Introducing James Lea: New Lecturer in Glacial Geomorphology

Picture1

Post by Dr. James Lea

I’m James Lea, and I’ve just started in the department as a new lecturer in glacial geomorphology.

My research looks at how glacial and geomorphic processes can aid our understanding of the past, present, and potential future behaviour of glaciers and ice sheets, though I also have more general interests in Quaternary environments, remote sensing, and numerical modelling techniques.

One of the main areas I research is the behaviour of tidewater glaciers (those that flow into the sea), since these are amongst the largest and fastest on the planet, and potentially the most likely drivers of future rapid sea level rise. I started to study these types of glaciers during my PhD at the University of Aberdeen, where I reconstructed the last 250 years of behaviour at the largest and most dynamic tidewater glacier in SW Greenland (the catchily named Kangiata Nunaata Sermia).

As part of this, I used a variety of information including satellite imagery, explorer’s photographs, geomorphology, and forgotten diaries of early Greenland colonists to reconstruct glacier positions. The result was the longest observation based record of tidewater glacier dynamics anywhere in Greenland, which I then was able to use to test whether a numerical model could adequately simulate the decadal to centennial behaviour of these glaciers.

Picture2

Following my PhD, I moved from Aberdeen to Stockholm University, Sweden to take a postdoc position looking at performing simulations of the former Svalbard-Barents Sea Ice Sheet (north of Scandinavia) that existed during the last glacial. During this time I was also researching how iceberg calving processes are incorporated into ice sheet models, with the aim of improving how this significant but poorly understood mechanism of ice loss is represented.

Picture3

In addition to these mostly model and remote sensing based studies, I also very much enjoy taking part in field-based research. Some of examples of this have included: nearly getting heat stroke in an Essex Quarry (Quantification of turbate structures through a subglacial till: dimensions and characteristics, Lea & Palmer, 2014); standing in a lake for 6 hours in the middle of the Swedish winter coring for sediments (Timing of the first drainage of the Baltic Ice Lake synchronous with the onset of Greenland Stadial 1, Muschitiello, Lea, et al., 2015); and hiking round Greenland for 4 weeks at a time carrying everything on my back (Terminus driven retreat of a major Greenlandic tidewater glacier during the early 19th century, Lea et al., 2014a; Fluctuations of a major Greenlandic tidewater glacier driven by changes in atmospheric forcing, Lea et al., 2014b).

If you have any questions just drop me an email (j.lea@liverpool.ac.uk), or call by my office (Rm404 in the Roxby Building) to say hello!

Advertisements

‘Knowing me, Knowing you’

 By Mark Green

I have just joined the department to take up a Lectureship in Health Geography here at the University of Liverpool.

Mark Green

Mark himself!

My research interests lie in two interconnected areas. Firstly, I am interested in how body weight and physical activity vary within the UK population, as well as their association to various health outcomes. Secondly, I am interested in examining how neighbourhoods influence health outcomes and behaviours. I also have a broad interest in social inequalities in health and in understanding the processes through which they persist.

I joined the department having previously been based at ScHARR (School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield), where I was a Research Associate in Public Health (2013-2015). I was attached to two large research projects during this post:

  • The Yorkshire Health Study: A survey of residents of Yorkshire collected every three years which began in 2010-2012. The aim of the survey is to better understand the health needs of the population of Yorkshire, as well as investigate the associations between a variety of personal, social and behavioural factors to long term health conditions. The study was funded by the NIHR CLAHRC for Yorkshire and the Humber.
  • An analysis of the associations between the density of different types of shops which sell alcohol and alcohol-related admissions to hospitals at a small geographical scale (2002/03 to 2013/14). The study was funded by Alcohol Research UK.
gbd_obesity

Mark is involved in the Global Burden of Disease study, which estimates worldwide trends in health. This figure is of the prevalence of overweight and obesity (source: Ng et al., 2014, Lancet, 384: 766–81).

