Interfase-UAB team has participated in the ESPON seminar ‘Transforming Territorial Thinking Through Digitalisation”

Interfase-UAB team has participated in the ESPON seminar focused on ‘Transforming Territorial Thinking Through Digitalisation”, representing two ongoing projects: ESPON 2020 Database Portal and ESPON GRETA. The seminar was held on the 6th and 7th of December in Tallinn, and was organised in cooperation with the Estonian Presidency of the European Union in the framework of the ESPON2020 Cooperation programme.

The seminar was a meeting point for policy-makers, stakeholders, practitioners, scientists and other experts who provided new insights and discussions on territorial evidence in policy-making addressing key topics  regarding demographic development, labour market, economic diversification and resilience, urban-rural linkages, governance and strategy building, territorial cooperation, spatial planning and governance. The seminar started with an open discussion on the Territorial development in the digital era with Paul Timmers, Anna Piperal, Jonas Onland and Martin Brynskov as panelists. Several questions raised like:

  • Which  mechanisms will work for everyone to facilitate the digital transition? Are there global standards applicable at any place?
  • Is the combination of front-runners and capacity-building a solution? Should this be the basis for the cohesion foundations?
  • Is digitalisation part of the solution? We don’t have the right policies yet for digital transition, we need the instruments. This requires proactive policies and a new public governance to provide opportunities to co-create. We need to build networks that favour cascading capabilities.

Hy Dao (University of Geneva)

Later, Hy Dao (lead partner from the University of Geneve) had the chance to present the ESPON 2020 Database Portal which aims to provide data and the structure that can be used by ESPON projects but also by other end-users. The main idea is to provide relevant and accessible data produced by ESPON projects or used in the building of indicators.



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In the afternoon, the new ESPON Applied Research  projects were briefly introduced. Here, Gemma García-Blanco (from project leader Tecnalia) presented the  general overview of ESPON GRETA‘s approach to address the key policy questions.

Roughly, GRETA aims to develop a comprehensive knowledge base for enhancing green infrastructure to benefit territorial development in different types of European regions and cities.


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Key policies addressed by GRETA

Key policy questions

We also had time for meeting partners of ongoing projects and to exchange experiences, especially those based on developing evidence-based policy recommendations.

It was nice and inspiring meeting new and already well-known faces!

Health and Quality of Life in Urban Areas

The second in a series of Synthesis Reports (SR) produced by FP7 URBAN-NEXUS project addresses the importance and urgency of integrating health and quality of life in urban areas. The Synthesis Report considers research, mainly European, background material from a variety of sources including existing research evidence, and case studies from cities and projects results undertaken at EU level. The information was collected from the URBAN-NEXUS consortium, the strategic partners and a wider network of contacts. The SR on Health and Quality of Life was shaped by the SGR INTERFASE, research group of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and member of the FP7 URBAN-NEXUS consortium.

This report should serve as basis to inform an evolving dialogue, fostering integrated approaches to urban sustainability that become intrinsic to all decision-making processes and partnership activities related to health and quality of life , and linking it with the other priority research areas being addressed in the URBAN-NEXUS project (http://www.urban-nexus.eu/).

Urban-Nexus added value

The resulting analysis of state of the art on Health and Quality of Life is described in the Synthesis Report, mainly focused on health aspects in cities, considering quality of air and green areas, noise and social aspects. This speech was enriched along the Dialogue Café, stressing the focus to the society and the public space, as well as highlighting the importance of sharing knowledge, in particular in local planning.

Urban Nexus Workflow

 

The challenge

The challenge of urban health and quality of life is to find solutions tackling environment and health problems together; it is essential to meet a balance between all policies and developments, and integrate the solutions into future urban planning.

A holistic approach of urban health and quality of life should consider the analysis of:

A holistic approach of urban health and quality of life

Project Reports

- Synthesis Report

- Follow-Up Report

Europe is losing seasonal sea ice faster than perennial

Walruses, belugas and narwhals are the most affected marine mammal species

Credit: National Geographic 1) Sergey Gorshkov, 2) Nansen Weber, 3) and 7) Paul Nicklen, 4) Florian Schulz, 5) Kaido Haagen, 8) Brian Skerry; IUCN 6) Morten Joergensen; 9) IFAW.

