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Fostering collaboration through IT tools: an experimental study of public deliberation on water sustainability

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Most of challenges facing today's government cannot be resolved without collaborative efforts from multiple non-state stakeholders, organizations, and active participation from citizens. Collaborative governance has become an important form of management practice. Yet the success of this inclusive management approach

Most of challenges facing today's government cannot be resolved without collaborative efforts from multiple non-state stakeholders, organizations, and active participation from citizens. Collaborative governance has become an important form of management practice. Yet the success of this inclusive management approach depends on whether government agencies and all other involved parties can collectively deliberate and work toward the shared goals. This dissertation examines whether information technology (IT) tools and prior cooperative interactions can be used to facilitate the collaboration process, and how IT tools and prior cooperative interactions can, if at all, get citizens and communities more engaged in collaborative governance. It focuses on the individual and small groups engaged in deliberating on a local community problem, which is water sustainability in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Experiments were conducted to compare how people deliberate and interact with each other under different IT-facilitated deliberation environments and with different prehistory of interactions. The unique experimental site for this research is a designed deliberation space that can seat up to 25 participants surrounded by the immersive 260-degree seven-screen communal display. In total, 126 students from Arizona State University participated in the experiment. The experiment results show that the deliberation spaces can influence participants' engagement in the collaborative efforts toward collective goals. This dissertation demonstrates the great potential of well-designed IT-facilitated deliberation spaces for supporting policy deliberation and advancing collaborative governance. This dissertation provides practical suggestions for public managers and community leaders on how to design and develop the desired features of IT-facilitated interaction environments for face-to-face and computer-mediated online public deliberation activities. This dissertation also discusses lessons and strategies on how to build a stronger sense of community for promoting community-based efforts to achieve collective goals.

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2011

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Tricks of the shade: heat-related coping strategies of urban homeless persons in Phoenix, Arizona

Description

This research is about urban homeless people's vulnerability to extreme temperatures and the related socio-spatial dynamics. Specifically, this research investigates heat related coping strategies homeless people use and how the urban environment setting impacts those coping strategies. Semi-structured

This research is about urban homeless people's vulnerability to extreme temperatures and the related socio-spatial dynamics. Specifically, this research investigates heat related coping strategies homeless people use and how the urban environment setting impacts those coping strategies. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with homeless people in Phoenix, Arizona during the summer of 2010. The findings demonstrate that homeless people have a variety of coping strategies and the urban environment setting unjustly impacts those strategies. The results suggest a need for further studies that focus spatial environmental effects on homeless people and other vulnerable populations.

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Date Created
2011

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Sustainable water management in Ciudad Juarez

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ABSTRACT Water resources in many parts of the world are subject to increasing stress because of (a) the growth in demand caused by population increase and economic development, (b) threats to supply caused by climate and land cover change, and

ABSTRACT Water resources in many parts of the world are subject to increasing stress because of (a) the growth in demand caused by population increase and economic development, (b) threats to supply caused by climate and land cover change, and (c) a heightened awareness of the importance of maintaining water supplies to other parts of the ecosystem. An additional factor is the quality of water management. The United States-Mexican border provides an example of poor water management combined with increasing demand for water resources that are both scarce and uncertain. This dissertation focuses on the problem of water management in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. The city has attracted foreign investment during the last few decades, largely due to relatively low environmental and labor costs, and to a range of tax incentives and concessions. This has led to economic and population growth, but also to higher demand for public services such as water which leads to congestion and scarcity. In particular, as water resources have become scarce, the cost of water supply has increased. The dissertation analyzes the conditions that allow for the efficient use of water resources at sustainable levels of economic activity--i.e., employment and investment. In particular, it analyzes the water management strategies that lead to an efficient and sustainable use of water when the source of water is either an aquifer, or there is conjunctive use of ground and imported water. The first part of the dissertation constructs a model of the interactive effects of water supply, wage rates, inward migration of labor and inward investment of capital. It shows how growing water scarcity affects population growth through the impact it has on real wage rates, and how this erodes the comparative advantage of Ciudad Juarez--low wages--to the point where foreign investment stops. This reveals the very close connection between water management and the level of economic activity in Ciudad Juarez. The second part of the dissertation examines the effect of sustainable and efficient water management strategies on population and economic activity levels under two different settings. In the first Ciudad Juarez relies exclusively on ground water to meet demand--this reflects the current situation of Ciudad Juarez. In the second Ciudad Juarez is able both to import water and to draw on aquifers to meet demand. This situation is motivated by the fact that Ciudad Juarez is considering importing water from elsewhere to maintain its economic growth and mitigate the overdraft of the Bolson del Hueco aquifer. Both models were calibrated on data for Ciudad Juarez, and then used to run experiments with respect to different environmental and economic conditions, and different water management options. It is shown that for a given set of technological, institutional and environmental conditions, the way water is managed in a desert environment determines the long run equilibrium levels of employment, investment and output. It is also shown that the efficiency of water management is consistent with the sustainability of water use and economic activity. Importing water could allow the economy to operate at higher levels of activity than where it relies solely on local aquifers. However, at some scale, water availability will limit the level of economic activity, and the disposable income of the residents of Ciudad Juarez.

