Volume 2, Issue 1 (March 2024) – 5 articles

Cover Story (View full-size image):
Goal 4 of the 2030 Agenda emphasises that education is a fundamental human right. Research shows that inclusive and quality education for all is one of the most important foundations for prosperity, health and gender equality in any society. However, significant inequalities remain in this area. Many different efforts have been made over time and continue to be made to raise the level of formal academic education among the inhabitants of a country. At the same time, it can be noted that regional differences within a country are still large, including between genders, with many being in the 'educational shadow' of universities. This problem is not always related to geographical distance; other factors in the individual's life situation are instead central and must therefore be taken into account more clearly.  View this manuscript

Review

09 January 2024

Climate Change Adaptation Strategies for Grape Cultivation in Yamanashi Prefecture of Japan

Climate change impacts agricultural production, especially fruits. Amongst fruits, the grape is economically valuable and highly affected by climate change. Therefore, climate adaptation strategies are essential in overcoming the detrimental effects of climate change on grape cultivation. The study summarises adaptation strategies for grape cultivation in general and focuses on climate change. The Yamanashi prefecture in Japan is taken for the case study. Our findings indicate a decline in grape production in Japan and Yamanashi prefecture. This is attributed to the effects of climate change. Following this, various support measures (adaptative, mitigation, others) provided by the Yamanashi government towards grape cultivation are summarised and analyzed. The study concludes by offering recommendations by drawing lessons from the literature review on adaptation strategies for grape cultivation, focusing on overcoming climate change impact in the context of Yamanashi prefecture.

Article

11 January 2024

Plant Proteins Availability in Europe and Asia: A Causality Analysis of Climate, Demographics, and Economic Factors

The article examines the availability of plant-based proteins in Europe and Asia, considering the challenges posed by climate, demographics, and economics. The availability of these proteins is crucial given the growing impact of climate, economic, and social variables. Indeed, these factors play a decisive role in the production and accessibility of plant-based proteins across countries. The study employed a causality analysis method using regression models to determine the relative impact of these factors on protein availability. Two indicators were prioritized: total national production and the daily accessible quantity per person. This approach made it possible to construct hypothetical trajectories, showcasing the interrelations between the different variables. The results show that the availability of plant-based proteins varies across regions. Factors such as rising temperatures, increasing pollutants, and rising prices of plant proteins are particularly concerning. In this context, legumes appear as a promising alternative. They offer resilience against climatic variations while being an excellent protein source. The findings also encourage rethinking our consumption. Meat, with its significant ecological footprint, should see its consumption decrease in favor of plant-based proteins, ensuring a more sustainable diet. To facilitate this transition, the importance of appropriate public policies and incentives for producing and consuming plant proteins is emphasized.

Comment

19 January 2024

New Geographical (Im)materialities in Rural Spaces for a Renewed Countryside in the Global North. Some Key Comments in the Rural Geography Debate

From the point of view of the new (im)materialities and the relevance of vernacular house in the process of rural change and restructuring, this contribution comments some possible innovative ways of research in rural studies. The objective of the study is to bring the attention about the relevance of vernacular houses in the process of global rural change and restructuring and their particular expressions in localities and vernacular houses. The methodology in qualitatively based on auto-biographical and ethnographical research based in three houses of study in a marginal rural area of central Spain. The main conclusions suggest a process of hybridization of people and vernacular houses with two different circuits: new comers and traditional populations.

Article

06 February 2024

Geographical Discrepancies in Higher Education in Sweden

There is a growing awareness of the importance of higher education in Sweden to reduce social differences in society. There are also various mechanisms that individuals relate to that favour either the status quo or change based on an ideal of higher education. Individuals live in a geographical context with a number of ‘key actors’ who influence the perception of higher education with varying degrees of intensity. Paradoxically, despite several reforms to broaden recruitment, it can be seen that relative inequalities persist in terms of residents with higher education in Sweden, not least from a regional perspective. The purpose of this article is to shed light on geographical differences in the higher education level of the population over time from a Swedish perspective. The study shows that higher education has a geographical centre-periphery perspective, but not exclusively. There are thus additional influencing factors that in various ways relate to the social context in which the individual is located. We can conclude from our empirical data that the reforms implemented to broaden recruitment have not had the desired effect, especially for the group of men. We find it likely that what differentiates women and men is who their individual ‘key players’ are and how they interact. From an academic education perspective and as an intermediary of higher education, there is therefore a challenge to be able to identify who these “key players” are in order to be able to be an important actor in contributing to the desired broader recruitment that the government is striving to achieve.

Review

29 February 2024

Conceptualizing an Informational Paradigm in the Pursuit of Sustainable Cities and Communities

This study seeks to conceptualize ‘Informational Sustainability’ by examining the dynamic relationship between Sustainable Development and the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Revolution through the exploration of two prominent urban theories—Lefebvre’s ‘Right to the City’ and Castells’ ‘Rise of the Network Society’—to underscore the importance of knowledge integration in the development of informed, sustainable communities. Conducting a cross-country comparison between developed and developing nations, the study underscores the critical role of informational transformation in enabling resource efficiency, knowledge sharing, innovation, and informed decision-making—key for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while also highlighting potential risks associated with resisting ICT adoption, including hindered growth, increased inequalities, and reduced social engagement and environmental stewardship. The core focus of this conceptual framework is to validate the precursor role of ICT in building sustainable cities and communities by identifying synergies in Sustainable Development, defining dimensions for effective ICT application within the dynamic interplay of global and local levels, and identifying implementation gaps and necessary presumptions for its effective use.

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