Despite having a Public Health background, I am a Geographer by trade. I completed my PhD in Geography at the University of Sheffield (2010-2013), entitled ‘Death in England and Wales: Using a classificatory approach for researching mortality’ (supervised by Dr Daniel Vickers and Prof. Danny Dorling). My PhD explored the clustering of mortality patterns at a small scale for England and Wales through the creation of an area classification. I also have a MSc and BA(Hons) in geographical-related disciplines both from the University of Sheffield.

phd

Mark’s PhD created an area classification of mortality patterns for England and Wales. Of course, as a geographer he loves maps! (Source: Green et al., 2014, Health & Place, 30, 196-204).

A list of my publications can be found here. If you have any questions or fancy a chat, feel free to pop by my office (Room 602c in the Roxby Building), or email me.

First Year Student’s Perspectives on what a Sustainable Liverpool Looks Like

Post by Dr Alex Nurse

A few weeks ago, Pete North and I ran a seminar with the first year students taking the ‘Living With Environmental Change’ module.  Following discussions about what makes a sustainable city, we wanted to see what the first years themselves thought about what Liverpool was doing both right and wrong, as well as what it could do moving forward.

To help us, we used the World Cafe model of discussion, breaking into seven groups, each with a specific topic.  They were decided by the key areas for action identified in the recently published Environmental Audit of Liverpool, which in turn became key focus areas for the city’s new Green Partnership.

Those areas were: Energy, Transport, Green Infrastructure, CO2 emissions, Eco-Innovation and Waste/recycling.  We also added an extra table discussing the City’s overall priorities.After that, we set the students to it – taking ten minutes on each table to discuss their thoughts, writing down their best ideas for those who would follow.

Student ideas about Waste & Recycling

Student ideas about Waste & Recycling

We felt that there some excellent ideas and some great examples of forward thinking that could really benefit the city.  One example included a shift to consider wastefulness alongside traditional conceptions of waste/recycling, with the group suggesting greater use of clothes/food banks. Whilst the students weren’t fans of the recent move by the City Council to suspend Liverpool’s bus lanes, they were excited by the prospect of the Scouscycles bike hire scheme.  Similarly they had numerous ideas that the city could adopt to encourage the more efficient use of transport such as car-pool lanes and they were very keen for the rollout of Merseytravel’s Walrus Card (the Liverpool equivalent of the Oyster Card) to be completed.

Eco-Innovation Ideas from the students

Eco-Innovation Ideas from the students

In the coming months, Low Carbon Liverpool will have the opportunity to present evidence to the upcoming Mayoral Commission on the Environment, as well as continuing to feed into the activity of the Liverpool Green Partnership.  We plan to use some of those best ideas to help shape the evidence that we present, and hope that some of them may be realised.

For more information on Low Carbon Liverpool, or to find out how to get involved, please visit www.lowcarbonliverpool.com

Young people and stories of the riots: Liverpool 1981 and 2011

Post by Dr Andy Davies, Dr Bethan Evans and Dr Matt Benwell

For the last year, we have been working with young people from KCC LIVE, a youth-led community radio station in Knowsley, on a participatory geographies project, funded by the British Academy, to produce a radio documentary about the riots in Liverpool in 1981 and 2011. In October 2012, 10 young people aged from 16-22 were recruited to take part in the project, a year later, a core of 6 young people remained involved, seeing the project through to the end.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As a participatory project, our aim was for the young people to drive the project. To begin with, we used a variety of focus group and participatory techniques, such as mind mapping, and participatory diagramming (and lots of post-it-notes), to explore the volunteers’ opinions of previous documentaries, work out what this one should be like, who they would like to interview, and what questions they would like to ask people who were associated with the 1981 and 2011 riots in Liverpool. Using their experiences as presenters and producers at KCC Live these themes were shaped into ones suitable for a radio documentary. Themes developed during these discussions included race, racism, community identity, policing, poverty and deprivation, and, media representations of young people.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Beginning in early 2013, the volunteers began interviewing people associated with the riots, including members of Merseyside Police, BBC Radio Merseyside and residents of the Liverpool 8/Toxteth area of Liverpool. The young people from KCC Live were responsible for conducting the interviews. In total 5 interviews were conducted, collecting around 4 hours of audio material.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Over the summer of 2013 the volunteers then analysed these recordings, working together to map out the key points from each interview and to identify themes that were important to discuss within the documentary. They then edited the recordings and in doing so coded the clips according to content (training us in how to use the audio software at the same time). They then worked with a senior member of the radio station who has experience in producing documentaries to work out music for the production, to record their own reflections and discussion that would form part of the final documentary.

