Citizen Science and cooperation initiatives against depopulation of rural areas
GEOVACUI-2: citizen science and cooperation initiatives against depopulation in rural areas is a citizen science project, following the work started in the GEOVACUI-1: rural societies in empty territories and their productive potential. Both have tried to deepen the knowledge of the phenomenon of depopulation.
GEOVACUI presents, from its beginnings, a geographical approach, and a practical spirit that enhances the value of community work. It is an opportunity to keep open a debate that allows deepening, in a collaborative way, the knowledge of the causes, consequences, problems and opportunities linked to the situation of depopulation in rural areas. In addition, the project promote scientific culture in society.
To do this, scientists have shared information through different channels of participation. The most frequent method of gathering data was the use of an online questionnaire, but there were also workshops carried out with agents and the civilian population. All the information gathered and agreed upon has been essential for the achievement of the project and the generation of deliverables.
In the second edition, the researchers leading the project wanted to give visibility and voice to a lesser-known rural Spain, active and rich in values and initiatives. To do this, through citizens, it seeks to learn about the initiatives that favor population fixation. The results have materialized in a repository of bibliographic materials; a repository of good practices, consisting of an interactive geovisor with which to view the collaborative map with the initiatives and a platform for personalized consultation; a document with the basic elements of good practices and a decalogue of conclusions and recommendations.
GEOVACUI is a NEWSERA pilot project, and it is included in the Observatorio de la Ciencia Ciudadana en España and eu-citizen.science. The project is supported by the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (Ministry of Science and Innovation).
To meet the challenge of rural depopulation in Spain, this citizen science project aimed to support conversations and debate around the issue besides wider public engagement activities to foster a culture of scientific curiosity with affected communities.
It aimed at giving visibility and voice to a rural Spain that is less known, active and rich in values and initiatives. The results are a repository of bibliographic materials; a repository of good practices (an interactive geo-viewer with which to visualise the collaborative map with the initiatives and a platform); a document with the basic elements of the good practices and a decalogue of conclusions and recommendations.European Union Prize for Citizen Science Jury 2023 (Kat Austen, Lewis Hou, Pedro Russo, Andrea Sforzi, Stefanie Wuschitz). View full Statement here.
The project is grateful for the financial support of the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT), the universities of the team members and the Ars Civilis Foundation. We would also like to thank the active participation of the Santa María de Albarracín, Pueblo Viejo de Belchite and Ibercivis Foundations, the town councils of Benaoján, Benarrabá, Calasparra, Genalguacil, Jimera de Líbar and Valdealgorfa, the Congress of Deputies, political platforms and associations against depopulation, as well as local and regional development institutions and schools that have welcomed us in their facilities, provided essential information for the development of the project and collaborated in the dissemination of the results. We would also like to thank all the anonymous citizens who have actively participated in the different phases, enriching the project.
GEOVACUI-2 (ES) research team is made up of five geographers and one economist from five Spanish public universities: Complutense University of Madrid, University of Burgos, University of Barcelona, University of Malaga and University of Seville. The team is gender balanced and is composed of four Full Professors and two Associate Professors. Its members present a wide range of experience, complementary to each other, in the different aspects of the project: socio-economic dynamics of depopulated areas, sustainable agri-food systems, territorial heritage, vulnerability and resilience assessment, big data handling, geoinformatics applications, cartography, SDGs, knowledge dissemination and Citizen Science.
Carmen Mínguez (ES) is an Associate Professor in Geography at the Complutense University of Madrid. Her research activity has focused on the relationships between tourism and historic cities, specifically focusing on how to improve cultural heritage and functionally revitalize historic centers and monumental areas of cities. In recent years, she has incorporated into her research the use of Big (Geo) data and the Citizen Science approach for the study, planning and management of destinations. She is a member of the Tourism, Heritage and Development Research Group.
Marta Martínez-Arnáiz (ES) is Associate Professor in Geography at the University of Burgos. She belongs to the Research Group on Geographical Studies and Territorial Analysis. Member of the Spanish Association of Geography, she is currently the president of the Working Group on Landscape of this Association. The main lines of research are oriented towards the rural areas, with special interest in the socio-economic dynamics of depopulated areas, sustainable agri-food systems, territorial heritage and rural landscape. Recently, she has incorporated Citizen Science methods into her research.
Javier Martín-Vide (ES) is Full Professor of Physical Geography and Climatology at the University of Barcelona. Academic of the Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts of Barcelona. Specialist in probabilistic analysis of precipitation and climate change. President of the Spanish Association of Climatology (1999-2004) and of the Association of Spanish Geographers (2009-2013). Director of the Water Research Institute (IdRA, UB) (2015-2019). He has published 30 books and about 300 articles. He has been a reviewer of the 4th and 5th IPCC. A recognized speaker, he frequently participates in the media.
José Damián Ruiz Sinoga
José Damián Ruiz Sinoga (ES) is Full Professor of Physical Geography and director of the Geomorphology and Soils Lab at the University of Málaga. Academic of the Academy of Sciences of Málaga. His research activity has focused on the analysis of territorial processes, risks and vulnerabilities in the framework of Global Change and at different scales in the Mediterranean area, and in the realization of synthetic indices of vulnerability and resilience, as a result of the grouping of territorial, environmental, demographic, social and economic vulnerability indices.
José Ojeda Zújar
José Ojeda Zújar (ES) is Full Professor of Physical Geography and GIS at the University of Sevilla. Lines of investigation include Coastal Planning and the Marine Environment (Territorial and Environmental Planning and Management of Marine Resources) and Citizen Science. Specialist in Processes and Risks in the Coastal Zone (coastal erosion, flooding, etc) and vulnerability assessment. Also, in Geographic Data Dissemination Technologies (Web Mapping). Responsible for the Research Group on Coastal Planning and Territorial Information Technologies.
Elena Barcena-Martín (ES) is Full Professor at the Universidad de Málaga (Spain) and Associate Editor of Journal of Economic Inequality and Hacienda Pública Española/Review of Public Economics. She is Treasurer of the Society for the Study of Economic Inequality (ECINEQ). Research interests: Economic Inequality, Deprivation and Poverty, Income Mobility and Poverty Dynamics, Economics of gender and children, Public Policies and Social Welfare.