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2011

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Quenching our thirst for future knowledge: participatory scenario construction and sustainable water governance in a desert city

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Transformational sustainability science demands that stakeholders and researchers consider the needs and values of future generations in pursuit of solutions to sustainability problems. This dissertation research focuses on the real-world problem of unsustainable water governance in the Phoenix region of

Transformational sustainability science demands that stakeholders and researchers consider the needs and values of future generations in pursuit of solutions to sustainability problems. This dissertation research focuses on the real-world problem of unsustainable water governance in the Phoenix region of Central Arizona. A sustainability transition is the local water system is necessary to overcome sustainability challenges and scenarios can be used to explore plausible and desirable futures to inform a transition, but this requires some methodological refinements. This dissertation refines scenario methodology to generate water governance scenarios for metropolitan Phoenix that: (i) feature enhanced stakeholder participation; (ii) incorporate normative values and preferences; (iii) focus on governance actors and their activities; and (iv) meet an expanded set of quality criteria. The first study in the dissertation analyzes and evaluates participatory climate change scenarios to provide recommendations for the construction and use of scenarios that advance climate adaptation and mitigation efforts. The second study proposes and tests a set of plausibility indications to substantiate or evaluate claims that scenarios and future projections could become reality, helping to establish the legitimacy of radically different or transformative scenarios among an extended peer community. The case study of water governance begins with the third study, which includes a current state analysis and sustainability appraisal of the Phoenix-area water system. This is followed by a fourth study which surveys Phoenix-area water decision-makers to better understand water-related preferences for use in scenario construction. The fifth and final study applies a multi-method approach to construct future scenarios of water governance in metropolitan Phoenix in 2030 using stakeholder preferences, among other normative frames, and testing systemic impacts with WaterSim 5.0, a dynamic simulation model of water in the region. The scenarios are boundary objects around which stakeholders can weigh tradeoffs, set priorities and reflect on impacts of water-related activities, broadening policy dialogues around water governance in central Arizona. Together the five studies advance transformational sustainability research by refining methods to engage stakeholders in crafting futures that define how individuals and institutions should operate in transformed and sustainable systems.

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Date Created
2014

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Urban development and sustainable water management of southwest cities

Description

Water is the defining issue in determining the development and growth of human populations of the Southwest. The cities of Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson, Albuquerque, and El Paso have experienced rapid and exponential growth over the past 50 years. The

