Dr. Sandra Ricart, researcher at the Interuniversity Institute of Geography of the University of Alicante, travelled to Wageningen from February 17th until March 13th, in order to carry out together with the team of the University of Wageningen (Dr. Bas Amelung and Dr. Maria Reyes), at the Environmental Systems Analysis research group), tasks related to the WP4 (Hydrosocial Cycle Analysis) of the SIMTWIST project. As visiting researcher granted by the Wageningen Institute for Environment and Climate Research (WIMEK) research program through a fellowship grant, Dr. Ricart carried out research, teaching and dissemination activities in order to go deeper into the Hydrosocial Cycle analysis and approach to be applied in Benidorm and Rimini case studies.
The main activities carried out by Dr. Ricart are detailed below:
- Sandra initiated discussions about how to better understand Benidorm’s tourism-dominated urban water system by integrating hydrology (water supply) and social behavior (water demand). On March 10th she met with Prof. Rutgerd Boelens of the Water Resources Management group (WRM) to talk about new challenges for Hydrosocial Cycle (HSC) analysis and to discuss insights from Political Ecology that can be usefully connected to SIMTWIST’s HSC analysis.
- Sandra deepened her knowledge of the HSC approach and explored tools to combine the HSC approach with Agent-Based Modelling (ABM) techniques as part of the SIMTWIST project. She reviewed and tested new tools for synthetizing and characterizing qualitative data from the stakeholder interviews carried out in Benidorm. Maria Reyes and Sandra discussed about the potential use of new qualitative software called VUE© (Visual Understanding Environment) to visualize stakeholders’ relationships. Maria will now apply the VUE© software to develop conceptual maps from interview material. Sandra has improved mastery of approach and tools will greatly help when carrying out the Benidorm and Rimini SIMTWIST cases studies.
- On February 21st morning Sandra participated in an expert meeting to discuss the new EdX Online Course entitled Sustainable Tourism: Climate Change Emergencies, developed by Arjaan Pellis, Edward Huijbens, Machiel Lamers and Bas Amelung. Sandra provided feedback on the course scripts, shared her experiences as the coordinator of a MOOC on natural risk analysis at the University of Alicante, and attended the afternoon seminar about tourism and climate change. In addition, she was video-interviewed about the future of tourism under climate change. The video recordings will be used as visual content in the EdX course.
2. On March 3rd, Sandra delivered a full course day in the course “Tourism Systems Analysis” (ESA-23806), coordinated by Bas Amelung. Sandra’s contribution, entitled “The Hydrosocial Cycle Analysis: Approach and application”, included a lecture, an interactive workshop and a brief exam (overall around 4 hours of teaching). Teaching activities took place at Breda University of Applied Sciences and were well received by the 27 students that were present. The Tourism Systems Analysis course is a second-year course in the Bachelor of Science Tourism program, a joint degree between Wageningen University and Breda University of Applied Sciences.
3. Sandra supported Bas Amelung in the supervision of MSc students who are writing their MSc theses in relation to the SIMTWIST project. She conducted regular meetings on February 20th and 25th with Claudia Espejo, whose thesis focuses on water-energy saving measures for climate change adaptation, and meetings on February 20th, and March 2nd and 10th with Tamina Reinecke, whose thesis focuses on climate services and tourism development. Both MSc theses focus on the Spanish tourism destination of Benidorm, a city that Sandra and their colleagues from the University of Alicante have been studying for many years regarding similar research topics.