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.
Focusing on coal energy from a geographical perspective, the unintended regional consequences of coal mining and combustion in the Czech Republic are discussed and analysed in terms of the environmental injustice and resource curse theories. The explorative case study attempts to identify significant associations between the spatially uneven distribution of coal power plants and the environmental and socioeconomic characteristics and development trends of affected areas. The findings indicate that the coal industries have contributed to slightly above average incomes and pensions, and have provided households with some technical services such as district heating. However, these positive effects have come at high environmental and health costs paid by the local populations. Above average rates of unemployment, homelessness and crime indicate that the benefits have been unevenly distributed economically. A higher proportion of uneducated people and ethnic minorities in affected districts suggest that coal energy is environmentally unjust.
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.
In the article, which is a theoretical and conceptual introduction for the Special Issue of Moravian Geographical Reports on ‘New trends and challenges of urban agriculture in the context of Europe’, the authors resume and review diverging issues of urban agriculture, exploring and discussing them from a geographical perspective and in a wider context of the transformation of urban and rural spaces, urban regeneration and renewal, agricultural restructuring, multifunctionality, ecosystem services, land-use conflicts and social responsibility. After the introduction that depicts a changing role of agriculture in the context of urban and rural transformations, the current research on urban agriculture in Europe is summarised and reviewed. Then the main trends and concepts of growing and expanding urban agriculture are presented and discussed with a special emphasis on the challenges these pose to geographers.
The effect of geographical distance on the extent of socioeconomic impacts of the Dukovany nuclear power plant in the Czech Republic is assessed by combining two different research approaches. First, we survey how people living in municipalities in the vicinity of the power plant perceive impacts on their personal quality of life. Second, we explore the effects of the power plant on regional development by analysing long-term statistical data about the unemployment rate, the share of workers in the energy sector and overall job opportunities in the respective municipalities. The results indicate that the power plant has had significant positive impacts on surrounding communities both as perceived by residents and as evidenced by the statistical data. The level of impacts is, however, significantly influenced by the spatial and social distances of communities and individuals from the power plant. The perception of positive impacts correlates with geographical proximity to the power plant, while the hypothetical distance where positive effects on the quality of life are no longer perceived was estimated at about 15 km. Positive effects are also more likely to be reported by highly educated, young and middle-aged and economically active persons, whose work is connected to the power plant.
Using a case study of the Búrfell wind farm project, a large wind farm proposed in the Central Highlands of Iceland, the authors attempt to provide new insights into the factors shaping subjective landscape perceptions and attitudes to renewable energy developments, and into alternative methods that may be used for their assessment. The research was based on an on-site visit and actual experience of the place, investigated using a combination of mental mapping, the technique of the semantic differential and a questionnaire survey. The results show that participants visiting a landscape and using all sensory organs in combination with mental mapping, can reveal more important information than using only ‘laboratory’ methods with static photographs. The results suggest that the perception of landscape is highly subjective. Those perceiving the landscape as more open, homogenous, industrial, unfamiliar and resilient also consider it more compatible with wind turbines. The perception of the landscape’s compatibility with wind turbines proved to be a dominant factor shaping attitudes towards the project. The acceptance of wind turbines is not, however, inconsistent with the perception of landscape as beautiful, wild and unique. Participants from more densely populated countries and countries with a developed wind energy industry were more tolerant of wind turbines in the Icelandic landscape.
Issues related to the evolving role of citizen science and open science are reviewed and discussed in this article. We focus on the changing approaches to science, research and development related to the turn to openness and transparency, which has made science more open and inclusive, even for non-researchers. Reproducible and collaborative research, which is driven by the open access principles, involves citizens in many research fields. The article shows how international support is pushing citizen science forward, and how citizens’ involvement is becoming more important. A basic scientometric analysis (based on the Web of Science Core Collection as the source of peer reviewed articles) provides a first insight into the diffusion of the citizen science concept in the field of Geography, mapping the growth of citizen science articles over time, the spectrum of geographical journals that publish them, and their citation rate compared to other scientific disciplines. The authors also discuss future challenges of citizen science and its potential, which for the time being seems to be not fully utilized in some fields, including geographical research.
The increasing importance of tourism and the growing number of tourists put pressure on tourist destinations. To support competitive and sustainable tourism development, it is advisable to focus on alternative forms of tourism in order to diversify tourism options in the destinations. From this point of view, it seems appropriate to deal with the issue of ‘Special Interest Tourism’ as a form of ‘alternative’, ‘ethical’, or ‘environmentally responsible’ tourism. The paper reflects the urgent need for sustainable tourism research. The aim of the paper is to provide the introduction and overview of the issue and outline perspectives that may open the way to future, more systematic research. The situation in the Czech Republic is based on the mapping of the current spatial distribution of selected special interest tourism attractions. The findings identify the possibilities for diversification of general (mass) tourism offers. The metadata from the Czech and foreign metainformation systems and databases are used.