According to the preliminary results of an ongoing research where Joan Parera and Raquel Ubach are developing a new indicator for monitoring sea ice extent, seasonal sea ice is declining faster than perennial Parera proposes to adapt the IceMap250 algorithm to European sea regions. The use of MODIS optical and infrared imagery allows sea ice extent mapping at a higher resolution (250 m at nadir) than that of the commonly used satellite data, thus enabling a finer vulnerability mapping in the European sea regions to determine where conservation measures should be prioritized.

The continued loss of sea ice in the Northern Hemisphere due to global warming poses a threat on biota and human activities, evidencing the necessity of efficient sea ice monitoring tools. To prove the indicator’s utility and applicability, a vulnerability assessment has been carried out for nine sea ice associated marine mammal species, following the cumulative impact mapping methodology. Same preliminary results rank species vulnerability, being walruses, belugas and narwhals the most affected by the loss of sea ice.

Impact has been found to be larger north of Svalbard, Franz Josef Land, and in the central Barents Sea, highlighting the need for conservation measures in these areas.

Key messages from the preliminary results

1) Seasonal sea ice is declining faster than perennial sea ice in the European sea regions. Perennial sea ice refers to the extent of the ice cover which is stable all year long, i.e. the minimum extent (September), while seasonal sea ice is the variable portion of the ice cover, i.e. the difference between the maximum extent (March) and the minimum. Contrary to the observed tendencies, sea ice in the whole Northern Hemisphere is declining faster in September.

 2) walruses, belugas and narwhals are the most affected by the loss of sea ice FROM the nine analysed marine mammal species. The impact caused by this loss is especially severe in the northern coast of Svalbard and the central Barents Sea.

 3) A new map synthesis approach has allowed the minimization of classification errors and the effects of atmospheric conditions. Together with other changes concerning the classification method, the modified algorithm has achieved systematically better total accuracies than the original IceMap250.

Flows

CumulativeImpact_MapSeaIce_PresenceLikelihood_Map

Land recycling in Europe

The EEA has recently published a report entitled “Land recycling in Europe“, which presents approaches to measuring the extent and impacts of redevelopment and densification of previously developed land.

Chapter 2, ‘The extent of land recycling and densification’, was developed largely under the
ETC/ULS 2015 task 1.8.2.8 ‘Use of Urban Atlas (UA) and Corine Land Cover (CLC) data to calculate land
recycling and densification’, by Roger Milego (UAB), Rastislav Stanik (EEA) and Geertrui Louwagie (EEA).

Land_recycling

On average, land recycling has increased in Europe but the levels remain low compared to land take, the report shows. Based on Copernicus satellite data, land recycling as a share of total land consumption across EEA member and cooperating countries (EEA-39) has increased from about 2.0-2.2 % in 1990-2000 to about 2.7-2.9 % in 2006-2012. However, the rates vary considerably across countries.

The report is fully available in PDF following this link.

NILS project – Research stage in the Arctic to study the vulnerability of whales’ species and the whales hunting local communities

Brief Description:

The stage has been done by Dra. Françoise Breton from INTERFASE research group of Geography Department and ICTA institute of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), in collaboration with Dr. Svein Jentoft and MARA research group from the University of Tromsø (UiT – The Arctic University of Norway). Other strong colaborations have been established during the development of research stage with the University of Svalbard (UNIS), and the Svalbard Museum and her Director Tora Hultgreen.

The research stage has allowed to carry out a first approach to the study of vulnerability of whales and the effects to local communities related with the whales’ hunting in the Arctic Region of Norway from a socio-environmental approach (integrating environmental, historical, political and ethnological perspectives).

The research work done in 2015, focuses on whale species vulnerability. Fieldwork methodology on whales ‘perception by local fishermen communities and other relevant stakeholders allows us to discuss traditional whaling, within the artisanal fishery cycle.

This activity is important to sustain local coastal communities inhabiting in extreme cold climate in the Arctic.

During the research it has also present a test to map and model whales’ vulnerability. Both approaches help to understand the place of whales in the Barents Sea. This research focusing on socioecological approach to Minke whale (Balaenoptera acurostrata) in Lofoten islands (Norway) allows to meet a number strong recommendations to the Marine Spatial Plans.

BarentsSeaMap

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European Topic Centre on Urban, Land and Soil Systems (ETC ULS)

The European Topic Centre on Urban, Land and Soil systems, ETC/ULS, is supporting the European Environment Agency (EEA) in supporting monitoring of urban development in Europe, creating seamless European wide spatial reference data and develop and analyse various land related indicators.

