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Department of Geography




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# New job: Lecturer in Geography

The Department of Geography wishes to appoint a University Lecturer with interests in interdisciplinary teaching and research relating to the geographies of environmental risk. The successful candidate will hold a PhD in Geography or a cognate subject, will show evidence of high quality research publications and have a proven record of winning research grants. They will have strong teaching experience and will play a central role in launching and delivering two new Masters programmes, on Anthropocene Studies and Holocene Climates, from October 2020, including co-ordinating a new graduate course on inter-disciplinary theories and concepts. They will contribute, as appropriate, to the academic administration of the Department and the University.

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# Etarea- the city that never was

Designed in 1967 for a site near Prague, Czechoslovakia but never built, Etarea was to be an ideal communist city, where automated infrastructures would provide citizens with opportunities for meaningful self-realization. In a new paper Cambridge Geography researcher Maros Krivy discusses a range of influences including Marxist humanism, cybernetics and systems ecology, and examines how Etarea's architects grappled with tensions between political emancipation and cybernetic control.

# The cultural significance of carbon-storing peatlands to rural communities

A group of UK and Peruvian researchers lead by Cambridge Geographer Christopher Schulz have carried out the first detailed study of how rural communities interact with peatlands in the Peruvian Amazon, a landscape that is one of the world's largest stores of carbon.

Tropical peatlands, found in Southeast Asia, Africa, Central and South America, play an important, and, until recently, underappreciated role for the global climate system, due to their capacity to process and store large amounts of carbon. Across the world, peat covers just three per cent of the land's surface, but stores one third of the Earth's soil carbon.

This work represents the first detailed survey of how local communities view and interact with these important landscapes. The results are reported in the journal Biological Conservation.

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# Five reasons ‘green growth’ won’t save the planet

Writing in The Conversation, PhD student Oliver Taherzadeh argues that narratives of 'green growth'- helping the environment while continuing to expand the economy- may weaken rather than strengthen efforts to prevent changing climates, vanishing biodiversity and depleting resources.

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# How I decided not for profit was right for me: Geography careers

In a new blog, Cambridge Geography graduate Jen Durrant talks about her career journey in the third sector.

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# Children who walk to school less likely to be overweight or obese, study suggests

New work by Cambridge Geography PhD student Lander Bosch suggests that Children who regularly walk or cycle to school are less likely to be overweight or obese than those who travel by car or public transport.

Based on results from more than 2000 primary-age schoolchildren from across London, the researchers found that walking or cycling to school is a strong predictor of obesity levels, a result which was consistent across neighbourhoods, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds. The results are reported in the journal BMC Public Health.

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# Amount of carbon stored in forests reduced as climate warms

Accelerated tree growth caused by a warming climate does not necessarily translate into enhanced carbon storage, an international study suggests.

The team, led by Professor Ulf Buentgen, found that as temperatures increase, trees grow faster, but they also tend to die younger. When these fast-growing trees die, the carbon they store is returned to the carbon cycle.

The results, reported in the journal Nature Communications, have implications for global carbon cycle dynamics. As the Earth's climate continues to warm, tree growth will continue to accelerate, but the length of time that trees store carbon, the so-called carbon residence time, will diminish.

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# Weak and wobbly or strong and stable?: Salt marshes as buffers against coastal erosion

As the UK prepares for climate change impacts at the coastal zone, research from Cambridge Coastal Research Unit (CCRU) determines the resistance of coastal salt marshes to extreme storms.

Salt marshes fringe much of the world's low-lying coasts. They act as a first line of defence against storm surge waves, reducing storm water levels and the run up of waves on landward sea defences. As a result, vulnerable shorelines and engineered coastal defences are at lower risk of suffering under the impact of climate change, for example through sea level rise and intense storms. Little is known, however, of the resistance of these natural buffers to the continued battering by waves and tides and even less is known about what kind of storm it takes to erode these protective fringes, and thus leaving the coast and the populations living alongside it considerably more vulnerable.

This short film explains how a team of Geographers and Geologists is planning to shed light on what makes salt marshes resistant to storm waves, using the latest remote sensing and soil scanning technologies alongside one of the world's largest indoor wave flumes.

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# Cambridge alumna wins RGS Royal Medal

Dame Fiona Reynolds, alumna of the Department of Geography and Master of Emmanuel College, has been awarded the 2019 RGS Royal Patron's Medal for "shift[ing] the debate on conservation and the environment into new territory for many people in the UK". Fiona, who previously served as Director General of the National Trust, as well Director of the Women's Unit in the Cabinet Office, Director of the Council for the Protection of Rural England (now Campaign to Protect Rural England) and Secretary to the Council for National Parks, spoke recently at our RGS public panel event on 'The Spirit and Purpose of Geography'.

# Workshop invitation: Urban energy and housing in Africa and Asia: inter-disciplinary dialogues

A one-day workshop on 'Urban energy and housing in Africa and Asia: inter-disciplinary dialogues workshop' will be held on 30th May. This will conclude Dr Charlotte Lemanski's British Academy Cities and Infrastructure project grant, 'Energy innovation for low-cost housing in India and South Africa: strategies for inter-disciplinary dialogue'.

The event will be held on 30 May 2019, 9am-4.30pm, SG2, Alison Richards Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge.

The workshop will have a number of exciting speakers across geography, urban, infrastructure and energy studies. In addition to summarising the core findings of the British Academy project, the workshop will discuss broader issues related to the challenges of energy and housing in India and Africa. The event is intentionally inter-disciplinary. There will be a drinks reception afterwards.

Please book by e-mail to by 10th May, 2019 if you are interested in attending. The event is free but numbers are limited.

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