Projects

Below are some of the current funded projects I am involved in or have recently completed:

Title: Working towards recovery of marine produce in Minami-Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture

Funder: Minami-Soma City Government

Investigators: Prof Midori Kawabe (PI) and Prof Hiroshi Kohno (Co-I), Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology; Dr Leslie Mabon (Co-I), Robert Gordon University

In this project we will work collaboratively with Minami-Soma City Government to understand barriers and opportunities for recovery of marine produce in the area. We will undertake analysis of social media postings, and host science cafes in Minami-Soma itself.

 

Title: Spatial relationship of heat hazard and socio-economic characteristics in urban neighbourhoods – the role of green infrastructure

Funder: Royal Society of Edinburgh – Ministry of Science and Technology Taiwan Joint Research Projects Scheme

Investigator: Dr Leslie Mabon and Dr Wan-yu Shih (Ming-Chuan University, Taiwan)

This project evaluates the role of environmental and social urban sensing techniques in understanding the relationship between green infrastructure, urban temperature, and social vulnerability to climate change hazards. Both Scotland and Taiwan face serious threats from climate change, yet lie outside of formal international climate mechanisms. Actions at the sub-national scale, in particular municipal government via land use planning, are hence crucial strategies for both countries to respond to the health and welfare risks posed by climate change. Within this, the concept of green infrastructure – greenery and green spaces at all scales – is gaining academic interest in both Scotland and Taiwan as means of adapting to climate change at the urban scale. However, planners and municipal decision-makers require accessible and understandable evidence in order to ensure that green infrastructure interventions in the built environment deliver maximum benefit to sections of the population who are at greatest risk. Moreover, provision of such evidence is complicated by the spatial differences in physical exposure and socio-economic vulnerability that exist within cities, and by the role of less tangible cultural drivers in determining societal vulnerability to climate hazards.

This collaboration therefore takes one climate hazard – extreme temperature – and uses this as a focal point to connect Scotland- and Taiwan-based researchers working on urban sensing for climate change adaptation via green infrastructure. The case studies of Taipei and Glasgow are taken. The research is based around the connection of remote sensing-derived data on green infrastructure and surface temperature with socio-economic datasets for Taipei and Glasgow.

 

Title: Energy precarity and reducing heat-related health risks from climate change in subtropical Asian cities

Funder: Wellcome Trust Seed Awards in Humanities and Social Sciences

Investigators: Dr Leslie Mabon (PI); Dr Wanyu Shih (Ming-Chuan University, Taiwan); Dr Minh Ha-Duong (University of Science and Technology Hanoi, Viet Nam); Dr Yuriko Hayabuchi (Kyushu University, Japan)

The research has the overall aim of assessing the effect of energy policy on health risks associated with urban heatwaves. This foundation-building project evaluates methods for integrating measures for physical exposure to heat, socio-economic vulnerability, and potential future energy pricing. This aim is evaluated through application to the subtropical Asian cities of Hanoi, Taipei and Fukuoka.

 

Title: “Governing the low-carbon energy transition in fossil fuel-dependent coastal regions”

Funder: Regional Studies Association, UK

Investigator: Dr Leslie Mabon (PI)

This project looks at transitions away from a fossil fuel-based economy in two regions in Japan – Iwaki in Fukushima Prefecture, and Tomakomai/Muroran in Hokkaido. Within this, the role of urban planning – and the potential for climate adaptation and mitigation-related activities in creating a managed transition for the regions – will be evaluated.

 

Title: “Evaluation of community engagement on climate change adaptation through art”, Funder: Adaptation Scotland, via the Scottish Government

Investigators: Dr Leslie Mabon (RGU), Creative Carbon Scotland, Aberdeen Adapts/Aberdeen City Council, Sniffer, Adaptation Scotland (via Scottish Government)

This is an evaluation of arts-based engagement with the Middlefield community in Aberdeen (coincidentally a site of an upcoming green infrastructure project) around climate change adaptation. The engagement is run by Creative Carbon Scotland and Adaptation Scotland, and feeds into Aberdeen City Council’s Aberdeen Adapts plan. The evaluation is led by Leslie Mabon, and encompasses not only community engagement but also the co-design process itself.

