Matching Items (59)

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Economic Development vs. Human Development in St. Lucia

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This honors thesis examines the relationship between economic development and human development in the Caribbean island nation of St. Lucia. Factors affecting this relationship such as foreign direct investment and governmental policy were studied. Economic and human development indicators as

This honors thesis examines the relationship between economic development and human development in the Caribbean island nation of St. Lucia. Factors affecting this relationship such as foreign direct investment and governmental policy were studied. Economic and human development indicators as well as personal interviews were utilized to determine the state of this relationship. This study showed that recent economic growth in St. Lucia is becoming increasingly unsustainable and may not be leading to improvements in human development, while also directly worsening inequality.

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2020-05

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A Closer Look at the Global Partnership: Re-Evaluating Sustainable Development Goal 17

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In an increasingly interconnected world, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals are the United Nations’ framework for ensuring we continue to transform our world for the better, leaving no population behind. This study examines how the terminology of Sustainable Development Goal

In an increasingly interconnected world, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals are the United Nations’ framework for ensuring we continue to transform our world for the better, leaving no population behind. This study examines how the terminology of Sustainable Development Goal 17 for global partnership affects its implementation, focusing on “building capacity”—a widely referenced target in the development arena—and the involvement of the private sector. Key informant interviews with experts in the fields of conflict of interest, ethics, and development revealed a wide variety of (often conflicting) notions about partnership, frameworks for capacity development, and the interactions between public and private actors. A literature review of key policy documents examined the terminology and implementation of multistakeholder partnerships, and analysis offered considerations for risks and suggestions in policy terminology. Results indicate a need for increased attention to the use of partnership terminology as a catch-all term to encompass development work, and makes several recommendations for changes to combat misuse of the partnership label. Finally, this study acknowledges that there is a continued need for research-based evidence for effectiveness of the partnership-based development approach.

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2018-05

The Water, Energy, & Infrastructure Co-Benefits of Smart Growth Planning in Phoenix

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Phoenix is the sixth most populated city in the United States and the 12th largest metropolitan area by population, with about 4.4 million people. As the region continues to grow, the demand for housing and jobs within the metropolitan area

Phoenix is the sixth most populated city in the United States and the 12th largest metropolitan area by population, with about 4.4 million people. As the region continues to grow, the demand for housing and jobs within the metropolitan area is projected to rise under uncertain climate conditions.

Undergraduate and graduate students from Engineering, Sustainability, and Urban Planning in ASU’s Urban Infrastructure Anatomy and Sustainable Development course evaluated the water, energy, and infrastructure changes that result from smart growth in Phoenix, Arizona. The Maricopa Association of Government's Sustainable Transportation and Land Use Integration Study identified a market for 485,000 residential dwelling units in the urban core. Household water and energy use changes, changes in infrastructure needs, and financial and economic savings are assessed along with associated energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

The course project has produced data on sustainable development in Phoenix and the findings will be made available through ASU’s Urban Sustainability Lab.

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Oui Nous Pouvons: Subverting the Single Story of Sustainable Development

Description

Effective sustainability communication is essential to the successful creation, implementation and maintenance of effective sustainability solutions. As journalists are often the intermediary between sustainability scientists or practitioners and the general public, they have a responsibility to learn how to tell

Effective sustainability communication is essential to the successful creation, implementation and maintenance of effective sustainability solutions. As journalists are often the intermediary between sustainability scientists or practitioners and the general public, they have a responsibility to learn how to tell these stories in a way that motivates audiences to design and support more substantive solutions. My project is an experiment in this kind of sustainability storytelling.

As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Togo I saw firsthand the harm that ineffective storytelling can do. There the dominant narrative of sustainable development – as something Northern citizens do in the South – has had a dampening effect on grassroots development efforts. In an effort to combat this narrative, I created a short-form documentary that follows the stories of one exemplary Togolese changemaker who successfully developed his own solutions to sustainability challenges in his community. The film was published online in both English and French; shared with staff, Volunteers and local counterparts of Peace Corps Togo; and modified into a shorter video profile for distribution via WhatsApp, the primary social media platform in Togo.

