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# Honorable Mention for Natura Urbana

Honorable Mention for Natura Urbana

The new documentary 'Natura Urbana The Brachen of Berlin' by Professor Matthew Gandy, created as part of his Rethinking Urban Nature project, has been awarded one of three 'honourable mentions' at the Karlsruhe Science Film Days. The win comes shortly after the film's victory in the 'Best German BioDiversity Film' category of NaturaVision Film Festival last month. Congratulations to Matthew and all the team!

Watch the film trailer.

# How the search for mythical monsters can help conservation in the real world

How the search for mythical monsters can help conservation in the real world

Writing in The Conversation, Professor Bill Adams and Visiting Researcher Shane McCorristine explore the benefits that the search for mythical creatures such as the Yeti, Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster might have for conservation. Cryptozoology, as it is known, has a long shared history with conservation and exploration. Furthermore, the article argues, cryptozoologists help to map the world's still undiscovered species and bring a sense of wonder to our ecological imagination that should not be discounted.

# Struggling with home ownership and wellbeing

Struggling with home ownership and wellbeing

A new paper by Honorary Professor Susan Smith and team explores how individuals' wellbeing is affected by transitioning in and out of home ownership. Although it has long been assumed that home ownership is a basic foundation of wellbeing, this study of individuals in the UK and Australia found that those struggling on the edges of home ownership might in fact experience an increase in their wellbeing once they had left home ownership and moved into renting. This was particularly the case in the UK, where the social rented sector may provide support for those in this situation.

Professor Smith says of the project: "If the test of a well-functioning housing system is the wellbeing of its occupants, the findings of this paper present a challenge for regimes anchored on owner-occupation. The edges of ownership are too broad, and the path to outright ownership too precarious, for home ownership to retain its reputation as a crucible of wellbeing. Institutional differences may inspire sustainable solutions within jurisdictions, but cross-national convergences dominate the findings, and they question the therapeutic qualities once ascribed to ownership-centred housing systems in the English-speaking world."

# Amateur Musical Societies and Sports Clubs in Provincial France

Amateur Musical Societies and Sports Clubs in Provincial France

A new book by retired University Lecturer Dr Alan Baker explores how leisure groups in 19th century France served as expressions of the Revolutionary French concept of fraternité​. Amateur Musical Societies and Sports Clubs in Provincial France, 1848-1914 uses a mass of unpublished and hitherto unused sources in provincial and national archives, to analyse the history, geography and cultural significance of amateur musical societies and sports clubs in eleven départements of France between 1848 and 1914. It demonstrates that, although these voluntary associations drew upon and extended the traditional concept of cooperation and community, and the Revolutionary concept of fraternity, they also incorporated the fundamental characteristics of competition and conflict. Although intended to produce social harmony, in practice they reflected the ideological hostilities and cultural tensions that permeated French society in the nineteenth century.

# Mycotourism: bringing social, political and ecological stability to Northern Spain?

Mycotourism: bringing social, political and ecological stability to Northern Spain?

A new paper published in Ecosphere by Professor of Environmental Systems Analysis Ulf Buentgen and team explores a new model of 'mycotourism' emerging in central North-eastern Spain through mushroom industries. The paper describes how this novel branch of eco-tourism can help stabilize social and political structures and compensate for losses related to widespread unemployment and summer drought, as well as generate unexpectedly fruitful research opportunities.

Büntgen, U., J. Latorre, S. Egli, and F. Martínez-Peña. 2017. Socio-economic, scientific, and political benefits of mycotourism. Ecosphere 8(7):e01870. 10.1002/ecs2.1870

# Measures of poverty and well-being still ignore the environment – this must change

Measures of poverty and well-being still ignore the environment – this must change

Writing for The Conversation Department Reader Bhaskar Vira and Postdoctoral Research Associate Judith Schleicher explore the need to write the environment into our understandings of wealth and wellbeing. They argue that without nature, humans could be neither healthy nor happy, and yet the natural world can be completely ransacked without causing even a tiny blip on our usual measures of economic progress or poverty. Recognising that this needs to change is a crucial step towards building a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable society.

Read more …

# New paper: urban atmospheres

New paper: urban atmospheres

Professor of Cultural and Historical Geography Matthew Gandy's AAG annual lecture entitled "Urban atmospheres" is now published in the journal Cultural Geographies. The paper explores the questions: What is an urban atmosphere? How can we differentiate an 'atmosphere' from other facets of urban consciousness and experience? It uses wider cultural, political, and philosophical connotations of atmospheres as a focal point for critical reflections on space and subjectivity.

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# Interdisciplinary tree-ring research in the Republic of Tuva

Interdisciplinary tree-ring research in the Republic of Tuva

Together with a team of Russian archaeologists and ecologists from Karsnoyarsk, Ulf Büntgen (Professor of Environmental Systems Analysis) has been conducting fieldwork in the remote Republic of Tuva at the border between southern Siberia and northern Mongolia. During their two-week expedition, the interdisciplinary team was mainly searching for living trees and subfossil wood which can be used to improve and prolong existing climate reconstructions. The Republic of Tuva was chosen as it represents an important part of the homeland of nomadic step empires, such as the Scythians, Huns, Turks and Mongols. The role climate might have played in the rise and fall of these ancient, inner Eurasia cultures, however, remains unknown. Tuva's extremely continental climate allows scientists to develop temperature and drought sensitive tree-ring chronologies from the upper and lower treeline ecotones, respectively.

Based on a variety of different techniques, the newly collected material will be analysed both, in Krasnoyarsk as well as in Cambridge. The outcome is expected to help better understanding the causes and consequences of natural temperature variability during the last 2-3 millennia. The group is also hoping to contribute to the development of novel tree-ring records, which will enable the absolute dating of archaeological remains from some of the most famous Scythian "kurgan" burials, including Arzhan I and II.

# Policy windows for the environment: Tips for improving the uptake of scientific knowledge

Policy windows for the environment: Tips for improving the uptake of scientific knowledge

A new study by former Cambridge researcher David Christian Rose with Senior Research Associate Robert Doubleday and the Cambridge Centre for Science and Policy explores the impact of 'policy windows' on the impact of scientific research. The team have put together a series of four stages for scientists to best engage with the occurrence of policy windows to encourage evidence-led policy.

Paper reference:

David C. Rose, Nibedita Mukherjee, Benno I. Simmons, Eleanor R. Tew, Rebecca J. Robertson, Alice B.M. Vadrot, Robert Doubleday, William J. Sutherland, Policy windows for the environment: Tips for improving the uptake of scientific knowledge, Environmental Science & Policy

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# PhD student studies flowers of London Olympic Park

PhD student Marcus Nyman, part of the team working on Professor Matthew Gandy's ERC-funded project 'Rethinking Urban Nature' writes of his recent fieldtrip to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and the vast array of plantlife that he found there.

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