Welcome to the SGR INTERFASE Team

Research Group on Coastal and Marine Resources, Territories, Landscapes and Migrations

The SGR INTERFASE (Research Group on Coastal and Marine Resources, Territories, Landscapes and Migrations) is formed by an interdisciplinary team of researchers and external collaborators whose core is at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB). The activities of the team began in 1992 and it is coordinated by Françoise Breton, researcher of the Department of Geography and ICTA – Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals.

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The SGR INTERFASE promotes researches in analysis, planning and integrated management of coastal zones, natural resources and open areas (protected and rural areas, etc.) from the study of socio-environmental changes in space and time and the sustainability of environmental and spatial policies. Since its foundation, the research group develops an intense work of supporting to administrations and stakeholders in the study and integrated assessment of spatial problems in areas of contact or interface between society and environment: analysis and management of coastal and marine zones, socio-environmental problems linked to human activities and processes of land use change, planning and social adaptation to climate change, land and ecosystems accounting, ecosystem services, cooperation networks in regional, trans-statal and cross-border areas, spatial processes of migrations and climate change.

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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

Gestionant l’exposició al soroll a Europa.

La contaminació acústica representa un alt risc per a la salut humana i mediambiental. Aquesta comunicació presenta les dades actualitzades sobre el nombre de persones exposades a la contaminació acústica ambiental a Europa, així com un nou resum de les mesures que s’utilitzen en els Estats membres per a la gestió del soroll. El trànsit per carretera segueix sent, de llarg, la font més important de soroll ambiental, amb almenys 100 milions de persones exposades a alts nivells de soroll del trànsit que superen els valors referència de molèstia per soroll de la Unió Europea.

Poster Resum Soroll a Europa

Missatges principals:

  • La contaminació acústica continua sent un important problema de salut ambiental a Europa;
  • El trànsit rodat és la principal font de soroll ambiental, s’estima que 100 milions de persones estan afectades per nivells nocius. El soroll dels ferrocarrils, aeroports i la indústria també són fonts importants;
  • Els plans d’acció de gestió del soroll establerts pels Estats membres inclouen una àmplia gamma de mesures per a la millora i recuperació de la qualitat acústica. És a les ciutats on aquestes mesures se centren principalment en la gestió del trànsit per carretera i inclouen la utilització als carrers de paviment sonoreductor, la millora del trànsit i la introducció dels límits de velocitat més baixos;
  • El Programa General d’Acció de la Unió en matèria de Medi Ambient (7EAP) estableix l’objectiu que el 2020 la contaminació acústica a la UE disminueixi considerablement, apropant-se als nivells recomanats per l’Organització Mundial de la Salut (OMS).

Anàlisi de les mesures incloses en els plans d’acció de la Directiva 2002/49/CE per font de soroll i tipologia de mesura.

Action_plans

SSS! Setmana sense soroll, del 24 al 30 d’abril

Interfase UAB col·labora amb la 1a Setmana Sense Soroll.

La 1a Setmana Sense Soroll neix amb la voluntat d’arribar a aglutinar totes aquelles iniciatives promogudes, tant en l’àmbit públic com privat, sota un mateix lema ‘Silenci si us plau’ i uns mateixos objectius, entre els quals cal destacar:

  • Conscienciar a la ciutadania del problema de la contaminació acústica, especialment en l’àmbit urbà, dels seus efectes, i les seves possibles solucions. Fer veure a la ciutadania que n’és part del problema i part de la solució.
  • Treballar amb col·lectius específics, com els centres escolars, on el soroll pot dificultar l’aprenentatge.
  • Donar a conèixer, tant a la ciutadania com a les administracions, noves eines de gestió i control.
  • Impulsar la col·laboració entre administracions, amb diferents responsabilitats i/o competències en la matèria, per optimitzar recursos i poder oferir una solució més ràpida i eficaç.

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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Acusti.CAT, the first Catalan Congress on Acoustics

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With more than 70 speakers, 25 entities highly involved in this topic and more than 200 experts working in the field, Acusti.CAT will be an opportunity to debate, share and understand all the topics related to environmental noise. The Congress is going to be held in Sabadell on 28+29/04/2016.

The initial conference will be given by the European expert Colin Nugent, Project manager for Noise at the European Environment Agency, and 15 challenges and dilemmas will be shared and discussed after that among all the participants. Discussion topics will cover from soundscape in cities of the future and networks of sensors measuring noise and its integration into the smart cities projects, to topics such as the strategic noise maps and action plans as useful management tools to cope with environmental noise and neighbourhood noise evaluation and mediation.

The SGR-Interfase group of the UAB – Geography Department will participate in Acusti.CAT and will discuss the challenge 01 together with other experts in the field.

More information about the congress is available in the following page:http://www.congresacusti.cat/#/inici

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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