The repercussions of the 2007–2008 financial crisis have acted as an impetus to improve the quality and availability of statistical information. One such initiative addresses the importance of compiling a complete accounting of a nation's wealth, and especially the wealth of households. This is of particular importance in view of the housing market's role in the financial crisis in several countries. The most valuable item on the households' balance sheet is usually housing wealth which is composed of the value of the dwelling and its underlying land. Many countries experience difficulties in valuing land and in particular separating the value of the land from the value of the structure. To assist countries, the Eurostat-OECD compilation guide on land estimation represents the first comprehensive overview of conceptual and practical issues related to the compilation of the balance sheet item land in the national accounts, in total and by institutional sector. The compilation guide on land estimation was prepared by the Task Force on Land and other non-financial assets under the joint leadership of Eurostat and the OECD. Representatives from various European Union (EU) and non-EU OECD countries were represented as well as the European Central Bank. [+]
INSPIRE: the EU's environmental information all on the same page
The European Union has launched a public consultation on INSPIRE, the Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe. With INSPIRE, the EU is creating a common standard for spatial environmental information. Relevant bodies in different countries will be able to access the same information to deal with emergencies such as forest fires or cross border rescue operations. A homogeneous data system will also be important to prevent environmental damage and reduce energy consumption.
For example, it is estimated that today the error margin in calculating energy consumption in buildings can reach 20%. With a homogeneous system for collecting and classifying relevant data, this margin would be greatly reduced. Access to a standardized spatial database can also be crucial in improving success rates in dealing with emergencies: today, reports of rescue teams being delayed because of lack of accessible, comparable and updated data are not uncommon.
More than 650 public and private organizations - coordinated by the JRC - are contributing to INSPIRE with material and expertise. Hundreds of experts from across Europe have been working together for several years to agree on common definitions covering 25 themes, including land cover, buildings, soil, land-use, energy, health and safety. EU citizens can have their say on these specifications until 21 October 2011. [+]
Diversified landscape structure in the EU Member States
Statistics in focus. General and regional statistics 21/2011
Landscape indicators from the LUCAS 2009 survey.
The heterogeneity of land cover and the presence of linear features are two key elements characterising landscape structures. LUCAS survey 2009 figures show clear distinctions among EU countries and how varied the European territory is in many respects. Four main typologies of countries with a different degree of land cover diversity and landscape patterns can be identified:
- Countries with a high diversity generally characterized by the significant presence of mountainous or hilly areas;
- Largely homogeneous countries with a strong predominance of grassland;
- Countries rich in forests, quite homogeneous with a diversity score below the EU average;
- Countries with a diversity score within a range of 5% from the EU average which share the same kind of land cover composition.
The presence of linear elements impacts in different ways on landscape according to the nature of the elements. While “green” linear elements seem to be integrated in the land cover, dissection elements cause a fragmentation of the landscape. [+]
Josep Sorribes y Pau Rausell
En una serie como ésta en la que se intenta discernir sobre las razones que sustentan el carácter básicamente retórico del archiconocido cap i casal, o, lo que es lo mismo, el evidente déficit de capitalidad de la ciudad de Valencia en relación a su área metropolitana y al País que teóricamente dirige, hablar de los obstáculos sociopolíticos al trabajo en red puede quizá parecer una aproximación marginal. O quizá no tanto como intentaremos razonar en esta, un tanto singular , aportación.