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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.

Abstract

The position of urban allotments in the rural-urban spectrum is evaluated in this paper, which contributes to literatures on urban gardening, as well as contemporary rural-urban dynamics. Historically, European allotments can be seen as a product of urbanisation. At the same time, they embody a number of “non-urban” characteristics that create the impression of “the countryside in the city”. This research project investigates how the urban and the rural are materialised, represented and practised in five allotment sites in Brno, Czech Republic. We follow three main lines of enquiry where the urban and the rural seem to meet: the physical environment of the allotments; the social life of these spaces; and food production as one of their core functions. Critical reflection of the rural-urban perspective advances our understanding of urban gardens, while, at the same time, allotments offer an example of hybrid spaces, which, in turn, contribute to discussions on current cities and countrysides. Overcoming the urban-rural dichotomy could facilitate the inclusion of urban gardening in contemporary cities.

Abstract

Despite extensive social science research into public perceptions and social responses to fracking, scholars have only begun to examine the relationship between distance to development and support or opposition for it. Importantly, the emerging studies are exclusively from the United States, and focus on communities and regions in which fracking already exists – in contrast to areas where it is proposed and still going through planning approvals. This paper reports public responses to proposed fracking in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom. A total of 120 people participated in an in-person survey with a qualitative follow-up in four locations: the village right next to the development site, two other villages just inside and just outside the wider fracking concession area, and in the capital city of Belfast, 150 km away. A clear spatial pattern of opinion was found, from almost universal opposition to fracking next to the site, to an even three-way split between proponents, opponents and ‘neutrals’ to fracking in general, in Belfast. Results show that some risks are perceived to be more local than others, whilst perceived (economic) benefits are recognised mainly at the national level. Content analysis of local and national newspapers revealed a very clear and similar pattern. Connections to Fermanagh, through visits or long-term residence, were also clear predictors of opposition to fracking. The spatial pattern of support for fracking in Northern Ireland differs substantially from each of the contrasting patterns observed in the United States. We discuss likely reasons for this and implications for both research and policy.

Abstract

Research on clusters, unlike cluster initiatives, has not been comprehensively addressed in European post-socialist countries. The aim of this paper is to explore and to analyse quantitatively the spatial organisation of economic activities in the wine industry in Slovakia, and to assess it in terms of the concept of an industrial cluster. The wine industry is considered as a production sector in which location is determined by geographical factors. The research is based on a case study of a wine region located north-east of Bratislava, Slovakia. The primary identification of the cluster potential is based on the assessment of geographic conditions and statistical analyses focused on the spatial concentration of the industry within the defined area. An extensive questionnaire survey provided data for assessing the spatial organisation of economic activities and their impact on regional competitive advantage. Despite the spatial distribution of economic activities and relations among business entities affected by socialist industrialisation and post-socialist transformation, the results show that the industrial cluster was formed in the wine industry and its performance converges with the wine clusters in traditional Western European wine regions.

Abstract

Wind energy research is dominated by studies of local acceptance (or not) of wind farms and comparative studies at a national level. Research on the spatial differentiation of wind energy developments at the regional level is still insufficient, however. This study provides new empirical evidence for the extent to which regional differences in the deployment of wind energy are related to specific environmental and socioeconomic factors, by a statistical analysis of data for districts in the Czech Republic. Unlike previous studies, we found that the installed capacity of wind energy cannot be well predicted by wind potential, land area and population density in an area. In the Czech Republic, wind farms more likely have been implemented in more urbanised, environmentally deprived coal-mining areas that are affected by economic depression. It seems that in environmentally deprived areas, wind energy is more positively accepted as an alternative source to coal, and the economic motivation (financial benefits for municipalities) can have a greater effect on local acceptance, while public opposition is less efficient due to lower social capital and involvement in political matters. Based on these results, some implications for the planning and spatial targeting of new wind farms are discussed.

Abstract

Relationships between the activities of bus carriers and rail passenger traffic (and the railway offer) are examined in this article. The study was carried out in peripheral areas located at the Polish and Czech borderlands in Lower Silesia province. High quality rail transport generally increases the demand for transport services. Therefore, the proper development of transport offer plays a key role in the functioning of public transport systems, the backbone of which is rail transport. The study also shows that under conditions of transport market deregulation, bus carriers have developed a competitive network which is not complementary to rail transport. As a consequence, the deregulation of the transport market has increased the risk of transport exclusion.

Abstract

The proper delimitation of planning regions is a critical issue in the success of regional plans, and it constitutes a rich domain of research. In this paper, it is argued that planning regions should be based on functional regions– if the main intention is to increase the driving power of the people behind the planning process. Within this context, the aims of this paper are twofold: (1) to develop an algorithm (FRGIS) for the delimitation of planning regions on the bases of functional regions, and to implement it by using the scripting facilities available in Free and Open Source Software for Geographic Information Systems (GIS); and (2) to delimit the planning regions in Turkey by using FRGIS and the script developed for this purpose, by employing the commuting flows occurring between districts in the case country (Turkey) in 2010. The results show that FRGIS is successful in terms of the formation of spatially-balanced regions having higher levels of self-containment compared to those of existing regions. Nevertheless, it is also evident from this study that a combination of the nomothetic and ideographic methods of science is inevitable if functional regions are to be employed as planning regions.

Abstract

Selected traits of the spatial organisation of a geographical environment which stem from two types of human behaviour (locational and interactive) are examined in this paper. An attempt is made to find and account for similarities in the spatial patterns of scalar and vector geographical data. In doing so, the paper analyses a core-periphery dichotomy, based on socio-economic information, and travel-to-work patterns. The paper uses the concept of a region as an integrating and focusing framework for the study. Formal regions (peripheral areas) are defined through the application of principal components analysis and cluster analysis; functional regions are defined by a standard rule-based regionalisation algorithm. The territory of the Czech Republic is used as an area for testing the basic hypotheses. The results show that there is some form of interrelationship and complementarity between the spatial distribution of scalar data and vector data, i.e. between spatial structure and spatial interaction patterns, which together form the spatial organisation of a geographical environment.

Abstract

This communication concerns the prestigious award - the Karel Engliš Honorary Medal for Merit in the Social and Economic Sciences - that Bryn Greer-Wootten, Professor Emeritus at York University in Toronto and the Editor-in-Chief of the Moravian Geographical Reports (MGR), received from the Czech Academy of Sciences in2018. The article contains the most important and interesting points from the Laudation by Professor Radim Blaheta (Chair of the Institute of Geonics’ Institutional Board and the previous Director of the Institute), the Response by Professor Greer-Wootten, and the Closing Speech by Bohumil Frantál (Executive Editor of MGR), which were presented during the award ceremony on August 28, 2018 at the historic Löw-Beer Villa in Brno, Czech Republic.

Abstract

Following in the footsteps of one’s favourite literary characters has become a significant part of tourism. It remains unknown, however, how many readers decide to visit the places described in a book, or what factors determine their decision to do so. This issue was analysed using the example of Łódź, the third largest city in Poland, which struggles with a negative image. In contrast to the research on literary tourism conducted so far, a questionnaire was completed by readers and not by tourists visiting the places described. The readers remembered many real locations and had become familiar with the city’s topography. Some declared their reluctance to accept its stereotypically ‘bad’ image, while others were fascinated with its ‘unique atmosphere’. To many the city has become more familiar and a significant number of readers have changed their perception of it as a result. By means of linear modelling, several factors were established which encouraged readers to visit the city for tourism purposes. These factors included the size of the reader’s home location, changes of opinion, and the first impression the book made. This research project clearly points to the significant role of the novel in creating images of the places it depicts.