The research center “Smart technologies for sustainable development of urban environment under global changes” of RUDN University announces a job opening for a Postdoctoral position within the PhD program “Green Infrastructure & Sustainable Development”.
SUN Researchers have found that transport pollution increases the number of microorganisms potentially dangerous to humans on plant leaves
Scientists from the Smart Urban Nature laboratory, in collaboration with colleagues from the Netherlands and Italy, have shown that microbial communities living on the surface of leaves are sensitive to transport pollution. With the approach to highways, the activity of microorganisms increases, their species diversity decreases, and the proportion of conditionally pathogenic forms increases. These changes are associated with an increased concentration of pollutants (mainly Zinc) and microclimatic conditions near the roads: low humidity, high temperature and ultraviolet radiation. It is important to note that the study of plant microorganisms will help assess the ecological state of nature in the city and their possible impact on human health. Article published in Plants (Q1) journal. The research was partly supported by Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR) and Russian Science Foundation (RSF).
SUN Lab presented the results of the third year of the project “Smart technologies to monitor, model and evaluate ecosystem services provided by urban green infrastructure and soils to support decision making in sustainable city development under global changes”, supported by a Russian Science Foundation (RSF).
Research in the third year of the project was focused on 3 main objectives:
- monitoring of ecosystem services of urban green infrastructure based on the Smart Urban Nature network;
- interpretation of monitoring data for ecosystem services for various target groups and practical tasks;
- application of the results of monitoring and modeling ecosystem services to support decision-making in the field of sustainable development of the urban environment.
Ongoing urbanization has led to a significant increase in the number of pets and has altered the relationships between pets and owners from primarily utilitarian to cultural. Today existing classifications of ecosystem services and nature’s contributions to people explicitly consider only the ES provided by livestock and wild animals. Despite this, scientists from Smart Urban Nature laboratory tried to give it a fresh view and attempted to translate perceived benefits and costs from owning dogs or cats in a megapolis into ecosystem services and disservices frameworks considering such pets as natural biotic elements of a megapolis and thus, essential parts of urban ecosystems.
The laboratory Smart Urban Nature worked as a consultant to the “Yauza project” bureau, which developed a project for the spatial development of the city of Cherepovets striving for a reasonable balance between the purpose of the object, the needs of people and the environment. Thus, the main goal in developing the concept was to bring nature to the city to create a comfortable living environment. With the proximity of major roads, the impact of the urban heat island, and the increasing number of extreme weather events associated with climate change, the regulatory functions of green infrastructure seem to be the most significant to assess and implement in the city development.
The Soil Basis of Smart and Sustainable Cities: How Scientists from SUN Lab expand knowledge about the functions of urban soils
It is a well-known fact that soil is the main component of a terrestrial ecosystem, the balanced functioning of which largely depends on the soil microbiome. Today, in the urban environment, there is an unprecedented anthropogenic impact on the soil, its microbiome and the ecosystem as a whole, which can lead to disruption of their functioning. Researchers from all countries are trying to develop knowledge about the peculiarities of the functioning of the soil microbiome in urban conditions, in particular by studying its various microbial indicators. However, there is no answer to the question of which microbial indicators can most informatively reflect the functioning of urban soils and be useful in planning and improving urban areas.
After the 1st ESP Europe in Antwerp (2016) and the 2nd in San Sebastian (2018), the upcoming Ecosystem Services Partnership Conference took place in Tartu (Estonia) from 7-10 June 2021. The conference turned out to be a special event in a hybrid format – both online and offline participation – which gathered near 460 participants from 51 countries from all parts of the world.
The Ecosystem Services Partnership aims to enhance communication, coordination and cooperation, and to build a strong network of individuals and organizations by connecting over 3000 ecosystem services scientists, policy makers and practitioners who work together in more than 40 Working Groups and a growing number of National Networks on all continents. Among hundreds of participants Anastasia Konstantinova and Viktor Matasov are two researchers who represented Smart Urban Nature lab in the event.
On June 2-5, 2021, St. Petersburg hosted the XXIV St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF-21), a leading global platform for communication between business representatives and discussion of key economic issues facing Russia, emerging markets and the world in general. The forum, which brings together tens of thousands of participants from more than 140 countries, is traditionally focused on issues of the global and Russian economy, social matters and technology development.
SUN Lab researchers examined how “Islands of nature” save mental and physical health of city-dwellers during pandemic
International research team including SUN Lab’ scientists interviewed citizens of Moscow (Russia) and Perth (Australia) to find out what role urban green spaces played for them during the COVID-19 pandemic. It turned out that the vast majority of respondents in both cities considered contact with nature to be extremely important for mental well-being, and many of them went for walks in their free time, despite the restrictions. The results of the research, supported by a grant from the Russian Science Foundation, are published in the journal Sustainability.
SUN Lab was presented on roundtable “Green and Blue Urban Infrastructure Innovation for Northern Eurasia”
The roundtable “Green and Blue Urban Infrastructure Innovation for Northern Eurasia” took place April 19-20 in Saint Petersburg. During the event there were presented projects related to green and blue infrastructure (GBI) in Russian cities. Speakers representing academic and non-academic institutions, shared their relevant GBI experience and reflections to share. Also the factors of success and failures of such innovation projects given a variety of biophysical and socioeconomic contexts across the country were disscussed.