Focus groups organized to evaluate audience responses to the film indicated that it effectively elicits feelings of hope and inspiration in viewers, as well as an increased motivation to address problems in viewers’ local communities. Participants also noted that its emphasis on local-led solutions counteracted Western development myths. This early feedback supports a growing body of evidence that solutions journalism more effectively spurs behavior change than its problem-centric counterpart. It also suggests that shifting the focus of development narratives from foreign to local leaders can also shift audience’s perceived agency.

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2020-05-15

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Mapping Clean Water Solutions in Africa: Navigating the Difficulties and Keeping Africa's Water Flowing

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Africa is the area of the largest economic water scarcity on earth, with multiple countries, political systems, and geographies involved. Additionally, water scarcity affects more countries in sub-Saharan African than anywhere else on earth, with consequences like waterborne diseases, loss

Africa is the area of the largest economic water scarcity on earth, with multiple countries, political systems, and geographies involved. Additionally, water scarcity affects more countries in sub-Saharan African than anywhere else on earth, with consequences like waterborne diseases, loss of agricultural development, educational setbacks, and security threats. This thesis synthesizes data on the diverse geographies and politics involved in building a sustainable African water system. It presents historical and present technologies, costs, and problems implementing sustainable potable water solutions, and suggests regional differences and individualized solutions, pointing out advantages and disadvantages of damming, boreholes, open wells, open-source water, and sewer systems. It goes on to discuss grant programs for water and wastewater solutions and technologies. Finally it addresses two divergent, yet equally important data models for African water planning, combining their contributions in order to gain insight into the problem that neither alone can. The research overlaps aquifer and demographic data to see where water should be a priority in Africa. The author finds that hydrology as well as demographic data, when combined, point to the greatest water need in the Sahel. However, many growing cities are situated in areas with high aquifer levels making borehole technology some of the most economical as well as sustainable water sourcing. Recommendations include cultural humility, attention to political and environmental consequences of solutions, and cost-effective ways of addressing the lack of access to clean drinking water in Africa.

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Date Created
2014-05

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Restaurant industry sustainability: barriers and solutions to sustainable practice indicators

Description

Restaurants have a cumulative impact on the environment, economy, and society. The majority of restaurants are small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs). Review of sustainability and industry literature revealed that considering restaurants as businesses with sustainable development options is the most appropriate way

Restaurants have a cumulative impact on the environment, economy, and society. The majority of restaurants are small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs). Review of sustainability and industry literature revealed that considering restaurants as businesses with sustainable development options is the most appropriate way to evaluate their sustainable practices or lack thereof. Sustainable development is the means by which a company progresses towards achieving an identified set of sustainability goals and harnesses competitive advantage. The purpose of this thesis is to identify barriers to implementing sustainable practices in restaurants, and explore ways that restaurateurs can incorporate sustainable business practices. Energy consumption, water use, waste production, and food throughput are the four sustainability indicators addressed in this thesis. Interviews were conducted with five Tempe, Arizona restaurants, two of which consider their operations to be sustainable, and three of which are traditional restaurants. Results show that for traditional restaurants, the primary barriers to implementing sustainable business practices are cost, lack of awareness, and space. For sustainability-marketed restaurants, the barriers included a lack of knowledge or legal concerns. The sustainability-marketed restaurants have energy-efficient equipment and locally source a majority of their food purchases. There is a marked difference between the two types of restaurants in perception of barriers to sustainable business practices. I created a matrix to identify whether each indicator metric was applicable and present at a particular restaurant, and the potential barriers to implementing sustainable practices in each of the four indicator areas. Restaurants can use the assessment matrix to compare their current practices with sustainable practices and find ways to implement new or enhance existing sustainable practices. Identifying the barriers from within restaurants increases our understanding of the reasons why sustainable practices are not automatically adopted by SMEs. The assessment matrix can help restaurants overcome barriers to achieving sustainability by highlighting how to incorporate sustainable business practices.

