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'Building back better landscapes' - UK landscape decision making after Covid-19

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The Landscape Decisions Programme aims to integrate social, ecological and mathematical sciences into landscape decision frameworks. It was initiated before the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted everybody’s lives. But how has Covid-19 changed the demand structure on UK landscapes and how we ought to adapt our decision making? This talk seeks to illuminate some of the issues emerging from the current discussion how to ‘Build Back Better’. Fundamental questions include the environmental impacts of the restrictions on movement and social distancing on landscapes, environmentally friendly pathways to economic recovery, the role of landscapes in achieving net zero carbon, air pollution in cities, disease transmission from wild animals to humans, the value of local recreational uses of landscapes to public health, social and economic inequalities, access to the countryside, changing cultural perceptions of landscapes and issues of equality and diversity. In this context it is important to understand the political, cultural and land ownership contexts in which landscape decisions in the UK are taken. A tension may arise when some ecosystem services such as air quality or flood retention benefit the wider population, but others benefit mainly the landowner or tenant. In this talk, I will reflect on how the Landscape Decisions Programme may be able to make a contribution to ‘building back better landscapes’ as we come out of the lockdown into a post-Covid world, and the contributions that social, ecological and mathematical sciences can make.

This talk is part of the Isaac Newton Institute Seminar Series series.

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