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Assessing environmental fragility in a mining areafor specific spatial planning purposes

Abstract

Environmental fragility in a mining area is evaluated both in terms of its biophysical (natural) and socio-economic components and their anthropogenic interactions. We identified multiple criteria and indicators for this task, but then reduced these according to responses given by 60 experts in domains related to spatial planning. We used the selected criteria and indicators to develop environment fragility indices for each territorial administrative unit (LAU2) in Gorj County in south-western Romania. The resulting indices reveal quite large spatial variations in fragility and evidence that highly fragile human and physical environments are to some extent intertwined. In this respect, such environmental components as climate, soils, ecosystems, natural hazards and economic issues provide constraints on human activities, whilst humans themselves can, without sufficient care, increase fragility and adversely affect the quality of living environments for present and future generations. We also explore how such estimates of natural and anthropogenic fragility might enable better specific planning for local and regional development that aims to ameliorate both environmental and human adversity in an integrated way.

Open access
Assessment of territorial benefits and efficiency from the construction of motorway and speed train networks: The Czech case

Abstract

The Czech Republic has been developing its motorway network since the 1970s, while efforts to upgrade its railway system from the 1990s have been limited to improvements of existing major lines. Only recently has the government decided to construct new “speed connection” rail lines. This article investigates the possible territorial benefits from the future development of planned motorways and of various speed connection railway options. The modelling is based on Huff’s gravity model that calculates the benefits from improved accessibility, to job and service centres for residents of each municipality. The modelling outcomes are used to compare planned motorway development and rail development options with respect to their efficiency, related to the investment and potential numbers of users.

Open access
The spaces and places of Czech believers

Abstract

Geographical aspects of contemporary Czech religiosity are discussed in this paper. The main objective is to understand and approximate the spaces and places of faith which Czech believers inhabit, construct and reconstruct. An original focus on young believers was broadened to include priests, preachers and older members of several churches in Brno city, and the Přerov and Ústí nad Labem regions. Concepts of space and place, sacred spaces, and the imagery of post-mortem spaces are treated within the context of so-called secularisation and related phenomena. The methodology is based on an inductive qualitative approach using the Grounded Theory of Strauss and Corbin. The data are presented, discussed and ordered following the main themes originating from the research, including: (i) spaces of regular activities (related to the faith); (ii) spaces of dissemination and evangelisation of the faith; (iii) personal places linked with faith; and (iv) an introduction to the imagery of post-mortem spaces. The results document a long-term shift in the attitudes of believers, the change from rather public spaces of community gathering to personal places, influenced by specific secularisation tendencies. Also, the results represent the typical places of faith which are constructed and reconstructed by current Czech believers, and the current imagery of post-mortem spaces.

Open access
Viticultural landscapes: Localised transformations over the past 150 years through an analysis of three case studies in Slovakia

Abstract

The transformation of vineyard landscapes is evaluated in this article by assessing the changes in land cover and landscape diversity in selected study areas in two time periods – from 1867 to 1949, and from then to 2016. The study areas are characterised by a long history of viticulture and with important occurrences of old and new agrarian relief forms. Fine-scale land cover and landscape diversity analysis, as well as the study of historical and strategic documents, enabled an accurate interpretation of the viticultural landscape trajectories and their drivers. Landscape diversity was computed using the Shannon diversity index for each 625 square metre grid unit, and applying other metrics for the entire study area. Our research established that the study areas oscillated during this period between extensification and agricultural intensification, and the general trend confirmed the disappearance of traditional vineyards and a decline in modernised vineyard areas after socialism. Although extensification and intensification are seemingly contradictory processes, it is established that these both increase landscape diversity. In addition, landscape diversity changes in the second period are influenced more by changes in quantitative landscape pattern characteristics via edge density than qualitative patterns, e.g. patch richness, which reflect land use diversity.

Open access
An Analysis of the Structure and Thermal Conductivity of Hollow Microsphere Filled Syntactic Foams

Abstract

The influence of types and parameters of hollow microspheres in the composition of syntactic foams on their structure and coefficient of thermal conductivity has been studied. By using structural and thermal analysis it has been found that the volume concentration and the size of the ceramic and glass hollow microspheres have a strong impact on the density and thermophysical properties of the thin syntactic foams coatings. It has been shown that the best heat insulating properties belong to syntactic foam with composition of 60 vol. % ceramic microspheres with particle size of 1 - 40 μm (k = 0.029 W/m·K, R = 0.008 (m2·K)/W) and with composition of 80 vol. % glass hollow microspheres with particle size of 9 - 25 μm (k = 0.087 W/m·K, R = 0.008 (m2·K)/W). The results demonstrate that application of syntactic foams as thin insulating coatings is appropriate and they are an energy efficient material with number of benefits compare with the common thermal insulators.

