Academia in the Time of COVID-19: Towards an Ethics of Care

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Computer Platform Gives Visibility to Catalonia's Small Villages

A research team from the UAB, in collaboration with the Association of Microvillages of Catalonia, has created a Geographic Information System (GIS) for Active and Sustainable Hamlets (GISASH), which gathers information on the state of and services offered by the more than 330 municipalities in Catalonia with fewer than 500 inhabitants.

Environmental justice defenders victims of violence and murder

Grassroots movements halt environmental degradation in up to 27% of environmental conflicts worldwide, according to a study by the ICTA-UAB.

El Locos por la Tierra retoma las sesiones en formato virtual

El programa Locos por la Tierra impartido por el ICTA-UAB ha reanudado sus sesiones formativas en formato virtual.

Technological changes and new low-carbon lifestyles, key to mitigating climate change impacts

In order to mitigate climate change impacts and achieve a more sustainable society, it is necessary to transform the current energy system based on fossil fuels into a model based on renewable energies.

Exploring climate change impacts through popular proverbs

Members of an irrigation community doing maintenance work in an acequia de careo (irrigation canal built at the top of the mountain) to improve the circulation of water for irrigation and human consumption.

Neolithic vessels reveal dairy consumption in Europe 7,000 years ago

Pottery from the site located in Verson (Francia) analysed during the research (Picture by Annabelle Cocollos, Conseil départemental du Calvados ou CD14 publicada en Germain-Vallée et al.

Mapping out the impacts of pollution upon Indigenous Peoples worldwide

Sulphur mine in Ijen, Java, Indonesia. Picture by Joan de la Malla.

Economic growth is incompatible with biodiversity conservation

A study involving more than 20 specialists in conservation ecology and ecological economics highlights the contradiction between economic growth and biodiversity conservation.

Encuesta: El rol del verde residencial durante el confinamiento por el brote de COVID-19 en España

El grupo de investigación BCNUEJ (www.bcnuej.org) del ICTA-UAB (https://ictaweb.uab.cat/) y del IMIM (www.imim.es) está realizando un estudio sobre el papel del verde residencial (vegetación interior, en balcones, en terrazas, cubiertas verdes, jardines particulares, etc.

ICTA-UAB shares protective material with hospitals

ICTA-UAB is since last Monday 16 March 2020, an Institute with Restricted Access. Most of the laboratories are empty, the Scientific and Technical Services are closed, only the basic services are working and most of the people is working and staying at home.

Higher and earlier pollen concentrations expected for this spring

Spring and summer pollination will begin a few days earlier than usual and in important numbers, reaching higher than average levels (from the 1994-2019 period).

Power struggles hinder urban adaptation policies to climate change

Transformative actions implemented by cities to address and mitigate the impacts of climate change may be hindered by political struggles for municipal power.

Analysis of tropical fire soot deposited in the ocean will help predict future global climate changes

The ICTA-UAB begins a scientific expedition in the Atlantic Ocean to collect dust and smoke samples from the fires of tropical Africa deposited in marine sediments.

What elements and characteristics should forests have to influence human health?

Despite the increasing interest of the scientific community and society towards the potential of forests as a source of human health, the existing scientific literature does not allow for a coherent relationship between the type of forest and different health variables.

Red coral effectively recovers in Mediterranean protected areas after decades of overexploitation

Protection measures of the Marine Protected Areas have enable red coral colonies (Corallium rubrum) to recover partially in the Mediterranean Sea, reaching health levels similar to those of the 1980s in Catalonia and of the 1960s in the Ligurian Sea (Northwestern Italy).

Sub-national “climate clubs” could offer key to combating climate change

‘Climate clubs’ offering membership for sub-national states, in addition to just countries, could speed up progress towards a globally-harmonised climate change policy, which in turn offers a way to achieve stronger climate policies in all countries.

Victoria Reyes-García receives an ERC Proof of Concept grant linked to the LICCI project

Victoria Reyes-García ICREA Research Professor at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) is one of the 76 top researchers that will receive ERC Proof of Concept grants.

ICTA-UAB demands the UAB to reduce number of flights

Given our current climate emergency, recently acknowledged by the UAB, the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) has drawn up a proposal urging the University to put into action a new travel policy to tackle one of its most polluting activities: Flying.

New assessment finds EU electricity decarbonization discourse in need of overhaul

It’s well known that the EU is focusing its efforts on decarbonizing its economy.

Mining waste dumped into Portmán Bay continues to release metals into the sea 25 years later

The waters of the Mediterranean Sea continue to receive dissolved metals from the mining waste deposited in Portmán Bay (Murcia) 25 years after the cessation of mining activity.

A new ICTA-UAB project to assess the impacts of micro- and nano-plastics in the tropical and temperate oceans

A new project led by ICTA-UAB researcher Patrizia Ziveri is one of five projects selected for funding by the Joint Programming Initiative Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans (JPI Oceans).
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)

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