Image courtesy Sustainability

HUAccessibility and Transportation Equity

Anzhelika Antipova, Salima Sultana, Yujie Hu, & James P. Rhudy, Jr.

Article first published online: 30 APR 2020 Sustainability

DOI: 10.3390/su12093611

ABSTRACT: It is an honor to write an Editorial to this Special Issue (SI) of Sustainability. The SI addresses aspects of accessibility and equity and provides lessons from studies in various settings including the United States, China, Sweden, Poland, Peru, and Portugal to name a few, which collectively can contribute to a more sustainable and equitable transportation globally.
Accessibility is strongly tied to policymaking and thus has been extensively studied in a number of disciplines including transportation, geography, and urban planning. Accessibility can be defined in a variety of ways, recognizing influence by physical, political, economic, and social factors. It measures, for example, the potential of various opportunities for interaction, and the relative ease for people in an area to reach opportunities [1]. Various forms of accessibility are closely interdependent including transport availability and connectivity, communication, spatial, social, economic, physical, and temporal accessibility; thus, many novel measures are often taken to study different aspects and conceptualizations of accessibility. For example, as Moscicka et al. (2019) in this SI note, data from mobile phones can be used to study resident mobility, GPS-based location systems provide data on urban vehicle traffic, and the OpenStreetMap-based geospatial data are useful in research on urban public transportation networks, bicycle trails, as well as for studies on the availability of transportation for people with mobility restrictions. Additionally, Google Maps can provide an accurate measurement of travel times for different travel modes for various times of the day.
In this introduction to the Special Issue of Sustainability on accessibility and equity in transportation, we attempt to synthesize key lessons from the issue’s fifteen substantive articles. These involve accessibility-related lessons including accessibility improvement in railways; optimizations of cross-border road accessibility, intercity networks, and pedestrian access to public transportation; as well as various aspects in urban transportation planning such as urban mobility, integration of bike-sharing, and electronically powered personal mobility vehicles. Other lessons cover equity-related aspects of transportation including the provision of the maximally full information to underserved populations to lessen the burden of unequitable access to urban facilities, ensuring socially equitable transportation planning and reducing burdens in commuting cost among low-income commuters. Finally, remaining lessons link equity back to accessibility with discussions on accessibility to public transport for disabled as well as visually impaired people, and equitable job access by poor commuters.

Read the full publication at Sustainability.



Image courtesy Dr. Darla Munroe

Land Systems and Climate Justice

Speaker: Dr. Darla Munroe

Professor & Department Chair, Department of Geography, The Ohio State University

Friday, 21 February 2020

3:00 – 4:30 PM

Reitz Union G330

University of Florida

There is greater recognition among IPCC and other scientific networks of the complex role land systems play in adaptation to and mitigation of climate change. Encouraging key shifts in land systems to more sustainable uses is necessary to food security, societal well-being, and the health of terrestrial ecosystems. However, policy interventions that do not address how and why current challenges reflect the profitability of environmental degradation, and that fail to prioritize social justice are unlikely to address root causes of unsustainable land systems.

Ohio State University, Department of Geography Professor & Department Chair, Dr. Darla Munroe will present her research in the second of two talks for the University of Florida 2020 Anderson Research Lecture series, in a talk titled Land Systems and Climate Justice.

Dr. Darla Munroe is an economic, and human-environment geographer specializing in landscape-level, long-run environment-economy relationships, with a particular focus on how political and economic restructuring manifest in local land-use change. She is a member of the Scientific Steering Committee for the Global Land Programme and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Land Use Science. Her research is comparative, addressing land systems, particularly forests at the urban-rural interface in Eastern Europe, Central America, and Southeast Asia. Her current research focuses on boom-bust natural resource economies and forested community change in Appalachian Ohio.

DE CARVALHOUrban vegetation loss and ecosystem services: The influence on climate regulation and noise and air pollution

Roberta Mendonça De Carvalho and Claudio Fabian Szlafsztein

Article first published online: 5 NOV 2018 Environmental Pollution

DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2018.10.114

ABSTRACT: Ecosystem services are present everywhere, green vegetation coverage (or green areas) is one of the primary sources of ecosystem services considering urban areas sustainability and peoples urban life quality. Urban vegetation cover loss decreases the capacity of nature to provision ecosystem services; the loss of urban vegetation is also observed within the Amazon. This study aims at identifying urban vegetation loss and relate it to the provision of ecosystem services of reduction of air quality, reduction of air pollution, and climate regulation. Urban vegetation coverage loss was calculated using NDVI on LANDSAT 5 imagery over a 23-year period from 1986 to 2009. NDVI thresholds were arbitrarily selected, and complemented by in locus observation, to establish guidelines for quantitative (area) and qualitative (density) evolution of green cover, divided in six different categories, named as water, bare soil, poor vegetation, moderate vegetation, dense vegetation and very dense vegetation. Data on air pollution, noise pollution and temperature were outsourced from previous works. Measurement show a significant loss of very dense, dense and moderate vegetation coverage and an increase in poor vegetation and bare soil areas, in accordance to increase in air and noise pollution, and local temperature, and provides positive refashions between the loss of urban green coverage and decrease in ecosystem services.

