Merle, Nikole and Spencer graduated on 25 March. All of them defended successfully their PhD and MSc theses in January 2019. Congratulations!
Alexandros Gasparatos and Jelena Aleksejeva attended the 2nd annual meeting of our project funded by the Asia-Pacific Network (APN). The meeting was held in Beijing and brought together project partners from the City University of New York (CUNY), the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), the National Taipei University, the Asia Institute of Technology (AIT), and the University of Tokyo.
Partners discussed ongoing research and results about sub-city GHG emission and energy use in Beijing, Bangkok, New York, Taipei and Tokyo. Jelena presented her work on green roofs as a climate change mitigation strategy for the Sumida ward in Tokyo.
Alice visited Kiambu and Murang’a Districts of Kenya for follow-up household surveys. The goal of this exercise was to understand how seasonal climatic change can influence household cooking energy choices and usage patterns. She conducted about 300 household questionnaires along two transects, and interviewed local stakeholders such as forest officers, firewood sellers and biomass stove producers.
Denise conducted a household waste characterization study in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. With the support of the local university UPSA and the municipal cleansing enterprise EMACRUZ, she coordinated a team of around 30 student volunteers to survey 105 households from different socioeconomic strata. This entailed daily waste collection, separation, weighing and analysis for 7 consecutive days. The results will elicit household waste generation rates across the city, which is an important input to a system dynamic model she develops.
Ei visited the Max Myanmar cement plant close to Naypyitaw, Myanmar. She collected data about the material and energy inputs and output for each of the production stages of cement production, from quarrying to final product. This information will be used to assess the environmental impacts of cement production through life cycle assessment (LCA).
Eric conducted household surveys in the Assin North District, Ghana to understand how cocoa certification affects the livelihood of smallholders. He collected 300 household surveys in 10 rural communities from certified and uncertified cocoa smallholders, as well as subsistence farmers not growing cocoa. Surveyed certified farmers had adopted different certification standards such as UTZ and Rainforest Alliance.
Helen conducted household surveys in Pyin Oo Lwin (Myanmar) to understand the benefits that green spaces offer to urban residents. She conducted 230 household surveys around five green spaces such as monasteries, a golf course and the National Botanical Gardens, as well as control areas in the city centre. These surveys captured, among others, the provisioning and cultural services that resident obtain from the green spaces, as well as how proximity to this spaces can reduce residents vulnerability to heat, drought, and air and noise pollution.
Robert visited the provinces of the Western Cape and the Gauteng in South Africa to interview experts about the current role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in the country’s food system. He interviewed 18 experts from academia, NGOs, local/national government and the food industry to understand the structure of the food system, as well as the drivers, barriers and challenges of ICT adoption in the South African food system. He also presented the preliminary results of a consumer survey he conducted last winter, to the local farmers of the Izindaba Zokudla (Lit. "Conversation about Food") during their monthly workshop in Soweto.
Vinamra visited Iban communities in Anap Muput Forest Management Unit, Bintulu division in Sarawak, Malaysia. These Iban communities traditionally live in longhouses and rely for their sustenance on shifting agriculture of hill rice, cash crops (e.g. pepper, oil palm) and the collection of various timber and non-timber forest products. To understand the effects of past and current commercial logging practices in the area, he carried out 63 household interviews in 9 villages located in the Takan and Malat clusters in and around the forest management unit operated by Zedtee Snd. Bdh.
Dietary patterns have changed radically in the growing cities of Africa. Such dietary transitions can have important implications for food security and the environment. However their causes and impact mechanisms are not well understood and documented.
Researchers from our lab have developed a protocol to identify dietary patterns in African cities, as well as how and why they have changed in the past decade. Subsequently, lab members Alice Karanja, Abubakari Ahmed and Eric Dompreh collected household-level data in Accra and Nairobi, two major African cities that have experienced such dietary shifts.
Some of the collected data included household socioeconomic and demographic characteristics, individual dietary choices and reasons for their change, and body measurements of the respondents. In total 650 households were surveyed in Nairobi and 750 in Accra, between 3 August and 15 September.
Abu defended successfully his PhD in June and graduated on 14 September. His PhD explored the sustainability impacts of collapsed and operational biofuel feedstock production projects in Ghana. His research was commended highly by the examination committee and produced several papers for highly ranked peer-reviewed journals.