Open access
The application of AHP in the development of a taxonomy of merchant marine deck officers’ non-technical skills (NTS)

Abstract

The importance of NTS has been realised in many safety critical industries. Recently the maritime domain has also embraced the idea and implemented an NTS training course for both merchant marine deck and engineering officers. NTS encompass both interpersonal and cognitive skills such as situational awareness, teamwork, decision making, leadership, managerial skills, communication and language skills. Well-developed NTS training allow ship’s officers to recognise quickly when a problem is developing and manage the situation safely and efficiently with the available team members. As a result, the evaluation and grading of deck officers’ NTS is necessary to assure safety at sea, reduce the effects of human error on-board ships, and allow ship board operations to be performed safely. This paper identifies the skills necessary for deck officers to effectively perform their duties on the bridge of a ship. To achieve this, initially, a taxonomy of deck officers’ NTS is developed through a review of relevant literature and the conducting of semi-structured interviews with experienced seafarers. Subsequently, NTS weighting data is collected from experienced seafarers to allow the weight of each element of the taxonomy to be established by the use of the Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP).

Open access
Capturing cross-border continuity: The case of the Czech-Polish borderland

Abstract

The differences in welfare amongst European countries are especially evident in border regions, and this affects cross-border cooperation and relationships. Due to the historical development of Central and Eastern European countries over the last century, the affected countries are unique “laboratories” for geographical research. This study assesses disparities in socio-economic indicators representing socio-economic phenomena in the Czech-Polish border region, through the analysis of cross-border (spatial) continuity, using quantitative methods (multivariate statistics and socio-economic profiling), GIS analysis and cartographic visualisation. It is demonstrated how such a combination of methods is useful for the comparison and evaluation of the complex socio-economic situations in neighbouring countries. This research project identifies the most suitable common indicators for a proper evaluation of cross-border (spatial) continuity, and it reveals the spatial patterns as reflected by a cluster analysis. The greatest cross-border (spatial) continuity is apparent in the easternmost part of the borderlands, while significant differences on both sides of the border are evident in the very central part of the areas under study. The paper also describes methodological aspects of the research in order to provide a quantitative approach to borderland studies.

Open access
The Centenary of Professor Arpád Tesár

Abstract

On 1st February 2019 is celebrated the birthday centenary of great Slovak scientist and engineer - professor Arpád Tesár (1919 - 1989). His name is connected with many bridges, engineering structures and scientific works being appreciated by the technical community worldwide.

Open access
Comparison of 2D Grid Simulations for Flow Past Cylinder at High Reynolds Numbers

Abstract

The paper focuses on the verification of the suitability of the SST k - ω model on the flow past a circular cylinder in 2D for a high Reynolds number. The study compares the results of drag and lifts coefficients with respect to different types of meshes and time steps. The mean velocity field in the wake region behind the cylinder is evaluated and compared to experimental data available from literature. The numerical simulations are solved using CFD codes in the ANSYS Fluent software and use the finite volume method.

Open access
Comparison of emissions depending on the type of vehicle engine

Abstract

Road transport is showing growth in the period of globalization. Its task is to transport cargo as well as people to the required location within the shortest possible time and at the lowest price. Thus, road transport plays a crucial role in enabling the globalization to be developed and improved. However, the internal combustion engine hat prevail among the vehicles of freight and passenger transport are the producers of gaseous emissions from the exhaust gases. Many developed countries of the world has committed themselves, inter alia also trough the Paris Agreement, to reduce global warming, and thus to reduce the production of harmful gaseous emissions. The result is the endeavour to replace the internal combustion engine vehicles that burn carbon fuels with the vehicles powered by electric motors consuming electric energy. The reason of such trying claims that road transport using the internal combustion engine vehicles is environmentally aggressive, and the problem would not be solved by implementation of the vehicles with electric motors. Such claim is based on the fact that an electric car does not produce any of primary emissions. From an overall perspective, it is also necessary to take into account secondary emissions that are produced during the electric energy production by which is the vehicle with electric motor powered. The purpose of this article is to assume the possibility of reducing global pollution by replacing the internal combustion engine vehicles with the vehicles powered by electric motors in dependence with producing the emissions during the production of electric energy.

Open access