Landscapes - People - Global change

Tag: utilitarian infrastructure

Climax thinking on the Tantramar

Images of landscape change in the Tantramar/Chignecto used in research led by Ellen Chappell

Images of landscape change in the Tantramar/Chignecto used in research led by Ellen Chappell

Thrilled today to see Ellen Chappell’s first MES paper out in Landscape and Urban Planning, the pre-eminent journal for landscape research, titled ‘Climax thinking, place attachment, and utilitarian landscapes: Implications for wind energy development‘. She explored the natural experiment that happened in the Tantramar/Chignecto area on the isthmus between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia when the Radio Canada International towers came down around the same time as the Sprott Wind Farm went up (images d and e, opposite). She used climax thinking theory in a randomized population mailout survey to understand how residents of the area experienced the loss of utilitarian infrastructure, much of which is now only vestigial, and the addition of wind turbines. Attachment to such infrastructures was not correlated with place attachment or time in place, surprisingly. It turned out that conservatives and males are most attached to that utilitarian infrastructure of the past–they were well established in their ‘climax landscape’–but also that people could acquire attachment to wind turbines in a similar way. Those with higher climax thinking (in terms of attachment to those vestigial utilitarian features) who could see wind turbines from their home currently were more supportive of more wind energy. So, as we found last year in a national survey, exposure to energy infrastructure is an important leverage point to renewable energy support.

Funded Masters: Pairing wind and wine?

Vineyards and wind turbine. iStock credit: Petagar

Vineyards and wind turbine. iStock credit: Petagar

Happy to announce that thanks to recent success at the SSHRC Insight Development Grants, Dr. Kirby Calvert (PI) and I are looking for new graduate students for 2019 intake. Our project seeks to provide insight into the unique barriers and opportunities for renewable energy development in ‘high amenity’ (i.e., tourism-based) landscapes, such as wine-and-grape regions in Nova Scotia and Southern Ontario. Kirby and I are both Geographers by training, with interests in the spatial and social dynamics of rural landscape change. We expect to use a mix of methods in this work, including image-rich approaches for understanding discourse and stakeholder perceptions, possibly including social media and Q-method. Qualified and keen students should read the fuller description linked above, and get in touch with us. Nothing wrong with thinking well ahead for 2019; this opens candidates up to additional scholarship opportunities that often close in late fall.

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