ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201906.0102.v1
Subject: Environmental And Earth Sciences, Environmental Science Keywords: climate change; environmental impact assessment; adaptation; scenario analysis; back casting; transdisciplinary
Online: 12 June 2019 (05:04:33 CEST)
Consideration of climate change in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a rather novel topic, which became partly mandatory through the revised EU Directive on EIA. Through a mixed-methods approach involving key-actors from EIA practice, decision making and climate adaptation planning, this study presents a transdisciplinary point of view on barriers and opportunities to tackle climate change adaptation in environmental assessment of large-scale projects. It is based on both a retrospective ex-post evaluation of existing practices in Austria and Germany as well as prescriptive examination and development of outcomes for practice through the development of a climate-fit toolkit that supports the incorporation of climate change impacts into EIAs. The scenario analysis applied with a back casting approach provided the opportunity to look beyond limitations related to legal compliance and partly lack of data identified by previous research. Three scenario narratives were elaborated based on nine key impact factors based on literature review, content analysis of EIA documents and interviews with EIA actors. The groups of actors carried out a prioritization of actions towards consideration of climate change in EIA. Finally, the actors were involved in co-production of an online tool-kit for Austrian and German EIA practice.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202209.0209.v1
Subject: Environmental And Earth Sciences, Environmental Science Keywords: Urban green areas; health; urban health; emotional health; physical health; well-being; nature; environmental medicine; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2 pandemic; Vienna; Austria, environmental perception; pandemic; human nature relationship; recreation; age
Online: 14 September 2022 (12:08:02 CEST)
The COVID-19 pandemic drew public attention back to the living conditions related to housing, access to green areas in close neighbourhood and nearby recreation. Several studies confirm that visiting green spaces improved the health and wellbeing in times of crisis. This representative study for the metropolitan area of Vienna, Austria’s capital, confirms the high relevance of contact with nature, particularly for citizens to cope with the negative consequences and perceived stress, anxiety, nervousness and many other negative symptoms experienced during the health crisis. It highlights the importance of nearby smaller but also medium to large scale green areas in cities for health and wellbeing of the population. Moreover, it specifically adds novel insights on age effects in use and perception of urban green spaces during COVID-19 pandemic. The online panel survey (n=1012) was conducted in summer 2021. In order to obtain a representative sample reflective of the population’s characteristics, a (stratified) random sample was selected by applying the quota method. The objective was to obtain a sample which represented gender, age and regional distribution of the population of the City of Vienna as well as the immediately surrounding local communities. Interestingly, particularly young people spent more time outside in green areas during the pandemic, discovered novel spaces for the first time and stated a high relevance of contact with nature for their wellbeing. Elderly people above sixty five, on the contrary, stayed more frequently at home. Significant differences are visible between the age groups also with regard to negative symptoms experienced in case of restricted access to green areas due to strict pandemic measures such as lockdowns and quarantine. All age groups, however, similarly acknowledged the importance of green areas for their physical, mental and emotional health in general during the pandemic.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202201.0153.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Geography, Planning And Development Keywords: pandemic; green areas; protected areas; urban planning; visitor management; protected area management
Online: 11 January 2022 (18:23:29 CET)
Public green and open spaces fulfil various social, ecological, economic, and aesthetic roles, which complement each another, but can also compete with one another. COVID-19 pandemic catalysed multiple societal changes, including citizens’ perception, needs and expectations posed towards urban green spaces. This article discusses the extent to which the temporally and geographically changed patterns of experiencing these natural spaces also influenced users’ perception and behaviour as well as their appreciation of the conservation areas. The study is based upon two surveys carried out in the greater metropolitan region of Vienna, the capital city of Austria. A quantitative survey (representative online panel) among Viennese population (n=1012), as well as qualitive interviews with experts responsible for conservation areas, administrators of federal parks, along with NGOs representatives were carried out in spring and summer 2021. Our study shows the changed use of urban and suburban large green spaces and conservation areas: first, from the perspective of those responsible for the areas as well as the visitors. Both perspectives supplement one another. They highlight also changed perception of urban citizens towards green spaces during COVID-19 pandemic. An increased importance of time spent in nature (68%) and possibility to visit large green areas (67%) was reported by Viennese citizens. Also, higher recognition of green spaces located close to home was observed among 69% of the respondents. Thus, the presented study contributes to the ongoing international discussion on the transition of societal needs and its effects on urban green spaces induced by the pandemic. Presented results deliver solid arguments highlighting the need of urgent transformation towards a more sustainable, resilient and healthy urban space.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202105.0410.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Geography, Planning And Development Keywords: climate proofing; spatial planning; climate change adaptation; framework; cross-regional; integral; co-benefits
Online: 18 May 2021 (10:21:27 CEST)
Spatial planning holds a key role in preventing or mitigating the impacts of climate change on both cities and rural areas, taking a forward-thinking and holistic approach to urban and regional development. As such, spatial planning deals with challenges occurring at different scales and across sectors. The international literature points out the need for horizontal and vertical cooperation to tackle climate change impacts. While there is abundant knowledge regarding the challenges related to climate change at different spatial levels, procedural integration into planning frameworks and practice is currently under-researched. This paper presents a novel theoretical framework that integrates various steps towards a holistic, integrative and adaptive climate proofing process. An iterative process was used for conceptual development, based on literature review followed by external feedback meetings and two workshops with the core team of planning experts responsible for exchange across federal states. By specifically addressing the challenges relating to cross-regional and cross-sectoral planning, this novel framework attempts to (i) facilitate a hierarchy of measures, (ii) maximise co-benefits for various adaptation purposes and climate change mitigation and (iii) foster the long-term institutionalisation of integrative processes across sectors, planning areas and policy levels.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202307.1573.v1
Subject: Environmental And Earth Sciences, Environmental Science Keywords: Artificial intelligence; environmental impact assessment; strategic environmental assessment; biodiversity; digitalisation
Online: 24 July 2023 (08:46:03 CEST)
The opportunities and potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Environmental Assessment (EA) are often mentioned. However, do we in the EA field understand the implications of what is happening in other biological sciences, and are we preparing for the changes that are coming? This interdisciplinary letter focuses on AI-driven developments in biodiversity data and analysis as a starting point for stimulating discussion about what AI means in practice for the field of EA. We highlight implications for training, transformation of practice and decision making as first steps in a research agenda.