877,709 research outputs found

    Remodelling Urban Planning Education for Sustainable Development: The case of Serbia

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    Purpose – The paper aims to present a pedagogical model tailored to the development of key competences in the urban planning profession in post-socialist transitional countries that is based on the creation of an integrated platform for dialogue and the development of professional competences as part of the process, whereby students produce their final projects. Design/methodology/approach – The pedagogical model is based on the principles of education for sustainable development and focuses on the establishment of a repeatable platform for dialogue between students and mentors, members of the mentoring team, the local community, external members of the consulting team of experts and foreign master’s degree programmes, in the process of producing students’ projects. The proposed method addresses several dimensions, including: the education of students, teachers, professionals and local experts, the establishment of a network for cooperation and collaboration and the delivery of practical and usable results. Findings – The paper provides a comparative overview of the pedagogical model’s application in producing the final master’s degree projects of three generations of students, as well as its alignment with the needs of redefining the role and reach of the profession of urban planner in an environment of post-socialist transition. The model was improved, enhanced and optimised through this process and then corroborated with its practical implementation. Originality/value – The innovative pedagogical model comprises an instrument to enhance the professional capacities of all participants in the production of final master’s projects: academics, practitioners and future professionals/students, through discussions of topical issues, innovative modes of work and new professional responses grounded in the local context and tested by a broad range of stakeholders. It is of particular importance for countries in transition experiencing a shift in the paradigm of professional action, especially as the proposed pedagogical model establishes a problem-solving platform that surpasses academia

    Habitat selection

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    Habitat selection is the behavioural process determining the distribution of individuals among habitats varying in quality, thus affecting individual fitness and population growth. Models of population dynamics often assume that individuals have perfect knowledge about habitat qualities and settle accordingly in the best habitats available. Many studies of dispersal have focused on the movements of individuals away from a site, but knowledge on settlement decisions is still scarce. I investigated settlement and departure decisions in a long-distant migrant, the northern wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe), breeding in a heterogeneous agricultural landscape. First, I investigated the settlement of wheatears choosing a new territory at the time of territory establishment in spring. I show that territory selection is non-ideal as wheatears did not prefer territories with characteristics most closely predicting individual fitness. Second, I studied the territory selection of experienced breeders which may use many potential cues as they have been breeding in the same area before. The results show that information gathering of experienced breeders is constrained, and that they cannot always settle at a preferred site probably because of the earlier establishment by other individuals. Third, I show that such a priority constraint in territory site selection may be a proximate cause for female-biased dispersal in wheatears and possibly in many other bird species. Fourth, as a first step to link habitat selection behaviour and population dynamics, I investigated habitat-specific population growth. Overall, I show that constraints acting on individual habitat selection result in a greater proportion of individuals breeding in poorer habitats than would be expected from ideal selection, which has consequences for population persistence

    Scale-Dependent Habitat Selection of Nesting Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets

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    Foraging habitat selection of nesting Great Egrets ( Ardea alba ) and Snowy Egrets ( Egretta thula ) was investigated within an estuary with extensive impounded salt marsh habitat. Using a geographic information system, available habitat was partitioned into concentric bands at five, ten, and 15 km radius from nesting colonies to assess the relative effects of habitat composition and distance on habitat selection. Snowy Egrets were more likely than Great Egrets to depart colonies and travel to foraging sites in groups, but both species usually arrived at sites that were occupied by other wading birds. Mean flight distances were 6.2 km (SE = 0.4, N = 28, range 1.8-10.7 km) for Great Egrets and 4.7 km (SE = 0.48, N = 31, range 0.7-12.5 km) for Snowy Egrets. At the broadest spatial scale both species used impounded (mostly salt marsh) and estuarine edge habitat more than expected based on availability while avoiding unimpounded (mostly fresh water wetland) habitat. At more local scales habitat use matched availability. Interpretation of habitat preference differed with the types of habitat that were included and the maximum distance that habitat was considered available. These results illustrate that caution is needed when interpreting the results of habitat preference studies when individuals are constrained in their choice of habitats, such as for central place foragers

