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"Moving Forward: Developing our Community Today, for Tomorrow"

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Civic engagement is often defined as political activism; to be a part of governmental decision making, the practices thereof, and various efforts of participation in voting. However, civic engagement is also known for its role within non-political work, such as

Civic engagement is often defined as political activism; to be a part of governmental decision making, the practices thereof, and various efforts of participation in voting. However, civic engagement is also known for its role within non-political work, such as community building and development. Because of the former definition many members of our society have a tendency to not embrace the full potential of their community roles. It is always about who is a Republican, who is a Democrat, who looks better, or who has a better name. Now it must be noted that this is not in absolute, not all members of our society work in this thought process, but many still do. If that doesn't come as a surprise to you, then the simplicity of how you can be an engaged member will. As a student attending Arizona State University at the West campus in Phoenix, Arizona, I have chosen to challenge the traditional view of civic engagement and prepare this development plan for the campus community. Having done so, I not only discovered the paths that one can take to be engaged in such matters, but also continued my role as a civil servant.

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2015-05

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Aligning public participation processes in urban development projects to the local context

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Public participation is considered an essential process for achieving sustainable urban development. Often, however, insufficient attention is paid to the design of public participation, and processes are formulaic. Then, participation may not match the local context of the

Public participation is considered an essential process for achieving sustainable urban development. Often, however, insufficient attention is paid to the design of public participation, and processes are formulaic. Then, participation may not match the local context of the communities within which a project is conducted. As a result, participation may become co-optative or coercive, stakeholders may lose trust, and outcomes may favor special interests or be unsustainable, among other shortcomings.

In this research, urban public participation is a collaborative decision-making process between residents, businesses, experts, public officials, and other stakeholders. When processes are not attuned with the local context (participant lifestyles, needs, interests, and capacities) misalignments between process and context arise around living conditions and personal circumstances, stakeholder trust, civic engagement, collaborative capacity, and sustainability literacy, among others.

This dissertation asks (1) what challenges arise when the public participation process does not match the local context, (2) what are key elements of public participation processes that are aligned with the local context, (3) what are ways to design public participation that align with specific local contexts, and (4) what societal qualities and conditions are necessary for meaningful participatory processes?

These questions are answered through four interrelated studies. Study 1 analyzes the current state of the problem by reviewing public participation processes and categorizing common misalignments with the local context. Study 2 envisions a future in which the problem is solved by identifying the features of well-aligned processes. Studies 3 and 4 test interventions for achieving the vision.

This dissertation presents a framework for analyzing the local context in urban development projects and designing public participation processes to meet this context. This work envisions public participation processes aligned with their local context, and it presents directives for designing deliberative decision-making processes for sustainable urban development. The dissertation applies a systems perspective to the social process of public participation, and it provides empirical support for theoretical debates on public participation while creating actionable knowledge for planners and practitioners.

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2015

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Toward a Better Understanding of Complex Emergency Response Systems: An Event-Driven Lens for Integrating Formal and Volunteer-Based, Participatory Emergency Responses

Description

Traditionally, emergency response is in large part the role and responsibility of formal organizations. Advances in information technology enable amateurs or concerned publics to play a meaningful role in emergency response. Indeed, in recent catastrophic disasters or crises such as

Traditionally, emergency response is in large part the role and responsibility of formal organizations. Advances in information technology enable amateurs or concerned publics to play a meaningful role in emergency response. Indeed, in recent catastrophic disasters or crises such as the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the 2011 Japan earthquake and nuclear crisis, participatory online groups of the general public from both across the globe and the affected areas made significant contributions to the effective response through crowdsourcing vital information and assisting with the allocation of needed resources. Thus, a more integrative lens is needed to understand the responses of various actors to catastrophic crises or disasters by taking into account not only formal organizations with legal responsibilities, but also volunteer-based, participatory groups who actively participate in emergency response. In this dissertation, I first developed an “event-driven” lens for integrating both formal and volunteer-based, participatory emergency responses on the basis of a comprehensive literature review (chapter 1). Then I conducted a deeper analysis of one aspect of the event-driven lens: relationships between participatory online groups and formal organizations in crisis or disaster situations. Specifically, I explored organizational and technical determinants and outcomes of forming such relationships (chapter 2). As a consequence, I found out three determinants (resource dependence, shared understanding, and information technology) and two outcomes (inter-organizational alignment and the effectiveness of coordinated emergency response) of the relationship between participatory online groups and formal organizations and suggested seven hypotheses. Furthermore, I empirically tested these hypotheses, focusing on the 2015 Nepal earthquake case (chapter 3). As a result, I found empirical evidence that supports that shared understanding and information technology improve the development of the relationship between participatory online groups and formal organizations. Moreover, research findings support that the development of the relationship enhances inter-organizational coordination. Lastly, I provide implications for future research (chapter 4). This dissertation is expected to contribute to bridging the disconnect between the emergency management literature and the crisis informatics literature. The theoretical insight from inter-organizational relations (IOR) theory provides another contribution.

