Collaboration Science

Smart Urban Nature laboratory wishes a Happy New Year

The last month of 2021 was so busy that we did not have enough time to sum up the results of the whole year. Now we had a rest and, looking back, we would like to share some of our achievements.

The year 2021 gave us new results and new colleagues, allowed us to implement interesting projects and become part of the projects of our partners. Despite the continuing restrictions on travel to other countries, we do not stop our international cooperation and contacts, but on the contrary we multiply and strengthen them.

In 2021, SUN Lab expanded its activities and achieved new results. This year, we have created a new direction for landscape planning. Together with Guild of Landscape Engineers (LAEN Guild) and many other colleagues, we have worked on three large projects:

  1. Assessment of urban ecosystem services and adjustment of the master plan for the city of Cherepovets.
  2. Development of recommendations on the Strategy for the development of the territory of the city of Kaluga.
  3. Development of green KPIs and ecosystem solutions for the territory of the ZIL quarter, Moscow.

Our unique network of Smart urban trees has expanded and included TreeTalkers devices at new sites: Rostov-on-Don (April 2021) and Apatity (June 2021). 19 new sensors were set up in the botanical garden of Southern Federal University (Rostov-on-Don). On the territory of the Akademgorodok microdistrict in the city of Apatity (Murmansk region), 20 TreeTalker devices were installed.

For remote access to device data in real time and remote monitoring of the status of sensors, the Smart Urban Nature software application has been modified into a full-fledged web portal based on the following technology stack:

One of the most ambitious and beloved research projects is, of course, the experiment with tea bags. The field part of the study took place in parallel in 6 bioclimatic zones and required as much tea as the entire research team of SUN Lab could not drink in 2021. The first results of the analysis of the array of experimental data were received for three zones. And characteristic tendencies of changes in biomass for urban and natural soils were revealed. Work on the project will continue in 2022 and we look forward to seeing impressive results.

We have conducted fruitful field expeditions and field research. In this field season, active work was carried out in all sites of our research. Full-fledged expeditions were organized to the northern station in Murmansk and Apatity and to the southern station in Rostov-on-Don. Also, the scientists of the laboratory visited very unusual places. For example, Yuri Dvornikov took part at the expedition “Arctic Floating University-2021” on the Scientific expedition vessel “Mikhail Somov”, and Mikhail Varentsov did his research in Spitsbergen.

The results of these field expeditions were reflected not only in scientific areas and publications, but also in the creation of several videos. They became an important part of our international online summer school 3MUGIS, that took place online and combined both theoretical and practical blocks, including 14 lectures, 9 workshops and practical tasks, as well as the preparation and defense of group projects.

Our scientific results included more than 15 papers and 27 reports at international conferences. Articles published in 2021 amaze with their diversity and fresh perspective on some scientific fields and subjects. Most of them can be found on the Publications page on our website.

Laboratory experts have organized and participated in more than 27 of domestic and international symposia, seminars, conferences and round tables. Our scientists have become speakers at Third ESP Europe Regional conference, Urban Soils Symposium, URBIO webinar “Urban Biodiversity in time of pandemics”, EGU General Assembly 2021, International Conference INTERCARTO. INTERGIS 27 and many other events. In addition, the laboratory’s experts did not forget about educational activities and conducted fascinating public online lectures on the topic of climate, soil and green spaces.

Thus Prof. Riccardo Valentini, the head of Smart Urban Nature Lab opened the Module 6: Urban ecology of an educational program Master of Public Administration by giving a lecture “Urban Health and Green Infrastructures”. Participants of this program, organized by SKOLKOVO Moscow School of Management, are 500 managers from 100 largest cities in Russia: mayors, deputy mayors, deputy heads of the region, chief architects. The main objective of the program is to form leaders who will act as drivers of the development of Russian cities.

Prof. Riccardo Valentini and Dr. Elvira Dovletyarova, the head of Agro-Technological Institute, took part at 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.

We tried a new format of discussions and held strategic sessions. In the format of a team brainstorming session, we discussed the concept of the Smart Urban Nature portal, the goals and vision of the future of SUN Lab, possible ways of developing our projects and creating new ones.

Our soil-ecological laboratory has successfully passed all the necessary stages and was accredited by the Federal Agency for Accreditation. This confirms the high level of professionalism of the laboratory staff, as well as the quality of the research carried out by it. We sincerely congratulate Yulia Sotnikova, head of the laboratory, and the entire team on this achievement and wish new and large-scale orders.

Probably one of the most outstanding achievements for us this year was the defense of Ph.D. thesis by Olga Romzaykina. Once again, we congratulate Olga, her scientific advisor Vyacheslav Vasenev and the entire team with such a significant event. And we want to wish ourselves to double this result every new year.

We would like to wish all our colleagues and friends fruitful and ambitious projects, high standards in work and a lot of energy and ideas.

Happy New Year!

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