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Date Created
2011

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Toward sustainable governance of water resources: the case of Guanacaste, Costa Rica

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Research shows that many water governance regimes are failing to guide social-ecological systems away from points, beyond which, damage to social and environmental well-being will be difficult to correct. This problem is apparent in regions that face water conflicts and

Research shows that many water governance regimes are failing to guide social-ecological systems away from points, beyond which, damage to social and environmental well-being will be difficult to correct. This problem is apparent in regions that face water conflicts and climate threats. There remains a need to clarify what is it about governance that people need to change in water conflict prone regions, how to collectively go about doing that, and how research can actively support this. To address these needs, here I present a collaborative research project from the dry tropics of Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica. The project addressed the overarching questions: How can water be governed sustainably in water-contested and climate-threatened regions? And, how can people transition current water governance regimes toward more sustainable ones? In pursuit of these questions, a series of individual studies were performed with many partners and collaborators. These studies included: a participatory analysis and sustainability assessment of current water governance regimes; a case analysis and comparison of water conflicts; constructing alternative governance scenarios; and, developing governance transition strategies. Results highlight the need for water governance that addresses asymmetrical knowledge gaps especially concerning groundwater resources, reconciles disenfranchised groups, and supports local leaders. Yet, actions taken based on these initial results, despite some success influencing policy, found substantial challenges confronting them. In-depth conflict investigations, for example, found that deeply rooted issues such friction between opposing local-based and national institutions were key conflict drivers in the region. To begin addressing these issues, researchers and stakeholders then constructed a set of governing alternatives and devised governance transition strategies that could actively support people to achieve more sustainable alternatives and avoid less sustainable ones. These efforts yielded insight into the collective actions needed to implement more sustainable water governance regimes, including ways to overcoming barriers that drive harmful water conflicts. Actions based on these initial strategies yielded further opportunities, challenges, and lessons. Overall, the project addresses the research and policy gap between identifying what is sustainable water governance and understanding the strategies needed to implement it successfully in regions that experience water conflict and climate impacts.

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2014

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Vulnerability to heat stress in urban areas: a sustainability perspective

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Extreme hot-weather events have become life-threatening natural phenomena in many cities around the world, and the health impacts of excessive heat are expected to increase with climate change (Huang et al. 2011; Knowlton et al. 2007; Meehl and Tebaldi 2004;

Extreme hot-weather events have become life-threatening natural phenomena in many cities around the world, and the health impacts of excessive heat are expected to increase with climate change (Huang et al. 2011; Knowlton et al. 2007; Meehl and Tebaldi 2004; Patz 2005). Heat waves will likely have the worst health impacts in urban areas, where large numbers of vulnerable people reside and where local-scale urban heat island effects (UHI) retard and reduce nighttime cooling. This dissertation presents three empirical case studies that were conducted to advance our understanding of human vulnerability to heat in coupled human-natural systems. Using vulnerability theory as a framework, I analyzed how various social and environmental components of a system interact to exacerbate or mitigate heat impacts on human health, with the goal of contributing to the conceptualization of human vulnerability to heat. The studies: 1) compared the relationship between temperature and health outcomes in Chicago and Phoenix; 2) compared a map derived from a theoretical generic index of vulnerability to heat with a map derived from actual heat-related hospitalizations in Phoenix; and 3) used geospatial information on health data at two areal units to identify the hot spots for two heat health outcomes in Phoenix. The results show a 10-degree Celsius difference in the threshold temperatures at which heat-stress calls in Phoenix and Chicago are likely to increase drastically, and that Chicago is likely to be more sensitive to climate change than Phoenix. I also found that heat-vulnerability indices are sensitive to scale, measurement, and context, and that cities will need to incorporate place-based factors to increase the usefulness of vulnerability indices and mapping to decision making. Finally, I found that identification of geographical hot-spot of heat-related illness depends on the type of data used, scale of measurement, and normalization procedures. I recommend using multiple datasets and different approaches to spatial analysis to overcome this limitation and help decision makers develop effective intervention strategies.

