good accessibility by road and public transport are critical aspects when choosing a landscapes to enjoy.

The researchers highlight the importance of urban and periurban spaces as key providers of landscape aesthetics and stress the need for public institutions to take it into account when designing land-use and landscape planning.

The results of this study have also been used in a pan-European study on Cultural Ecosystem Services derived from Flickr data. Within the framework of this project, an interactive web application (https://maximelenormand.shinyapps.io/AHIA/) was conceived to provide stakeholders with a tool based on the analysis. But also it is oriented towards Flickr users “to give their data back” through the app that could become a platform in the future to share experiences from the photos and the visual content.

 

Publications:

Langemeyer J., Calcagni F., Baró F. (2018). Mapping the intangible: Using geolocated social media data to examine landscape aesthetics. Land Use Policy, 77: 542-552. (Open Access:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2018.05.049)

Lenormand M, Luque S, Langemeyer J, Tenerelli P, Zulian G, Aalders I, et al. (2018) Multiscale socio-ecological networks in the age of information. PLoS ONE 13(11): e0206672. (Open Access: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0206672)

ICTA's Activities