Participatory Planning for Sustainability Transitions
The Observatory for a Culture of the Territory (OCT) is a not-for profit SME whose core mission is the better integration of human societies with their land and its resources. OCT develops this mission principally by promoting knowledge co-generation and negotiation to achieve consensus between different social domains and communities in the territory such as scientists and policy makers, farmers and consumers, rural and urban dwellers. OCT is based in Spain but has a wide area of international operation, with collaborators and scientific committee members in the UK, Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, United States among others. OCT works across sectors and scales in research, education, innovation and outreach in the following key areas:
− Land and natural resources planning
− Rural development appraisal and evaluations
− Geographical analysis and modelling
− Heritage, tradition and landscape
European Research Experience
OCT has a long trajectory of involvement in European Research projects, going back to the 5th Framework Programme. Notable projects include:
Profile of key staff
Veronica Hernández-Jiménez is the Director of OCT. She holds a PhD from Newcastle University, United Kingdom (Participatory Planning in the region of Madrid: an integrative approach; 2007). She is an associate researcher at the Polytechnic University of Madrid within the School of Forestry Engineering. Her main focus in this organization is building processes of stakeholder engagement for better territorial planning, involving stakeholders in the decision-making processes. Key publications include:
Simon-Rojo, M., Recanes, X., Cllau, S., Duzi, B., Eiter, S., Hernández-Jiménez, V., … & Vejre, H. (2016). From urban food gardening to urban farming. In: Urban agriculture Europe. Jovis Verlag GmbH, Germany.
Rojo, M. S., Moratalla, A. Z., Alonso, N. M., & Jimenez, V. H. (2014). Pathways towards the integration of periurban agrarian ecosystems into the spatial planning system. Ecological Processes, 3(1), 1-16.
2. Richard Hewitt is European Research Coordinator at OCT. He holds a PhD in Geography (Incorporating stakeholder knowledge in Cellular Automata models of land use change; 2014) from the University of Alcalá, Spain. He has 15 years+ research experience in diverse disciplines related to land and landscape, such as heritage management, land planning and land use modelling. He was research director for OCT on the FP7 project COMPLEX (2012-16), later taking up a position as Spatial Landscape Planner at the James Hutton Institute, UK (2016-19). Since 2020 he has been Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow at the Complutense University in Madrid, where he leads the integrated sustainable transport modelling project INTRANCES.
Otto, I. M., Donges, J. F., Cremades, R., Bhowmik, A., Hewitt, R. J., Lucht, W., … & Schellnhuber, H. J. (2020). Social tipping dynamics for stabilizing Earth’s climate by 2050. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(5), 2354-2365.
Hewitt, R. J., Bradley, N., Baggio Compagnucci, A., Barlagne, C., Ceglarz, A., Cremades, R., … & Slee, B. (2019). Social innovation in community energy in Europe: A review of the evidence. Frontiers in Energy Research, 7, 31.
3. Lara Román Bermejo is Coordinator of Agro-ecological Transition Projects. She holds a PhD in Agroecology from the International University of Andalusia and the Institute of Sociology and Peasant studies of the University of Córdoba. She holds a first degree in Agricultural engineering, with specialisms in Plant Science from Madrid Polytechnic University and comparative agriculture and agrarian development from the National Institute of Agricultural Engineering in Paris-Grignon, France. She is a qualified expert in Participatory processes planning and holds a Masters degree in Agroecology, Sociology and Sustainable Rural Development.
Guzmán GI, López D, Román, L, Alonso, AM; 2013. Investigación acción participativa en agroecología: construyendo el sistema agroalimentario ecológico en España, Agroecología, 8, 2, 89-100.
Guzmán, Gloria I; López, D.; Román, L.; Alonso, AM.; 2013. Participatory Action Research in agroecology: building local organic food networks in Spain. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, 37,1,127-146,2013,Taylor & Francis.