The final 30 minute documentary is available via the youtube link at the top of this page or by clicking here. It includes extracts from the interviews, music and discussion by the young people themselves reflecting on what the interviewees were saying and providing commentary on what they thought were the main issues in 1981 and 2011. The documentary was broadcast on KCC LIVE with an accompanying discussion by other volunteers at the station. This full, hour long show including the documentary  and subsequent discussion can be listened to by clicking here.

SOES Photography competition 2013 award winner Timothy Shaw

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I (Timothy Shaw) was very pleased to receive the award for ‘best environment’ and ‘best overall’ photograph in the recent photography competition within the School of Environmental Sciences open to staff and students. The winning photo, Fairy Glen Waterfalls, proved you don’t have to travel the world to find impressive features and was in fact taken in nearby Sefton Park, Aigburth, a popular suburb of Liverpool attracting students and postgraduates alike as residents during their degrees . Congratulations to the other award winners, nominees and everyone who participated for submitting such a variety of interesting, well taken photos.

Minority Internal Migration in Europe – New Book

FINNEY PPC(240X156)pathDr Gemma Catney has just published a book Minority Internal Migration in Europe, co-edited with Dr Nissa Finney, a colleague at the Centre for Census and Survey Research (CCSR) at the University of Manchester. The book brings together leading scholars in the fields of migration, ethnicity and diversity to form a collection of 13 research chapters, examining patterns of residential mobility of minorities, and synthesising key themes, theories and methods. The additional introductory and concluding chapters of the book bring together these themes to form an agenda for future research on minority and immigrant internal migration in developed societies. The book also contains a comprehensive reference list containing the most recent and significant work in the field.

Immigration is a major component of population change for countries across Europe. However, questions remain about where immigrants go after they arrive in a new country. What are the patterns of internal migration of minorities (immigrants and their descendants), and what are the causes and implications of these flows? Migration within a nation state is a powerful force, redistributing the population and altering the demographic, social and economic composition of regions, cities and neighbourhoods. Yet relatively little is known about the significance of ethnicity in migration processes, or how population movement contributes to immigrant and ethnic integration. Minority internal migration is an emerging field of academic interest in many European countries in the context of high levels of immigration and increased political interest in inter-ethnic relations and place-based policies; countries represented include Belgium, the UK, Portugal, The Netherlands, Israel, Germany, Turkey, Greece, Sweden and Spain. The analyses presented in Minority Internal Migration in Europe make important contributions to theories of migration and minority integration and may inform policies that aim to respond to local population change and increasing diversity.

The book is part of Ashgate’s International Population Studies Series. Praise for Minority Internal Migration in Europe so far includes “…for scholars of minority populations this is the book to read in order to learn about the dynamics of relocation of those minorities which will influence the future shape of our ethnically diverse societies” (Prof. Phil Rees, School of Geography, University of Leeds) and “[the] chapters benefit greatly from following a consistent structure in which overviews of immigration history and policy lead on to discussion of conceptual and theoretical frameworks and to new, mainly nationally-based, empirical analyses. The editors’ opening and closing chapters reinforce the themes of importance of place and diversity of experience, serving as a powerful reminder of the dangers of generalising about immigration and its impacts on sub-national population structures and distributions. I also applaud their concluding research agenda that challenges us to take advantage of the 2010 census round and other sources to update and deepen our knowledge and understanding of this migration.” (Prof. Tony Champion, Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies, Newcastle University).