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Date Created
2016

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Case study: the closing of the Arizona interfaith alliance for worker justice and implications on barriers to civic engagement in its wake

Description

The Arizona Interfaith Alliance for Worker Justice (AIAWJ) was a mediating structure for those who wanted to be civically engaged in the labor movement and other coalitions in Phoenix, Arizona. It not only served its constituents, but it integrated, educated,

The Arizona Interfaith Alliance for Worker Justice (AIAWJ) was a mediating structure for those who wanted to be civically engaged in the labor movement and other coalitions in Phoenix, Arizona. It not only served its constituents, but it integrated, educated, and empowered them. Due to lack of funding the AIAWJ closed in the summer of 2016. Many community members from marginalized neighborhoods, other concerned citizens, students, myself, and others participated in their first and only civic engagement opportunities through this organization and were subsequently left with no connections, a barrier to being civically engaged. Through interviews and secondary data research, the relationship between people, mediating structures, and civic engagement activity are examined. The key findings support existing research that emphasizes the importance of mediating structures when it comes to civic engagement.

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Date Created
2016

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Paradoxes to Intersections—Discovering the Invitations as a Bharata-Nrityam Teacher in the United States

Description

The Bharata-Natyam student in the United States (US) is challenged by how to effectively translate their dance into contemporary lived experiences. Research reveals that this dilemma is sometimes addressed by transplanting learnt choreographies into a new theme, sometimes adding verbal

The Bharata-Natyam student in the United States (US) is challenged by how to effectively translate their dance into contemporary lived experiences. Research reveals that this dilemma is sometimes addressed by transplanting learnt choreographies into a new theme, sometimes adding verbal text to connect learnt choreography to contemporary issues, or sometimes simply giving up the dance form. Years of training in prevalent Bharata-Natyam education methods make students proficient in re-producing choreography but leave them without the tools to create. This is due to emphasis on guarding traditions and leaving interpretation for later stages that never arrive or get interrupted, because students leave their spaces of Indian-ness for college or a job. This work considers how Bharata-Natyam teachers in the US might support students in finding agency in their dance practice, using it to explore their lived experiences outside dance class, and engaging meaningfully with it beyond the Indian diaspora. The desire for agency is not a discarding of tradition; rather, it is a desire to dance better. This work reinforces the ancient Indian tradition of inquiry to seek knowledge by implementing the principles of Bharata-Nrityam, somatics and engaged pedagogy through the use of creative tools. This took place in three stages: (i) lessons in the Bharata-Nrityam studio, (ii) making Kriti with non-Bharata-Natyam dancers, and (iii) designing a collaborative action dance project between senior Bharata-Natyam students and community partners who are survivors of sexual/domestic violence.
The results, in each case, demonstrated that the use of creative tools based in the principles above enriched the teaching-learning process through deeper investigation and greater investment for both student and teacher. Students in the early stages of learning thrived, while senior students expressed that having these tools earlier would have been valuable to their practice. These results suggest that when Bharata-Natyam education in the US is refocused through the lenses of Bharata-Nrityam, somatics and engaged pedagogy, teachers can access tools to empower their students in their practice of Bharata-Natyam not only within the context of the Indian diaspora but also beyond.

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Date Created
2020

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Longitudinal Associations of Hope and Prosocial and Civic Behaviors in Emerging Adulthood

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Within a positive youth development framework, Lerner and colleagues posited that youth and young adults are societal assets that support the pillars of democracy and incite community contribution through the development of individual character strengths. Strengths might include hope and

Within a positive youth development framework, Lerner and colleagues posited that youth and young adults are societal assets that support the pillars of democracy and incite community contribution through the development of individual character strengths. Strengths might include hope and civic attitudes, which researchers have linked to numerous positive outcomes; however, connections to civic behaviors are largely unknown. Developmentally, shifting identities, excitement about the future, and an introduction into formal citizenship within U.S. society characterize the emerging adulthood period. Emerging adulthood is also characterized by burgeoning relationships and service opportunities, particularly on college campuses. These factors make emerging adulthood a prime context in which to investigate the aims of the current study, which centered on investigation of the development of hope and civic attitudes, and how each contributed to civic engagement including interpersonal prosocial behavior, community volunteering, and political behaviors. Effortful control was hypothesized to play a role in relations as an intrapersonal factor that implicated relations between hope and civic attitudes and outcomes, and was therefore included as a moderator. Sample consisted of 217 emerging adults (~ 67% female, 58% White, 30% Pell-grant eligible, 19-20 years old) across three time points at a major university in the southwest U.S. from spring 2019 to spring 2020. Path models, structural equation models, and moderation analyses evidenced direct relations between hope and interpersonal prosocial behavior. Civic attitudes directly related to community volunteering and political engagement. Transactional relations between hope and civic engagement were not apparent. Similarly, moderation analyses showed no interactive effects between hope and civic attitudes and effortful control on study outcomes. Findings evidenced stability in hope and civic attitudes across early emerging adulthood and invited future work investigating the development of each in early adolescence and later emerging adulthood. Future interventions might prioritize the development of hope in efforts to increase interpersonal prosociality and civic attitudes to increase volunteering and political engagement among emerging adults, where civic engagement has been historically low. Overall, findings supported hope and civic attitudes as hallmarks of positive youth development with the potential to uniquely contribute to community enhancement in emerging adulthood.

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Date Created
2021