News & Events

Cosmopolis Lunch Seminar with N.Schio, A. Phillips, K. Fransen (VUB): The virus and the trees: how the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown have changed our attitude towards the urban forest.

17 December 2020 , BOZAR, room Errera +1, Koningstraat 10, Brussels, from 12.00h to 13.30h

Abstract of Presentation:

In the course of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has spread all across the world and has dominated the headlines. Notwithstanding global and regional differences, the basic elements of how we live have radically changed due to government prevention policies, the fear of contracting the virus and the actual spread of the disease. As part of the CLEARING HOUSE project, we launched a new line of reflection and research aimed at investigating how the COVID-19 pandemic was changing both our professional perspective and citizens’ use of and attitude toward green spaces and the urban forest. This included a blog, bringing together different stories looking at the issue from various angles (, and an online survey distributed in Europe and China. Themes covered included the changes in frequency of use of green spaces before and during the pandemic, the changes of behaviour, citizenship, and political preferences. Our presentation introduces the elements of reflections that emerged from the contribution to the blogposts, as well as the analysis of the survey responses and of the geographical differences that emerged. Findings provide insights into the importance of urban green space, amplified under challenging circumstances, and point to the need to further increase green provision in Brussels. 

More information:  and

Bio Speaker:

Nicola da Schio -

Nicola da Schio is PhD researcher at the Cosmopolis Centre for Urban Research of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). As a researcher and as an activist, he is interested in the uneven geographies and knowledges of urban socio-ecological goods and bads, as well as in the nexus between science, state, and civil society as the place where these come to established and contested. Thematically his research focuses on air pollution and the urban forest.  Before joining VUB he worked with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on issues related to the urban environment and cycled through Europe to explore and promote ecomobility practices. Previously he also worked with different international institutions, local government associations and NGOs in Western Europe, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Amy Phillips -

Koos Fransen -