Water is the defining issue in determining the development and growth of human populations of the Southwest. The cities of Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson, Albuquerque, and El Paso have experienced rapid and exponential growth over the past 50 years. The outlook for having access to sustainable sources of water to support this growth is not promising due to water demand and supply deficits. Regional water projects have harnessed the Colorado and Rio Grande rivers to maximize the utility of the water for human consumption and environmental laws have been adopted to regulate the beneficial use of this water, but it still is not enough to create sustainable future for rapidly growing southwest cities. Future growth in these cities will depend on finding new sources of water and creative measures to maximize the utility of existing water resources. The challenge for southwest cities is to establish policies, procedures, and projects that maximizes the use of water and promotes conservation from all areas of municipal users. All cities are faced with the same challenges, but have different options for how they prioritize their water resources. The principal means of sustainable water management include recovery, recharge, reuse, and increasing the efficiency of water delivery. Other strategies that have been adopted include harvesting of rainwater, building codes that promote efficient water use, tiered water rates, turf removal programs, residential water auditing, and native plant promotion. Creating a sustainable future for the southwest will best be achieved by cities that adopt an integrated approach to managing their water resources including discouraging discretionary uses of water, adoption of building and construction codes for master plans, industrial plants, and residential construction. Additionally, a robust plan for education of the public is essential to create a culture of conservation from a very young age.

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Date Created
2013

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Citizen evaluation of local government performance and service

Description

Government performance and accountability have grown to be predominant areas within public administration literature over the last forty years. The research presented in this dissertation examines the relationship between citizen satisfaction and local government performance. Citizen review of service delivery

Government performance and accountability have grown to be predominant areas within public administration literature over the last forty years. The research presented in this dissertation examines the relationship between citizen satisfaction and local government performance. Citizen review of service delivery provides vital feedback that facilitates better resource management within local government. Using data from a single jurisdiction, two aspects of citizen satisfaction are reviewed. This includes citizen review of overall city performance, and citizen satisfaction with individual service delivery. Logit regression analysis is used to test several factors that affect citizen evaluation of service delivery in local government, while ordinary least squares regression is used to test the relationship between personal factors and citizen evaluation of specific local services. The results generated four major findings that contribute to the scholarly body of knowledge and local government knowledge application. First, citizens who are predisposed to supporting the local jurisdiction are more likely to rate service delivery high. Second, customer service is important. Third, those who experience government services similarly will collectively react similarly to the service experience. Finally, the length of residency has an impact on satisfaction levels with specific services. Implications for the literature as well as for practice are discussed.

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Date Created
2012

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A multi-factor analysis of the emergence of a specialist-based economy among the Phoenix Basin Hohokam

Description

This project examines the social and economic factors that contributed to the development of a specialist-based economy among the Phoenix Basin Hohokam. In the Hohokam case, widespread dependence on the products of a few concentrated pottery producers developed in the

This project examines the social and economic factors that contributed to the development of a specialist-based economy among the Phoenix Basin Hohokam. In the Hohokam case, widespread dependence on the products of a few concentrated pottery producers developed in the absence of political centralization or hierarchical social arrangements. The factors that promoted intensified pottery production, therefore, are the keys to addressing how economic systems can expand in small-scale and middle-range societies. This dissertation constructs a multi-factor model that explores changes to the organization of decorated pottery production during a substantial portion of the pre-Classic period (AD 700 - AD 1020). The analysis is designed to examine simultaneously several variables that may have encouraged demand for ceramic vessels made by specialists. This study evaluates the role of four factors in the development of supply and demand for specialist produced red-on-buff pottery in Hohokam settlements. The factors include 1) agricultural intensification in the form of irrigation agriculture, 2) increases in population density, 3) ritual or social obligations that require the production of particular craft items, and 4) reduced transport costs. Supply and demand for specialist-produced pottery is estimated through a sourcing analysis of non-local pottery at 13 Phoenix Basin settlements. Through a series of statistical analyses, the study measures changes in the influence of each factor on demand for specialist-produced pottery through four temporal phases of the Hohokam pre-Classic period. The analysis results indicate that specialized red-on-buff production was initially spurred by demand for light-colored, shiny, decorated pottery, but then by comparative advantages to specialized production in particular areas of the Phoenix Basin. Specialists concentrated on the Snaketown canal system were able to generate light-colored, mica-dense wares that Phoenix Basin consumers desired while lowering transport costs in the distribution of red-on-buff pottery. The circulation of decorated wares was accompanied by the production of plainware pottery in other areas of the Phoenix Basin. Economic growth in the region was based on complementary and coordinated economic activities between the Salt and the Gila River valleys.

