Our in-house SRES Legacy Scholarships will be offered again in 2019, and I have pitched in a project called, Last one in, shut the door: Understanding local experiences of urban densification. It is one of up to 8 projects available to high-performing Canadian students who are thinking early for our next MES intake. A short description of my pitch follows; get in touch if you think you’re a good fit:
Most of us now live in cities. Experts advocate for more compact urban forms, rather than sprawl, to improve carbon footprints, as well as cultural vitality, economic activity and public health in cities. Compact cities are more walkable and have more effective public transit, and the numbers of people working and sleeping there are boons for businesses and cultural institutions alike. For most cities to become compact requires the densification of existing neighbourhoods. Like renewable energy, densification goals are often supported in general, but support weakens upon application. Locals often fight to maintain the status quo in the face of densification developments. The success of those residents depends in part on their social position. This research will explore the local experiences of urban densification planning, using case studies yet to be determined and the emerging concept of ‘climax thinking’, to identify social leverage points for urban transformation towards sustainability.
My new full-time job: physio.
In late August I had surgery on my right hip, so I’m off recuperating at the moment. I have another four weeks in a rib-to-knee hip brace, and on crutches, unable to drive. Becalmed here at home, I’m trying to catch up on some long-form reading, and am listening to a lot of podcasts (thank you, Radiotopia), but if you wonder what really fills my days, see left. This lovely Schwinn exercise bicycle is a key part of my new physiotherapy regime, which keeps me surprisingly busy.
Energy Transitions collaborator and friend Dr. John Parkins has been in the news this week, talking about recent results published in Energy Policy about residential solar technology adoption in Canada. In the U of A news feed, Folio, John is quoted: “If you are immersed in an environment where these technologies are all around you, they become more familiar and doable”. This shows how important landscape norms are to our shared and individual sense of what is possible and desirable. He goes on to advocate more numerous and prominent installations of solar infrastructure in public buildings, to expedite the creation of norms that facilitate a transition to renewable energies like solar. View the great Global News interview with John here.
The variety of farm geographies in Nova Scotia, by number of parcels and time to drive across.
When I first started to do farm biodiversity research in Nova Scotia, after doing the same in Australia, I was surprised by how small and sometimes fragmented the farms were (see above). I wondered if that was a boon or a bust for farm biodiversity. Did having a contiguous farm make the farmer see it more as an ecosystem, and thus make them more likely to foster biodiversity, or did having a fragmented farm make the farmer set aside far-flung places for such purposes? Turns out fragmentation has no real impact on farm habitat provision; farm area does. Read about it at The Canadian Geographer.
Danika with Guelph students and professor Robin Davidson-Arnott, at the Windsor causeway tidegate.
Had a great day in the field with a group of undergraduates from Guelph on a field course to Nova Scotia led by human geographer and new collaborator Kirby Calvert, and physical geographer Robin Davidson-Arnott. We visited the Windsor causeway site, under discussion for the return of tidal flow, as well as the Grand Pre dykelands, Evangeline Beach to view migrating semi-palmated sandpipers, and finally to the lovely new Lightfoot and Wolfville vineyard for pizza and wine tasting. Especially great to get postdoc Tuihedur and incoming project MES student Krysta Sutton up to the dykelands before the term starts.
Postdoc Dr Tuihedur Rahman and new MES Krysta Sutton at the Windsor causeway.