department of environmental geography

    The Department of Environmental Geography was founded in 1993 as a result of the cancellation of the former Geographical Institute of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences in the process of the transformation of the CAS. It was officially established as a territorially separated Centre for Environmental Geography, Institute of Geonics (Brno Branch). The Branch was originally rooted in regional geographic research on the environment, but it has evolved and transformed into a workplace that follows a unique and distinct research agenda in the context of the Czech Academy of Sciences in integrating Human and Physical Geography.
     
    Generally, the research activities are defined within the scope of Environmental Geography, which can be regarded from both theoretical and empirical points of view as intersecting elements of Human and Physical Geography. As environmental geographers, we study the spatial aspects of interactions between human individuals or societies and their natural and socio-political environments. Our research work is focussed on three major avenues: (i) on all spheres of natural and built environments, including their physical, social, economic and cultural aspects; (ii) on the mutual interdependencies of different components and their interactions with each other; and (iii) on subsequent societal responses in the form of environmental problems or challenges. More specifically, our research focuses on the time-space dynamics and spatial patterns of on-going transition processes, the impacts of anthropogenic changes on both landscape and society, and last but not least, on the role of environmental protection in relation to landscape and urban planning, regional development and the quality of human life. We recognize the challenges that society needs to cope with during the current environmental crisis, and emphasizes the importance and unique role of Geography in understanding the processes of climate change adaptation, as well as the sustainability transition, by paying attention to particular geographic settings and spatial configurations, and the dynamics of the networks within which these processes are contextualized.
     
    RESEARCH FOCUS AREAS AND RESEARCH GROUPS

    The research activities of the Department have been concentrated around four broad areas of concern, which have involved partial sub-thematic topics tied to specific international and national grant projects, international bilateral and multilateral scientific cooperation agreements, or specific expert studies, as well as relating to recent theoretical and empirical developments in the discipline as a whole. Such specific research foci of the Department reflect some of the major current global environmental challenges (such as energy sustainability and security, urban sprawl, environmental restoration and the regeneration of brownfields, climate-forced drought, food security, etc.) as well as regional, socially relevant issues (e.g., energy poverty, traffic accessibility and transportation planning, regional and rural development, etc.). In many of these areas, the Deaprtment carries out cutting-edge research not only in the context of the Czech Republic, but also on the international stage, where it has achieved some excellent considered results.

    Transformation and recycling of urban spaces Renewable energy development and land use conflicts
    Research activities in this thematic area focus on the continuing changes in the socio-spatial aspects and positive and negative impacts of the transformation of urban spaces in regions of different types, including the phenomena of re-urbanization, urban space recycling and brownfields regeneration, the new patterns of space-time behaviours, spatial mobility, and accessibility problems. Research activities in this thematic field focus on the socio-spatial aspects and the environmental, economic and socio-cultural impacts of the on-going low-carbon energy transition. We explore the space-time diffusion and social acceptance of renewable energy innovations (wind turbines, solar farms, biogas and geothermal plants), and land use conflicts associated with the implementation of new technologies and traditional forms of energy developments (i.e., coal mining, nuclear energy, nuclear waste disposal, etc.).
    Brownfield Research Group:
     brownfields.eu
    Energy Geography Research Group:
     energygeographies.eu
    Restructuring and diversification of agriculture and food production Diversity of natural and cultural landscapes: development, risks, contexts
    Research activities in this thematic area focus on the geographies of agriculture and food, reflecting the current changes in farming and food production sectors. We investigate the spatial and societal contexts of food production in urban, suburban and rural areas. We map the emerging forms of agriculture (urban agriculture, food self-sufficiency) in different geographic and socio-cultural conditions, and we attempt to develop cooperation with various local actors (farmers, gardeners, non-governmental organizations, local action groups, etc.). The research in this area focuses on the diversity of living organisms in space, as well as processes and objects of an inanimate nature. We focus on mapping the current state, changes and development of natural and cultural landscapes, including bio-monitoring, mapping and assessing natural hazards and geo-hazards, as well as their impacts and risk management, and the 3-D documentation of natural and cultural objects. In addition, the possibilities of integrating the public into decision-making processes and the geographic aspects of citizen science fall into the ambit of this thematic area.
    Agricultural and Food Geography Research Group: agrofoodgeography.eu

     
    THE POPULARIZATION OF SCIENCE
    The researchers of the Department of Environmental Geography also emphasize the role of popularization of current environmental geographical topics and the presentation of research results to the wider public. They participate in various public debates, organizes the Open Days and the Geography Day, workshops for the public and for schools, and publish in various popularizing journals and popular-educational websites. They also participate in the development of tools for participatory planning (e.g., in spatial and strategic landscape and urban planning) and public involvement in research through so-called citizen science programs (www.citizenscience.cz)

     
    STRUCTURE OF THE DEPARTMENT
    The Department is comprised of experts from various branches of Human and Physical Geography, with trans-disciplinary overlaps with related scientific disciplines, such as Environmental Sociology, Landscape Ecology, Urban Studies and Disability Studies. Research cutting across these specializations is primarily organized into four informal research groups, which provide the main support mechanisms for individual researchers, allowing senior staff, early career researchers and PhD students to come together to discuss and develop research in both formal and informal settings.

     
    PROJECTS