Welcome to the People – Environment Research Group


The interdisciplinary People-Environment Research Group has a long trajectory of world-class research on the interactions between the natural and built environment and human behaviour, which includes psychologists, sociologists, economists, educators, geographers and architects. Its areas of expertise include the psychological dimensions of social change and transitions to sustainable lifestyles, social innovation, environmental risk research, environmental education, the relationship between nature-based solutions, pro-environmental behaviour and wellbeing, urban planning, green infrastructures and sustainable architecture. For the last ten years, the Group has both coordinated and participated in numerous national and European research projects including FP7 and H2020 EU-funded programs.

OUR CURRENT PROJECTS:

The Energy Transitions from Coal and carbon: Effects on Societies
This project is framed under the topic "SSH aspects of the Clean-Energy Transition" and it tries to interpret the "Challengues facing the carbon intensive regions" within a multi-contextual framework: 1) the de-carbonisation policies; 2) the ongoing processes of de-territorialisation; and 3) the territorial dimension of clean energy transition. These contextual elements are presented in the project, providing an interpretation of the main research questions of the topic.: a) The de-carbonisation of coal and carbon intensive regions risks to be a cul de sac of the energy transition process. Along with this process a set of conflicts emerge and move from local to national and European level and vice-versa. One of the main ideas of the project is analysing these conflicts and the negotiation processes related to them, as well as the political cultures and discourses behind these conflicts; b) The challenges facing coal and carbon-intensive regions are studied in the light of the ongoing process at the territorial level. Another main idea of the project is to identifying the factors of de-territorialisation in action in different coal and carbon-intensive regions and to explain their dynamics and interactions; c) The clean energy transition cannot be understood only as a technological change or as an industrial shift, and it is studied as a socio-economicpsychological process affectng the life of local communities. In this respect the project is focused on the study of the coping strategies from a wide array of perspectives: A multidimensional perspective, combining different disciplinary frameworks; a comparative perspective, developing a comprehensive set of case studies; and a multilevel perspective, involving different key players at
territorial, regional, national, European and global level. Each of these strategies will be developed in a specific strand of research: Theoretical strand, Analytic strand, and Pro-active strand.

Co-ordinated by Trinity College Dublin, Connecting Nature is a partnership of 29 organisations from 16 countries which includes local authorities, communities, industry partners, NGOs and academics. CONNECTING NATURE is a Horizon 2020 project which works with 11 European cities who are investing in multi-million euro large scale implementation of nature-based projects in urban settings. We will measure the impact of these initiatives on climate change adaptation, health and well-being, social cohesion and sustainable economic development in these cities. Innovative actions to foster the start-up and growth of commercial and social enterprises active in producing nature-based solutions and products will also be an integral part of our work. More information about CONNECTING NATURE on the website: https://connectingnature.eu/

The SMARTEES project (Social innovation Modelling Approaches to Realizing Transition to Energy Efficiency and Sustainability) is a three-year Horizon 2020 project aimed at simulating a number of successful social innovations in the energy transition, and developing – together with people in the field – a “sandbox model” to experiment with strategies to stimulate societal change. Eleven European partners will work together in this exciting project that will run for 3 years. SMARTEES started at 1rs of May 2018. Partners in this project are the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (coordinator), Norway, James Hutton Institute, United Kingdom, K&I Knowledge & Innovation, Italy, University of a Coruna, Spain, Energy Institute at Johannes Keppler University, Austria, University of Timisoara, Romania, University of Groningen, Netherlands, ICLEI, Local Governments for Sustainability, Germany, and Samsø Energiakademiet, Denmark. More information about the SMARTEES project on the website: http://local-social-innovation.eu

RECENT PROJECTS 

GLAMURS. GLAMURS explores the complex interactions among economic, social, cultural, political and technological factors influencing sustainable lifestyles and transformations towards a green economy. It develops comprehensive models of lifestyle change in sustainable domains, and evaluates them in terms of economic and environmental effects. The project provides policy recommendations on the design of governance approach and policy mixes for a fast-paced transition to sustainability. GLAMURS combines methods across the breadth of social sciences, including psychology, sociology, micro- and macro-economics and agent-based modelling. The project is coordinated by the People-Environment Research Group of the University of A Coruña (Spain).