Read the full publication at Environmental Pollution






The Department of Geography at the University of Florida, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, invites applications for a full-time, nine-month, tenure-accruing position, at the level of Assistant Professor to begin August 16, 2019. The department seeks an outstanding candidate with expertise in any of the following fields Environmental Change / Climate Change / Sustainability, whose expertise is interdisciplinary and will complement existing strengths in the department and across campus. The department seeks dynamic, highly innovative candidates across a broad range of specialties that bridge physical and social sciences. A particular interest in; the use of climate and environmental data, models and projections in societal applications, adoption of sustainable practices, adaptation, increasing resilience, implementation of policy, and/or planning at the regional level, is desirable.

Primary responsibilities include high-quality research in any of the listed fields of Environmental Change/ Climate Change/ Sustainability and a 2-2 teaching assignment, particularly developing introductory and advanced courses at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Applicants should have a strong record of research and scholarly activities within these broad fields; experience and demonstrated commitment to excellence in teaching; and a proven ability to communicate effectively with students, professionals, and the general public. Additionally, potential to engage with the University of Florida’s ‘Beyond 120’ and ‘Quest’ Programs would be considered an advantage and should be addressed in the application materials.

The Department of Geography has 17 active faculty members, who conduct teaching and research in a broad spectrum across our four focus areas, which are Geospatial Analysis & Techniques, Medical Geography in Global Health, Earth System Science, and Global Environmental & Social Change. It offers BS/BA, MS/MA, and PhD degree tracks, including online and distance learning options for coursework. The department has two computer-lab classrooms and provides a high-speed on-line computing environment via UFAPPs (, where any student and faculty can access software applications, such as ArcGIS, GeoDa, ENVI, ERDAS, MATLAB, and SPSS, from any computing device, from any location, at any time. High Performance Computing facilities are available on campus. Applicants are encouraged to visit the website ( to learn more about the Department of Geography.


The successful candidate should possess a doctoral degree in Geography, Meteorology, Atmospheric Sciences, Environmental Sciences, or a related field prior to August 15, 2019.

Application Instructions

For full consideration, applications must be submitted online at: and must include: (1) a letter summarizing the applicant’s qualifications, ongoing research directions, and interests, (2) a complete curriculum vitae; (3) teaching/research statement that discusses qualifications to teach courses in the stated area of expertise, such as environmental change, climate/meteorology, climate change, applied climate science, or sustainability; (4) a diversity statement that addresses past and/or potential contributions to diversity through teaching, research, and service; and (5) three confidential letters of recommendation. Review of applications will begin October 30, 2018 and will continue until the position is filled.

Inquiries about the position should be directed to the Search Committee Chair, Dr. Joann Mossa, at

All candidates for employment are subject to a pre-employment screening, which includes a review of criminal records, reference checks, and verification of education.

The selected candidate will be required to provide an official transcript to the hiring department upon hire. A transcript will not be considered “official” if a designation of “Issued to Student” is visible. Degrees earned from an educational institution outside of the United States require evaluation by a professional credentialing service provider approved by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES), which can be found at

The University of Florida is an equal opportunity institution dedicated to building a broadly diverse and inclusive faculty and staff. The University of Florida invites all qualified applicants, including minorities, women, veterans and individual with disabilities to apply. The University of Florida is a public institution and subject to all requirements under Florida Sunshine and Public Records laws. Searches are conducted in accordance with Florida’s Sunshine Law. If an accommodation due to disability is needed to apply for this position, please call (352) 392-2477 or the Florida Relay System at (800) 955-8771 (TDD).

Arara indigenous peoples and fisheries affected by the Belo Monte dam in the Brazilian Amazon. Image courtesy Dr. Simone Athayde

The newly created UF Biodiversity Institute (UFBI) awarded a Faculty Interdisciplinary Seed Grant to a joint effort by UF faculty, students and Brazilian collaborators of the Amazon Dams Network (Rede Barragens Amazônicas -ADN/RBA), hosted in the Tropical Conservation and Development Program (TCD) in the Center for Latin American Studies, in partnership with the UF Department of Geography, and the Levin College of Law.

The project “Incorporating traditional ecological knowledge and biocultural diversity into policy-making for infrastructure development across the Amazon” aims to develop an innovative approach to translate biocultural diversity into development policy and decision-making, through the creation of a transdisciplinary pilot training program for indigenous “paralegals” – providing indigenous communities with sufficient capacity to participate in large infrastructure planning processes across the Amazon Conceptually, this term is similar to “para-taxonomist” and “para-ecologist” terms already used to support community-based and citizen science programs for biodiversity assessment and conservation in the region. The framework and tools resulting from this project can serve as a model to inform UFBI strategies and programs for documenting and monitoring human and cultural dimensions of biodiversity, as well as to translate research on biocultural diversity into natural resource management, protection and sustainability.