    Habitat enhancing marine structures: Creating habitat in urban waters

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    Although maritime regions support a large portion of the world’s human population, their value as habitat for other species is overlooked. Urban structures that are built in the marine environment are not designed or managed for the habitat they provide, and are built without considering the communities of marine organisms that could colonize them (Clynick et al., 2008). However, the urban waterfront may be capable of supporting a significant proportion of regional aquatic biodiversity (Duffy-Anderson et al., 2003). While urban shorelines will never return to their original condition, some scientists think that the habitat quality of urban waterfronts could be significantly improved through further research and some design modifications, and that many opportunities exist to make these modifications (Russel et al., 1983, Goff, 2008). Habitat enhancing marine structures (or HEMS) are a potentially promising approach to address the impact of cities on marine organisms including habitat fragmentation and degradation. HEMS are a type of habitat improvement project that are ecologically engineered to improve the habitat quality of urban marine structures such as bulkheads and docks for marine organisms. More specifically, HEMS attempt to improve or enhance the physical habitat that organisms depend on for survival in the inter- and sub-tidal waterfronts of densely populated areas. HEMS projects are targeted at areas where human-made structures cannot be significantly altered or removed. While these techniques can be used in suburban or rural areas restoration or removal is preferred in these settings, and HEMS are resorted to only if removal of the human-made structure is not an option. Recent research supports the use of HEMS projects. Researchers have examined the communities found on urban structures including docks, bulkheads, and breakwaters. Complete community shifts have been observed where the natural shoreline was sandy, silty, or muddy. There is also evidence of declines in community composition, ecosystem functioning, and increases in non-native species abundances in assemblages on urban marine structures. Researchers have identified two key differences between these substrates including the slope (seawalls are vertical; rocky shores contain multiple slopes) and microhabitat availability (seawalls have very little; rocky shores contain many different types). In response, researchers have suggested designing and building seawalls with gentler slopes or a combination of horizontal and vertical surfaces. Researchers have also suggested incorporating microhabitat, including cavities designed to retain water during low tide, crevices, and other analogous features (Chapman, 2003; Moreira et al., 2006) (PDF contains 4 pages

    Fish Habitat Utilization Patterns and Evaluation of the Efficacy of Marine Protected Areas in Hawaii: Integration of NOAA Digital Benthic Habitat Mapping and Coral Reef Ecological Studies

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    Over the past four decades, the state of Hawaii has developed a system of eleven Marine Life Conservation Districts (MLCDs) to conserve and replenish marine resources around the state. Initially established to provide opportunities for public interaction with the marine environment, these MLCDs vary in size, habitat quality, and management regimes, providing an excellent opportunity to test hypotheses concerning marine protected area (MPA) design and function using multiple discreet sampling units. NOAA/NOS/NCCOS/Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment’s Biogeography Team developed digital benthic habitat maps for all MLCD and adjacent habitats. These maps were used to evaluate the efficacy of existing MLCDs for biodiversity conservation and fisheries replenishment, using a spatially explicit stratified random sampling design. Coupling the distribution of habitats and species habitat affinities using GIS technology elucidates species habitat utilization patterns at scales that are commensurate with ecosystem processes and is useful in defining essential fish habitat and biologically relevant boundaries for MPAs. Analysis of benthic cover validated the a priori classification of habitat types and provided justification for using these habitat strata to conduct stratified random sampling and analyses of fish habitat utilization patterns. Results showed that the abundance and distribution of species and assemblages exhibited strong correlations with habitat types. Fish assemblages in the colonized and uncolonized hardbottom habitats were found to be most similar among all of the habitat types. Much of the macroalgae habitat sampled was macroalgae growing on hard substrate, and as a result showed similarities with the other hardbottom assemblages. The fish assemblages in the sand habitats were highly variable but distinct from the other habitat types. Management regime also played an important role in the abundance and distribution of fish assemblages. MLCDs had higher values for most fish assemblage characteristics (e.g. biomass, size, diversity) compared with adjacent fished areas and Fisheries Management Areas (FMAs) across all habitat types. In addition, apex predators and other targeted resources species were more abundant and larger in the MLCDs, illustrating the effectiveness of these closures in conserving fish populations. Habitat complexity, quality, size and level of protection from fishing were important determinates of MLCD effectiveness with respect to their associated fish assemblages. (PDF contains 217 pages

    Urbanisation, Sustainable Growth and Poverty Reduction in Asia

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    Almost 3 billion people live in urban areas across the world – equivalent to 48 per cent of the world’s total population. Asia accounts for almost half of these, with an urban population of between 1.3 and 1.5 billion people, accounting for approximately 37 per cent of Asia’s total population (UN-Habitat 2003a; ACHR 2005). These statistics for Asia are perhaps conservative, as different countries define ‘urban centres ’ differently, based upon both population size and other criteria. If either India or China were to redefine their criteria to include some smaller settlements as ‘urban’, then an even greater proportion of Asia’s population would be considered ‘urban’ (Satterthwaite 2005). Asia has a fast growing urban population. The urban population in the region as a whole is projected to grow to 1.8 billion by 2010 (see Figure 1), and as a result Asia is expected to account for a growing proportion of the world’s urban population – just over 50 per cent by 2010 (see Figures 2 and 3). The UN expects this number to increase to between 53 per cent and 55 per cent of the world’s urban population by 2030 (UN-Habitat 2004). In addition to a growing urban population, Asia is also urbanising – that is a growing proportion of its total population live in urban areas (see Figure 4). There are three potential factors contributin

    Buffalo Habitat for Humanity: The Challenges and Prospects of Green Building

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    Habitat for Humanity Buffalo has operated since 1985, and in that time has rehabilitated or built more than 150 homes in the cities of Buffalo and Lackawanna. An affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI), Habitat builds affordable housing for qualified low-income people. Once approved, homeowners must put 500 hours of “sweat equity” into Habitat projects, including their homeowner education. In return, they receive a zero-interest mortgage, the proceeds of which pay their property taxes and homeowner’s insurance, as well as support the rehabilitation or construction of more Habitat homes in the Buffalo area
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