 

Title: Towards methodologies for assessing effects of climate change on coastal communities – Vietnam and Scotland

Funder: British Academy International Partnership and Mobility Scheme

Investigator: Dr Leslie Mabon (PI), Dr Natascha Mueller-Hirth, Dr Chris Yuill (with Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, Hanoi, Vietnam)

Vietnam and Scotland illustrate the complexity and heterogeneity in how climate change may affect coastal societies – Vietnam has called for international support in capacity-building for adaptation, whereas in Scotland mitigation via transition to a low-carbon society is altering socio-economic structures. This proposal uses these extremes to assess potential for a common methodology for understanding climate impacts on coastal communities, connecting institutions working at these polar opposites – Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen and the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences in Hanoi. This pump-priming project facilitates bilateral exchange – RGU researchers combining intensive methods training for VASS early-career scholars with involvement in current research on the Vietnamese coast, and VASS scholars participating in researching UK policy and community engagement by return visit.

 

Title: Public and stakeholder perceptions of sub-seabed carbon dioxide storage in Tomakomai, Japan

Funder: UK CCS Research Centre International Collaboration Fund

Investigator: Dr Leslie Mabon (PI) (with Research Centre of Innovative Technology for the Earth, Kyoto, Japan)

This project focused on low-carbon energy deployment in Tomakomai City and the Iburi Subprefecture region of Hokkaido, Japan, involving Dr Leslie Mabon of Robert Gordon University and partners at the Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth (RITE) in Kyoto. There was a particular focus on how informed citizens and key stakeholders in Tomakomai City and surrounding towns such as Muroran and Yubari viewed the decline of extractive industries such as oil and gas production, and on the potential for low-carbon energy technologies such as carbon dioxide capture and storage to facilitate the transition to a sustainable economic base. UK policy-makers, operators and scholars are commencing engagement with communities and other users of the environment as part of progress towards full-scale CCS deployment. Yet there are currently few global opportunities to study societal responses to actual large-scale CO2 storage projects – let alone existing examples of offshore CO2 storage of the kind planned for the UK. UKCCSRC funding allowed Dr Mabon to travel to Japan to work alongside researchers at RITE on the social dimensions of the Tomakomai project. Requested funding facilitated interviews with key stakeholders (e.g. fishing cooperatives, shipping companies, environmental organisations) and community members in Tomakomai itself, as well as participant observation in the community. Dr Mabon spent 2 months in Japan, to allow data processing, analysis and writing-up for publication alongside Japanese colleagues, as well as interchange on social science research methods for CCS across cultures. The timing of the proposed work – early 2016 – coincided with the commencement of CO2 injection at the Tomakomai site, meaning this research will also assess initial reactions to communication around storage monitoring.

 

Title: UK-Japan Network on Consensus-Based Environmental Governance

Funder: GB Sasakawa Foundation

Investigator: Dr Leslie Mabon (PI) (with Dr Natascha Mueller-Hirth (RGU); Dr Claire Haggett, Dr Mhairi Aitken, Dr Emily Creamer, Bregje van Veelen (University of Edinburgh); Dr Stephen Elstub (Newcastle University); Prof Taisuke Miyauchi, Dr Masatoshi Sasaoka, Dr Naoyuki Mikami (Hokkaido University); Dr Yasushi Maruyama (Nagoya University)).

GB Sasakawa Foundation funding initiated a network-based collaboration between academics in Scotland/northern England and Japan working on issues of environmental governance, with a common interest in consensus-based decision making. Two workshops were held, one in Sapporo in spring 2016 and one in Edinburgh in autumn 2016. Academics from the partner countries took part in exchange involving both presentation-based sessions and also visits to field sites in each other’s countries. Based on common themes and ideas – and interpersonal relations – established during the workshops, the aim is now to develop peer-reviewed publications and topics for larger funding applications.

 

Title: Stakeholder and public understandings of CO2-Enhanced Oil Recovery

Funder: SCCS Joint Industry Project

Investigator: Dr Leslie Mabon and Chris Littlecott

This project developed a series of policy scenarios for the future of the North Sea, and trialed them with relevant stakeholders and citizens in Aberdeen as well as other urban centres in the UK (Edinburgh, London). The overall aim was to assess the possibility for carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery processes combined with carbon capture and storage technologies to balance up the challenges of North Sea oil production with meeting climate change objectives. In particular, the scenarios focused on the implications for Aberdeen and north-east Scotland in terms of industry, employment and the economy.

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