TRANSIT- TRANSformative Social Innovation Theory TRANSIT was an ambitious research project that developed a theory of transformative social innovation which is about empowerment and change in society. It was co-founded by the European Commission and ran for four years, from January 2014 until December 2017. The TRANSIT project was coordinated by DRIFT (Erasmus University Rotterdam – The Netherlands), and involved 12 universities and research institutes from across Europe and Latin-America. More information about TRANSIT on the Website: http://www.transitsocialinnovation.eu/ 

LOCAW- Low Carbon At Work-  The People-Environment Research Group of the University of A Coruña was the project leader of the LOCAW project. LOCAW aimed at identifying the complex determinants of everyday practices in the workplace, as well as the ways in which practices from one life domain influence those in another, in order to be able to provide a thorough account of the barriers to and drivers of transitions to sustainable practices in organizations. More information about LOCAW on the Website: http://www.locaw-fp7.com/ 

European Survey on Public Perceptions on Environmental Risks. A research project coordinated by the  Collingwood Environmental Planning and funded by the Directorate-General for Environment (European Commission). The aim of this project was to understand the differences between public perception and scientific assessment of environmental risks and the main factors influencing the evolution of public perspectives in Europe. The project used a mixed methodology research approach, including a survey of experts and focus groups with members of the public. More information and results on this link.

RESEARCH CONNECTIONS

Our activity is linked to the International Association for People-Environment Studies - IAPS (www.iaps-association.org), to the International Association of Applied Psychology - IAAP (http://www.iaapsy.org), and to the Environmental Psychology Association - PSICAMB (http://www.psicamb.org)

International Association People-Environment StudiesAsociación Internacional de Psicología AplicadaAsociación de Psicología Ambiental

Our partners and other institutions with which we conduct collaborative research:

Argentina

  • Universidad Nacional de Quilmes

Austria

  • University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (Vienna)

Belgium

  • Université Libre de Bruxelles

Brazil

  • Federal University of Ceará, Fortaleza
  • Rio de Janeiro Federal University

Canada

  • University of Northern British Columbia

Denmark

  • Aalborg University

Germany

  • University of Magdeburg
  • Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Leipzig
  • SERI – Sustainable Europe Research Institute

Hungary

  • ESSRG Research and development SME

Ireland

  • TrinityCollegueDublin

Italy

  • Sapienza University of Rome
  • University of Roma Tre, Rome

Norway

  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Romania

  • West University of Timisoara

Sweeden

  • University of Umea

The Netherlands

  • University of Groningen
  • Delft University of Technology
  • University of Tilburg
  • Dutch Research Institute for Transitions (DRIFT), Erasmus University of Rotterdam
  • MaastrichUniversity

United Kingdom

  • University of Surrey (Guildford, Surrey)
  • James Hutton Institute (Aberdeen)
  • University of East Anglia
  • University of Bath (Bath)
  • University of Sussex

USA

  • Park University
  • Texas State University

Our sponsors in the Government:

  • European Commission, Directorate for the Environment
  • Ministry of Education of Spain
  • The Government of Galicia, Spain
  • The Provincial Government of A Coruña, Spain
  • The Provincial Government of Ourense, Spain
  • The City Council of A Coruña, Spain

Our sponsors for given projects in the world of enterprises and organizations:

  • REPSOL – Oil Company
  • ALBADA
  • Biodiversity Foundation
  • Caixa Galicia Foundation
  • Coca Cola – Begano, S.A.
  • Psychosocial Studies and Research Institute
  • Formación y Ediciones, S.L. Forum

Research evaluation:

Our research has been evaluated for the National Commission for Evaluation of Research Activities of Spain (CNEAI), who granted us with 5 positive evaluations (only applied to professors and associate professors with tenure).

Some of us are reviewers for the National Agencies of Research Evaluation in the governments of Spain, Finland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal …

Editorial and conference reviewing:

Also, we are part of the editorial boards of journals such as Journal of Architectural and Planning Research, Journal of environmental psychologysyecology, Bulletin of People-Environment Studies,… or scientific committees for evaluating papers for IAPS, PSICAMB, and other conferences and symposia.

     

Advice to international organizations:

Finally, some of us were part of European Commission teams for specific scientific aspects related to research in the 7th Framework Programme of the European Union, as well as reviewers of the Global Environment Outlook (GEO-4) “Environment for Development, United Nations Environment Programe. United Nations (UNEP-UN).


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