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Date Created
2013

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Socio-ecological drivers and consequences of land fragmentation under conditions of rapid urbanization

Description

Land transformation under conditions of rapid urbanization has significantly altered the structure and functioning of Earth's systems. Land fragmentation, a characteristic of land transformation, is recognized as a primary driving force in the loss of biological diversity worldwide. However, little

Land transformation under conditions of rapid urbanization has significantly altered the structure and functioning of Earth's systems. Land fragmentation, a characteristic of land transformation, is recognized as a primary driving force in the loss of biological diversity worldwide. However, little is known about its implications in complex urban settings where interaction with social dynamics is intense. This research asks: How do patterns of land cover and land fragmentation vary over time and space, and what are the socio-ecological drivers and consequences of land transformation in a rapidly growing city? Using Metropolitan Phoenix as a case study, the research links pattern and process relationships between land cover, land fragmentation, and socio-ecological systems in the region. It examines population growth, water provision and institutions as major drivers of land transformation, and the changes in bird biodiversity that result from land transformation. How to manage socio-ecological systems is one of the biggest challenges of moving towards sustainability. This research project provides a deeper understanding of how land transformation affects socio-ecological dynamics in an urban setting. It uses a series of indices to evaluate land cover and fragmentation patterns over the past twenty years, including land patch numbers, contagion, shapes, and diversities. It then generates empirical evidence on the linkages between land cover patterns and ecosystem properties by exploring the drivers and impacts of land cover change. An interdisciplinary approach that integrates social, ecological, and spatial analysis is applied in this research. Findings of the research provide a documented dataset that can help researchers study the relationship between human activities and biotic processes in an urban setting, and contribute to sustainable urban development.

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Date Created
2013

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Crafting sustainability visions: integrating visioning practice, research, and education

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Sustainability visioning (i.e. the construction of sustainable future states) is considered an important component of sustainability research, for instance, in transformational sustainability science or in planning for urban sustainability. Visioning frees sustainability research from the dominant focus on analyzing problem

Sustainability visioning (i.e. the construction of sustainable future states) is considered an important component of sustainability research, for instance, in transformational sustainability science or in planning for urban sustainability. Visioning frees sustainability research from the dominant focus on analyzing problem constellations and opens it towards positive contributions to social innovation and transformation. Calls are repeatedly made for visions that can guide us towards sustainable futures. Scattered across a broad range of fields (i.e. business, non-government organization, land-use management, natural resource management, sustainability science, urban and regional planning) are an abundance of visioning studies. However, among the few evaluative studies in the literature there are apparent deficits in both the research and practice of visioning that curtails our expectations and prospects of realizing process-based and product-derived outcomes. These deficits suggests that calls instead should focus on the development of applied and theoretical understanding of crafting sustainability visions, enhancing the rigor and robustness of visioning methodology, and on integrating practice, research, and education for collaborative sustainability visioning. From an analysis of prominent visioning and sustainability visioning studies in the literature, this dissertation articulates what is sustainability visioning and synthesizes a conceptual framework for criteria-based design and evaluation of sustainability visioning studies. While current visioning methodologies comply with some of these guidelines, none adhere to all of them. From this research, a novel sustainability visioning methodology is designed to address this gap to craft visions that are shared, systemic, principles-based, action-oriented, relevant, and creative (i.e. SPARC visioning methodology) and evaluated across all quality criteria. Empirical studies were conducted to test and apply the conceptual and methodological frameworks -- with an emphasis on enhancing the rigor and robustness in real world visioning processes for urban planning and teaching sustainability competencies. In-depth descriptions of the collaborative visioning studies demonstrate tangible outcomes for: (a) implementing the above sustainability visioning methodology, including evaluative procedures; (b) adopting meaningful interactive engagement procedures; (c) integrating advanced analytical modeling, sustainability appraisal, and creativity enhancing procedures; and (d) developing perspective and methodological capacity for long-range sustainability planning.

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2013