The project will be developed through a collaborative effort by UF and Brazilian faculty and students, as well as Amazonian indigenous peoples, lawyers and public defenders. At UF, project leaders include Dr. Bette Loiselle (PI, TCD Director); Dr. Simone Athayde (Co-PI, co-leader ADN/RBA/TCD); Thomas T. Ankersen, J.D. (Legal Skills Professor and Director, Conservation Clinic, Center for Governmental Responsibility, UF Levin College of Law); Dr. Cynthia S. Simmons(Associate Professor, Department of Geography and TCD); Timothy E. Mclendon, J.D. (Staff Attorney, Center for Governmental Responsibility, UF Levin College of Law); and Dr. Michael Heckenberger (Department of Anthropology). UF Student Assistant is Brazilian lawyer and doctoral student in geography Ms. Maíra Irigaray. In Brazil, project leaders include Dr. Robertson Azevedo and Dr. Felício Pontes (Public Defenders, Ministério Público); Dr. Odair Giraldin (Universidade Federal do Tocantins-UFT); Dr. Paula Moreira (RBA/UFT); Dr. Juliana Laufer (RBA/UFT); Dr. Lígia Soares (RBA/UFT); Dr. Teodoro Irigaray (Universidade Federal do Maro Grosso-UFMT) and MS. Neiva Araújo (Universidade Federal de Rondônia – UNIR). Three Brazilian exchange students currently at UF – Monise Busquets (UFT), Adriana Medeiros (UNIR) and Esther Mesquita (UFPA) – will also be involved in this effort.

UFBI seed funds will leverage existing resources from ongoing programs in each of the participating departments. With support from NSF and CAPES projects, the TCD Program is currently sponsoring four doctoral students from Brazil. Using the facility of the College of Law’s Program in Sustainable Development Law in Costa Rica, and support from UFBI, Ms. Esther Mesquita, a doctoral exchange student from Universidade Federal do Pará (UFPA) in Brazil, will be partnered with UF Law students Honor Humphrey and Pilar Morales Giner, and charged with assisting with research on basic infrastructure law and planning processes, and in drafting a pilot guide for training purposes. Using the facility of the College of Law’s Brazilian Judges and Prosecutors Training Program, UFBI seed funding will support the participation of Amazonian public defenders in an annual workshop at UF, who will develop law and policy analyses for incorporating biocultural diversity and a formal procedural role for indigenous paralegals under Brazilian law. Seed funding will also support a UFBI workshop that brings together indigenous leaders to validate and share the framework and tools that result from it.

Expected outcomes from this project include: 1) Larger proposals to be submitted to NSF and private foundations, to support project implementation and continued engagement by participating units, 2) A validated training manual for incorporating biocultural diversity and training indigenous paralegals in infrastructure development processes, 3) A white paper (policy analysis) that characterizes current law and policies governing planning processes in Amazonian infrastructure development with recommendations for reform, and 4) Outreach materials in accessible languages and varying formats, including digital platforms.

2016 Champions for Change Ms. Paula Roetscher and Mr. Tyler James. Image courtesy Dr. Sadie Ryan.
2016 Champions for Change Ms. Paula Roetscher and Mr. Tyler James. Image courtesy Dr. Sadie Ryan.

Two Geography undergraduate students were recognized with the Champions for Change Award at the Earth Day celebration this week.

Ms. Paula Roetscher (double major in Geography and Sustainability Studies and a minor in Arabic Language and Literature) and Mr. Tyler James (major in Psychology, minor in Geography) both received the award for their research and advocacy work. The Champions for Change awards recognize individuals or groups in the UF community who have made significant contributions in the areas of sustainability and health in their time at UF and are issued by a partnership of the Office of Sustainability and Healthy Gators.

Ms. Roetscher received the award in recognition of her work to make Gainesville the first Welcoming City in Florida in collaboration with City Commission and various community organizations. She was also recognized for role in organizing a conference on immigration issues and an event about Islamophobia in the past months. Finally, her work with Dr. Jane Southworth in mapping the growth of refugee camps over time based on satellite images was also mentioned.

Mr. James received the award in recognition of his Additionally, he was recognized for his work with GatorWell Health Promotion Services in developing population-based health communication interventions to promote behavior change surrounding sleep hygiene and helmet safety. In addition, he has served on the Student Health Advisory Board since August 2015 where he reviews the plans, policies, and procedures of the Student Health Care Center. Tyler is also a HIV testing, prevention, and linkage counselor with the Florida Department of Health, working through GatorWell’s HIV testing program. In this position, Tyler has conducted peer counseling and outreach tabling to educate UF students on how to reduce their individual risk of being exposed to HIV. In addition to being a health education practitioner, Tyler has conducted research with Dr. Sadie Ryan in the area of HIV stigma in college students – to help identify ways to potentially reduce HIV stigma to increase accessibility to care.

Upon graduation, Ms. Roetscher will start a full time job as the Executive Director of the newly founded nonprofit Welcoming Gainesville, Inc. and Mr. James will be continuing on at UF, starting a PhD in Health Behavior at the College of Health and Human Performance.

Congratulations, Paula and Tyler!