Landscapes - People - Global change

Category: Landscape (Page 2 of 28)

Congratulations, Emily Wells, MES!

Emily Wells speaks during her online MES defense, Mar 2, 2022, about being gifted an eagle feather by a Mi’kmaw Knowledge Holder during her research and what it meant to her.

Delighted to share news that Emily Wells defended her MES thesis yesterday, titled Mi’kmaw relational values: Lessons for environmental valuation from Indigenous literatures and L’nuwey along the Bay of Fundy Coast. Thanks to Heather Cray who acted as Chair, Melanie Zurba who was Emily’s committee member and welcomed her into the Co-Lab community, and also Kai Chan who served as her external examiner. It was too bad that threats of poor weather drove us to an online event, but it was still a wonderful conversation, exactly the kind of insightful and reflective event you hope for out of a defense. We have new ideas with which to approach the final thesis submission and the publication process.

New paper on salience mapping of energy infrastructure

Figure 1 in Mohammadi et al (2023), showing the novel sequence of work in PhotoShop, Matlab and GIS to understand how energy infrastructure affects a view.

Really nice to see a paper come out this week in Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal from Mehrnoosh Mohammadi’s MES thesis on renewable energy infrastructure in amenity (specifically vineyard) landscapes. This is the kind of thing that happens when a landscape architect joins your lab. This work involved a creative sequence of PhotoShop (to remove energy infrastructure seen in Instagram images taken at vineyards), Matlab (to calculate visual saliency), and ArcGIS analysis to understand the change in salience wrought by the removal. Cool stuff! This started out as a research note at submission, but got upgraded by the editor: A saliency mapping approach to understanding the visual impact of wind and solar infrastructure in amenity landscapes. Thanks to PhD student Yan Chen and former postdoc H. M. Tuihedur Rahman for helping out on this work.

Christmas in Australia

This site-based history caught my eye in Sydney . What an interesting idea, to reveal previous (tho largely settler) iterations of the city this way!

As the winter term starts, there is not a lot of time for me to spend reflecting on my wonderful Christmas holiday in Australia. A few landscape highlights are in order, however, so I will paste a few of them below.

One thing I saw that I particularly wanted to highlight here was the above plaque in Sydney. I’m always interested in landscape change, and this is the first time I’ve seen this kind of public record of past land uses of a particular site. In rural contexts, past landscape versions are usually still legible in later iterations, but in cities that is not the case, so making it explicit in this way feels interesting. I don’t know whose decision it was, but I didn’t notice any others.

This plaque reminds me of a great radio documentary by Craig Desson and Acey Rowe I heard on CBC a few years ago, called “Whose Condo Is It, Anyway?” (54 mins, a related CBC First Person article is here). Desson bought a condo and found himself wondering if he really owned it, and tracked all previous recorded uses of his land parcel, and ended up questioning the whole idea of ownership in a treaty context.

Meddylfryd yr anterth

A quick thanks to the PloCC (Places of Climate Change) network at the University of Bangor, Wales, for the invitation to present to their monthly seminar series on Nov 9th. I spoke about climax thinking (the title of this post is its Welsh translation, literally, “the mentality of the peak” according to Google Scholar) using examples from wind energy, coastal adaptation and flood-risk mapping (highlighting work by past and current graduate students Kristina Keilty, Ellen Chappell, Krysta Sutton and Samantha Howard). Thanks to the effort PloCC took to translate my abstract, I’ll share it here for any Welsh speakers who discover this page.

Trosiad yw meddylfryd yr anterth am wrthwynebiad i newid y dirwedd er lles y cyhoedd. Deilliodd o ymchwil seiliedig ar le yn Nghanada Atlantig. Yn yr un modd â damcaniaeth olyniaeth mewn ecoleg, rydym yn aml yn credu bod tirweddau mewn cyflwr delfrydol neu ecwilibriwm (h.y. yr anterth), ac y dylid dychwelyd ato ar ôl pob aflonyddwch megis trychinebau naturiol. Mae angen inni symud at ffordd ddi-ecwilibriwm o feddwl am dirwedd o ystyried yr heriau a wynebwn o ran cynaliadwyedd a’r goblygiadau posibl i’r dirwedd. Dyma gyflwyniad sy’n rhannu gwaith achos ynglŷn â gosod ynni’r gwynt, enciliad yr arfordir a mapio perygl llifogydd i symud o lefel y canlyniad (gwrthiant) i lefel y broses (achosion) y syniad newydd hwn, a’r goblygiadau i ymchwil ac ymarfer.

Topically, a great example of climax thinking came into my morning news media today, in the local rejection of government-funded wind turbines to help Stewart Island, NZ, get off of diesel generators. As the term otherwise hurtles to a close, and I look ahead to the Restoring America’s Estuaries conference in New Orleans the first full week of December, I’m keeping my eye to related media. I look particularly forward to the NYT reporting about this call for experiences of disaster rebuilding. A final note, do yourself a favour and read Rutger Breman’s book Humankind; I listened to the audiobook through the Halifax’s library’s Libby app on a long bus trip and it made me feel much better.

Scenario workshop for ResNet

Event poster and photo from the final workshop activity

The workshop event poster alongside a photo from one of the final segments of the event.

Last week was very exciting, as NSERC ResNet Synthesis team members Elson Galang and Elena Bennett came to Halifax to lead us in a scenario workshop for the L1 landscape case study of the Bay of Fundy dykelands and tidal wetlands. Eighteen interested parties joined us at the SMU CLARi site for a fun two days of reflection and visioning, and we finished up with four fascinating narratives of potential futures for the region. The creativity and expertise of our stakeholders resulted in some futures I’d never considered, but that were remarkably well fleshed out.  I had never been involved in deploying such a method, and after the two days I am a big believer in its transformative potential (at least with Elson at the helm!). Thanks to everyone who contributed beyond those already mentioned, including postdoc Lara, TCA project manager Kristie, and grad students from Dal (Paria, Polly and Keahna) and SMU (Millie, Evan).  I am looking forward to co-developing the workshop report and getting our work out in the world.

Six participants and organizers at the Quinn's Brewery

Workshop organizers (me, Jeremy and Elena) and participants (Karel, John and Tony) debriefing at the Brewery by Quinn during the L1 workshop.

As an aside, I also had a first appearance in the Christian Science Monitor while the workshop was on. Another nice piece by Moira Donovan about the situation on the east coast post-Fiona, particularly in relation to managed retreat. These are interesting times in Port aux Basques, as 100 residents affected by Fiona have received demolition notices for buildings they own: I’m waiting to hear what support they’ll get to safely and meaningfully retreat.

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