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The Earth We Inherited

Press Release   •   Feb 14, 2017 08:00 GMT

Professor of Psychology at University of Gävle, Igor Knez, participates in a research group that has been awarded 3,5 million SEK by the Swedish National Heritage Board to manifest the value of the cultural heritage and the cultural environment in the biosphere reserve of Lake Vänern archipelago and Mount Kinnekulle.

Lake Vänern archipelago is a cultural landscape in which people have lived and worked during thousands of years, with memories and knowledge being transferred from generation to generation.

-We will investigate how certain memories and cultural expressions are connected to certain places, how identity is shaped in relation to geographical place, and what people appreciate and experience from an esthetical point of view in these places, Igor Knez says.

The importance of place

Earlier research has shown that the stronger your bond is to a place, in emotions, memories, experiences and thought, the better you feel when you are there. See link for recent publication.

-One of my aims is therefore to explore the relationship between psychological bonds connected to place (place identity) and well-being.

Three-year project

In this three-year interdisciplinary project a geographer, an ethnologist, an ecologist/biologist and a psychologist and a researcher within cultural studies participate. Decision-makers and administrators involved in the conservation and management of the landscape will also be interviewed to establish if and how they take these aspects into account.

-Through questionnaires, we will contact inhabitants, decision-makers and administrators.

A Biosphere Reserve

Because of its unique, varied landscape and its rich cultural inheritance, The Lake Vänern archipelago and Mount Kinnekulle have been made a biosphere reserve by the UN organisation UNESCO. A Biosphere reserve has three purposes:

  • Develop the community in a long-term sustainable manner
  • Protect biodiversity and cultural diversity, ecosystems and landscapes
  • Support demonstration projects, research and environmental monitoring

Sustainable development is a complex issue. For this reason, the biosphere preserves of the world have as their mission to find local solutions to global challenges. The aim is to show that sustainable development is possible, despite the great challenges the world faces today.

For further information, please contact:
Igor Knez, Professor of Psychology at University of Gävle
Tel: 026-648111

Text: Douglas Öhrbom

Education and Research at a Scenic Campus.
The University of Gävle has approximately 14 500 students, more than 50 study programmes and second-cycle programmes, about 1 000 courses in humanities, social and natural sciences and technology.

Research Profiles
Built Environment and Health-promoting Working Life are the general research profiles of the higher education institution. Important parts included are Spatial Planning with a specialisation in Sustainable Built Environment and Musculoskeletal Disorders with the purpose to prevent work-related injuries. In 2010, the higher education institution received permission to carry out third-cycle programmes in the profile area of Built Environment.
The higher education institution has applied for permission to carry out third-cycle programmes in technology, humanities and social sciences.