Valuable waterside real estate …

Post by Dr Pete North

The Liverpool Daily Post recently reported on the visit to Liverpool of what it billed as a world-leading urban design expert.   Canadian Professor Trevor Boddy argued that Liverpool has real estate “most cities would die for” in the form of prime land on the waterfront which would be a major draw for the Chinese market if it were developed into residential properties. Professor Boddy argued: “Waterside real estate, I don’t think in global terms you (Liverpool) realise how valuable that is, especially to Asian markets. No-one can compete with it.”

“Liverpool Waters” – Proposed plans for the redevelopment of the shoreline of the north of the city

I was thinking about this in the light of my Low Carbon Liverpool project, which is thinking about whether Liverpool has the policies in place to combine prosperity and social inclusion with what we need to do to avoid dangerous climate change – reducing emissions.  Despite my doubts about the possibility or desirability of Liverpool becoming ‘Shanghai on Mersey’ (look at the picture of Pudong below) my immediate thought was the incompatibility with reducing emissions with marketing proposed developments such as Liverpool Waters as pieds a tierre to the East Asian market.  Is this the best we can make of our world heritage waterfront?

Myself and colleagues in Pudong, Shanghai

Then this weekend I made a visit back to my old stamping ground, the Elephant and Castle, London.  Ten years ago I wrote a couple of papers recounting the experience of what was actually a creditable attempt to involve residents of a prime piece of real estate, the Elephant and Castle in large-scale regeneration plans focused on the redevelopment of a large local authority estate and the reconfiguring of a major transport interchange.  Using government SRB monies, Southwark Council formed a development board to oversee the regeneration which included local residents as directors. A significant amount of social housing was included in the plans: working people would still be able to live in the heart of a world city.  What was a laudable attempt at community engagement basically floundered due to the reluctance of officers to let go, to really involve the community in the plans – the gap between rhetoric and realty was too great, and the proposed developer pulled out.

10 years later a new development is in place, and the estate, the Heygate, is now empty and boarded up. A few hardy tenants and squatters are hanging on, with the district heating system switched off: it seems only a matter of time before they give up an unequal battle.  Nonetheless, many local residents and activists formed a group called Southwark Notes which continues to develop community-based visions for the Elephant.  Supported by the RGS’s Urban Geography Research Group and the academic journal Antipode they convened a conference on gentrification in South London. 

The Heygate Estate in Elephant and Castle, London

I attended, and the trip enabled me to revisit the estates on which I expended a large amount of shoe leather ten years ago. Ideas there were aplenty, but this time there was no way for residents to influence the regeneration from the inside as there had been ten years ago. All there was were sporadic opportunities to be consulted on agendas set by the powerful, which those at the conference condemned as inadequate.

The Elephant of the future would not be a place for current residents. No social housing was now proposed.  Rather, receipts from the development of prime inner city and waterfront real estates would be recycled into council housing and leisure facilities away from the river, where you would get more “bang for your buck”.

Looking at a number of newspaper cuttings in the groups archive, the difference between ten years ago and now became clear, and Professor Boddy’s views began to make some sense in the Liverpool context.  Would it make more sense to market Liverpool Waters to international elites, and spend the receipts on the housing, leisure centres, libraries, developing job and business opportunities and the like that North Liverpool needs? Given the scale of the spending cuts that local authorities can expect over coming years, might this be an example of Liverpool acting as what David Harvey calls a ‘entrepreneurial city’?  Or should we be calling for more socially inclusive and ecologically sustainable approaches to the regeneration that North Liverpool so badly needs?

North, P. (2003). Communities at the heart? Community action and urban policy in the UK. In Urban renaissance? New Labour, community and urban policy. Edited by R. Imrie and M. Raco. Bristol, The Policy Press: 121-138.

DeFilippis, J. and P. North (2004). The Emancipatory Community? Place, Politics and Collective Action in Cities. In The Emancipatory City? Paradoxes and Possibilities. Edited by L. Lees. London, Sage: 72-88.