Urban areas are home for most of the EU population and driver for economic growth and innovation, but their further sustainable growth represents a challenge both for internal management and planning as well as for the surrounding environment (land, soil, biodiversity).

Urban, land and soil systems is therefore a new strategic line of the EEA MAWP 2014-2018 reflecting an evolution towards a more integrated approach to environmental issues, including societal challenges mirrored on the inclusion of urban areas.

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Pilot project in the Adriatic on testing the candidate common indicator ‘Land use change’ in the Mediterranean within the EcAp framework/EcAp-MED project

Brief Description:

In the overall framework of an EU funded project on the “Implementation of the Ecosystem Approach in the Mediterranean by the Contracting parties in the context of the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the coastal region of the Mediterranean and its Protocols” (EcAp-MED project 2012-15), the Pilot project in the Adriatic aims, following up on the CORMON outcomes, to test the applicability of the land-use change candidate common indicator, though a sub-regional pilot.

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European Topic Centre on Air Pollution and Climate Change Mitigation (ETC/ACM)

The European Topic Centre on Air Pollution and Climate Change Mitigation (ETC/ACM) is a consortium of 14 partner organisations in 10 European countries that supports the European Environment Agency (EEA) in Copenhagen.

The main task of ETC/ACM is to assist EEA in supporting EU environmental policy and legislative frameworks and to allow for adequate responses to emerging needs. Such support involves improving the reporting of monitoring and inventory data, information dissemination, and integrated assessments. To this end ETC/ACM analyses in a balanced way the causality chain of environmental policy making: Driving forces, Pressures, State, Impacts and Responses (DPSIR).

The ETC/ACM activities focus on following main policy processes and frameworks:

  • Climate change mitigation and energy pollution (with reference to EU’s Climate Action)
  • Air pollution, transport and noise
  • Industrial pollution

More information about the ETC/ACM can be found in: http://acm.eionet.europa.eu/about_etcacc

Interfase-UAB  is one of the 14 partner organizations, and it is responsible of the provision of support to EEA, the Member States and the EEA member countries under the Eionet network and collaborating countries on the environmental noise field.

The main tasks consist in supporting the collection of noise data reported under the Environmental Noise Directive (END) and its quality checking for further assessment and dissemination.

New contract between EEA and ETC/ACM Consortium

ETCACM_logo2

The European Topic Centre on Air Pollution and Climate Change Mitigation (ETC/ACM) and the European Environment Agency (EEA) negotiated the third yearly contract to start in January 2016.

The SGR-Interfase team leads the tasks related to environmental noise in the ETC/ACM Consortium.

The main tasks to be accomplished in 2016 are focused on the management and quality check and quality control of the noise data delivered by the EEA Member States in compliance with the information required by the Environmental Noise Directive (END) and its publication in a new noise viewer that will be available at the end of the year.

The second main focus of the work being developed by the SGR-Interfase team is the assessment at European level of all the available information related to environmental noise, in order to evaluate the state-of-the-art at European level and assess potential improvements from the current situaion to the upcoming future. This part is mainly going to be achieved by the update of the yearly indicators on environmental noise at EEA level and the assessment reports developed every two years on this topic by the EEA, which includes other aspects such as noise management, noise action plans or health impact assessment due to noise exposure.

New topics that are going to be addressed in 2016 are focused on estimating the population living outside the areas covered by the END that could be potentially exposed to high levels of noise and also on methodologies to forecast noise exposure by 2020, 2030 or 2050.

COASTGAP Project: Coastal Governance and Adaptation Policies in the Mediterranean

 

 

 

Brief Description:

The Mediterranean coastal zones are among the most threatened by Climate Change effects, also considering their environmental and infrastructural value and concomitant strains like erosion, salt water intrusion, littoralization, etc.. The project COASTGAP was born after more than 10 years of shared experiences in this field, among many Mediterranean coastal Administrations and Institutions, which established the cluster FACECOAST (www.facecoast.eu) in 2011. COASTGAP aimed to capitalize 12 best practices from 9 projects of the cluster (from MED and other programmes), to produce governance and adaptation policies aimed to reduce risk along coastal zones and foster their sustainable development (there were 15 institutions involved). In order to provide an operational and coherent strategy for the 2014-2020 financial period, supported by multi-level agreements among coastal Administrations, COASTGAP aimed to design, characterize and prepare to launch the Joint Action Plan on Adaptations to Climate Changes in MED Basin.

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