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Date Created
2013

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A comparative assessment of community water system vulnerability to water scarcity in Buckeye and Cave Creek, Arizona

Description

With the ongoing drought surpassing a decade in Arizona, scholars, water managers and decision-makers have heightened attention to the availability of water resources, especially in rapidly growing regions where demand may outgrow supplies or outpace the capacity of the community

With the ongoing drought surpassing a decade in Arizona, scholars, water managers and decision-makers have heightened attention to the availability of water resources, especially in rapidly growing regions where demand may outgrow supplies or outpace the capacity of the community water systems. Community water system managing entities and the biophysical and social characteristics of a place mediate communities' vulnerability to hazards such as drought and long-term climate change. The arid southwestern Phoenix metropolitan area is illustrative of the challenges that developed urban areas in arid climates face globally as population growth and climate change stress already fragile human-environmental systems. This thesis reveals the factors abating and exacerbating differential community water system vulnerability to water scarcity in communities simultaneously facing drought and rapid peri-urban growth. Employing a grounded, qualitative comparative case study approach, this thesis explores the interaction of social, biophysical and institutional factors as they effect the exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity of community water systems in Cave Creek and Buckeye, Arizona. Buckeye, once a small agricultural town in the West Valley, is wholly dependent on groundwater and currently planning for massive development to accommodate 218,591 new residents by 2020. Amid desert hills and near Tonto National Forest in the North Valley, Cave Creek is an upscale residential community suffering frequent water outages due to aging infrastructure and lack of system redundancy. Analyzing interviews, media accounts and policy documents, a narrative was composed explaining how place based factors, nested within a regional institutional water management framework, impact short and long-term vulnerability. This research adds to the library of vulnerability assessments completed using Polsky et al.'s Vulnerability Scoping Diagram and serves a pragmatic need assisting in the development of decision making tools that better represent the drivers of placed based vulnerability in arid metropolitan regions.

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Date Created
2011

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Heat-related morbidity and thermal comfort: a comparison study of Phoenix and Chicago

Description

I present the results of studies from two historically separate fields of research: heat related illness and human thermal comfort adaptation. My research objectives were: (a) to analyze the relationships between climate and heat related morbidity in Phoenix, Arizona and

I present the results of studies from two historically separate fields of research: heat related illness and human thermal comfort adaptation. My research objectives were: (a) to analyze the relationships between climate and heat related morbidity in Phoenix, Arizona and Chicago, Illinois; (b) explore possible linkages of human thermal comfort adaptation to heat-related illness; and (c) show possible benefits of collaboration between the two fields of research. Previous climate and mortality studies discovered regional patterns in summertime mortality in North America: lower in hot, southern cities compared to more temperate cities. I examined heat related emergency (911) dispatches from these two geographically and climatically different cities. I analyzed with local weather conditions with 911 dispatches identified by responders as "heat" related from 2001 to 2006 in Phoenix and 2003 through 2006 in Chicago. Both cities experienced a rapid rise in heat-related dispatches with increasing temperature and heat index, but at higher thresholds in Phoenix. Overall, Phoenix had almost two and half times more heat-related dispatches than Chicago. However, Phoenix did not experience the large spikes of heat-related dispatches that occurred in Chicago. These findings suggest a resilience to heat-related illness that may be linked to acclimatization in Phoenix. I also present results from a survey based outdoor human thermal comfort field study in Phoenix to assess levels of local acclimatization. Previous research in outdoor human thermal comfort in hot humid and temperate climates used similar survey-based methodologies and found higher levels of thermal comfort (adaptation to heat) that in warmer climates than in cooler climates. The study presented in this dissertation found outdoor thermal comfort thresholds and heat tolerance levels in Phoenix were higher than previous studies from temperate climates more similar to Chicago. These differences were then compared to the differences in weather conditions associated with heat-related dispatches. The higher comfort thresholds in Phoenix were similar in scale to the climate differences associated with the upsurge in heat-related dispatches in Phoenix and Chicago. This suggests a link between heat related illness and acclimatization, and illustrates potential for collaboration in research between the two fields.

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Date Created
2012