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27 September 2021

Post doctoral opening @UNITO: Mapping Emotions In Human-Nature Relationships

Post doctoral opening @UNITO: Mapping Emotions In Human-Nature Relationships

Project: GoGreenRoutes

Title: Mapping Emotions In Human-Nature Relationships

Duration: 24 months (starting in Fall 2021 or Winter 2021/2022)

Salary: up to 36k/year

About GoGreenRoutes

GoGreenRoutes is a €10.5m EU-funded project sowing the seeds for increased nature-connectedness across Europe, Latin America and China.

Its multidisciplinary consortium of 40 organisations is pairing participatory approaches and citizen science with Big Data analyses and digital innovation to co-create Urban Well-being Labs in six Cultivating Cities: Burgas (Bulgaria), Lahti (Finland), Limerick (Ireland), Tallinn (Estonia), Umeå (Sweden) and Versailles (France).

These pioneering cities are implementing nature-based solutions such as green corridors, linear parks, pocket parks and shared walkways to enhance the physical and mental health of their urban residents. By maximizing the available public space people can move around the city more actively, enjoy their free time and interact with others, whilst there is also room for restoring ecologically valuable spaces.

The project will develop a set of environmental quality indicators and exchange lessons-learnt with a group of seed cities (Munich, in Germany, the Region of Murcia, in Spain, and Gzira, in Malta) and a cross-pollination network (Mexico City, in Mexico, Beijing, in China, and Tbilisi, in Georgia), who represent large-scale opportunities for the implementation of nature-based solutions.

Our inspirational approach shifts the focus of nature based-solutions towards the co-benefits to multidimensional health, termed 360-Health. GOGREEN ROUTES transdisciplinary consortium will pioneer a unique approach augmenting nature based-solutions, urban design with the goal of fostering a positive human-nature relationship, flourishing nature connectedness and promoting citizen engagement through digital, educational and behavioural innovation.

Aim and objectives

The aim of GOGREEN ROUTES project is to position European cities as world ambassadors of urban sustainability.

The candidate will be responsible for leading the activity around the emotional mapping digital innovation.

Our daily urban experiences are the product of perceptions and emotional states that are triggered by the physical and social contexts around us, yet a complete modeling of these aspects is strikingly absent from urban studies. Mobile devices and sensors produce digital traces at an unprecedented spatial and temporal granularity and they enable innovative forms to model human behavior, characterizing where, when, and how people interact. In addition, crowdsourced data and geo-referenced online content add the human component to the underlying technological infrastructure and they present an invaluable tool to capture the invisible image of a city. GOGREEN ROUTES will leverage online feeds and the associated metadata to build an alternative cartography weighted for positive emotions, adding a layer where citizens opinions and emotions are modeled in time and space at scale. This will enable the implementation of new forms of services, e.g., an emotions-driven routing engine that is able to suggest a happy and pleasant path over the shortest, and urban design policies that favor the human factor over a city built around efficiency, predictability, and security alone.


  • Map emotional perceptions of urban places from crowdsourced geo-referenced visual and textual data and modeling them in spatio-temporal ways.
  • Develop a routing tool that generates sensory and emotion-aware routes. Qualitatively and quantitatively evaluate the impact of the tool on its users’ well-being over existing tools based only on efficiency and topological criteria.

Candidate profile

  • The candidate must be highly motivated and have excellent research, writing, and communication skills, skills in qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, and some project management skills. Candidates must have a postgraduate degree in a quantitative discipline (i.e., computer science, physics, applied math, geography, or others). For exceptional candidates we are open to consider alternative backgrounds and experiences.
  • As this is a large consortium project, each candidate will have access to a large network of European researchers and practitioners and you will be expected to engage with them regularly. This offers the potential for networking with other early career researchers, gaining access to future career opportunities, as well as creating additional research funding proposals.
  • The candidate must be able to plan, prioritise and organise own work or resources, in order to achieve agreed objectives. Conduct literature and database searches using standard techniques and methods, write up results of own research and prepare for presentation to project team and relevant stakeholders.
  • The candidate must be able to contribute to the production of research reports and publications, and to present research to the project team and in appropriate articles, such as academic/professional journals or conferences as appropriate.
  • The candidate will undertake both qualitative and quantitative research to map citizens emotional reactions when connecting to nature-based solutions using digital traces. We will positively evaluate:
    • A solid knowledge of data analysis pipelines and programming preferably in Python.
    • A solid understanding of inferential statistics, machine learning, NLP, and/or computer vision methods (optional).
    • Spatial analysis and modeling tools (in Python/R) (optional)
    • (Spatial) Data Visualization tools, libraries, and web frameworks (optional)

We are open to exceptional candidates with different profiles and backgrounds.


To send your CV, or if you have any question on the position and the project, feel free to reach out at rossano.schifanella@unito.it. Let's have a chat!

Man walking in forest (Unsplash) by "Jon Flobrant", licensed under Free stock