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2008 Beyond Conjecture: Learning About Ecosystem Management from the Glen Canyon Dam Experiment

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This brief article, written for a symposium on "Collaboration and the Colorado River," evaluates the U.S. Department of the Interior's Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program ("AMP"). The AMP has

This brief article, written for a symposium on "Collaboration and the Colorado River," evaluates the U.S. Department of the Interior's Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program ("AMP"). The AMP has been advanced as a pioneering collaborative and adaptive approach for both decreasing scientific uncertainty in support of regulatory decision-making and helping manage contentious resource disputes -- in this case, the increasingly thorny conflict over the Colorado River's finite natural resources. Though encouraging in some respects, the AMP serves as a valuable illustration of the flaws of existing regulatory processes purporting to incorporate collaboration and regulatory adaptation into the decision-making process. Born in the shadow of the law and improvised with too little thought as to its structure, the AMP demonstrates the need to attend to the design of the regulatory process and integrate mechanisms that compel systematic program evaluation and adaptation. As such, the AMP provides vital information on how future collaborative experiments might be modified to enhance their prospects of success.

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  • 2008-09-19

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2010 Collaborative Planning and Adaptive Management in Glen Canyon: A Cautionary Tale

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The Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program (AMP) has been identified as a model for natural resource management. We challenge that assertion, citing the lack of progress toward a long-term

The Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program (AMP) has been identified as a model for natural resource management. We challenge that assertion, citing the lack of progress toward a long-term management plan for the dam, sustained extra-programmatic conflict, and a downriver ecology that is still in jeopardy, despite over ten years of meetings and an expensive research program. We have examined the primary and secondary sources available on the AMP’s design and operation in light of best practices identified in the literature on adaptive management and collaborative decision-making. We have identified six shortcomings: (1) an inadequate approach to identifying stakeholders; (2) a failure to provide clear goals and involve stakeholders in establishing the operating procedures that guide the collaborative process; (3) inappropriate use of professional neutrals and a failure to cultivate consensus; (4) a failure to establish and follow clear joint fact-finding procedures; (5) a failure to produce functional written agreements; and (6) a failure to manage the AMP adaptively and cultivate long-term problem-solving capacity.

Adaptive management can be an effective approach for addressing complex ecosystem-related processes like the operation of the Glen Canyon Dam, particularly in the face of substantial complexity, uncertainty, and political contentiousness. However, the Glen Canyon Dam AMP shows that a stated commitment to collaboration and adaptive management is insufficient. Effective management of natural resources can only be realized through careful attention to the collaborative design and implementation of appropriate problem-solving and adaptive-management procedures. It also requires the development of an appropriate organizational infrastructure that promotes stakeholder dialogue and agency learning. Though the experimental Glen Canyon Dam AMP is far from a success of collaborative adaptive management, the lessons from its shortcomings can foster more effective collaborative adaptive management in the future by Congress, federal agencies, and local and state authorities.

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  • 2010-03-23

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Living in Place: Using Public Participation to Foster Meaningful Connections

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Public participation is lauded as a keystone of sustainability policy and community development. Sustainability issues span all sectors of society and are best addressed at the local level, which makes

Public participation is lauded as a keystone of sustainability policy and community development. Sustainability issues span all sectors of society and are best addressed at the local level, which makes community involvement and participation necessary for building local sustainability strategies. But do public participation events actually foster meaningful connections among those who attend? How can we as sustainability experts empower communities to share their knowledge about the place where they live? This project starts by considering at gaps in public participation processes that prevent members of a community from building a sense of trust. Major gaps identified in the public participation process include a lack of attention to underlying power dynamics, unaddressed social tensions, and a lack of focus on the co-creation of knowledge. These gaps lead to a lack of trust between facilitators and participants, and prevents participants from feeling invested in the process and forming meaningful connections with their fellow participants. Based on the gaps identified in public participation processes, the second part of this project focused on hosting a workshop that would bring people together in an effort to rebuild trust. The workshop centered around the meaning of community and sense of place, as these topics are relevant to the health and relationships of communities. The event was hosted on Arizona State University's Tempe campus, and the participants were all connected to the university in some way (student, faculty, or alumni). A pre-workshop survey was sent out to participants to gauge favorite places on campus and what made those places meaningful. The workshop itself was broken into two parts: Part One focused on the building a trusting space for the workshop and unpacking the definition of community in a group discussion. Part Two included two mapping exercises that engaged participants in how the land around ASU's Tempe campus had changed over time, followed by a discussion about how the history of land affects communities. A post-workshop survey was sent out two weeks after the event to see how participants had incorporated lessons from the workshop, if at all. The workshop process brought up several interesting areas for further research. One outcome of the discussion in Part One of the workshop was that the participants tended to think of community in terms of relationships rather than place. People also interacted differently based on how confident they were in their knowledge of the topic at hand, whether expert or informal. Public participation workshops like this have implications for how governments, businesses and schools approach stakeholder engagement. With the right balance of power and co-creation of knowledge, public participation events can become places for members of a community to rebuild trust in each other and the institutions that govern them.

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  • 2018-05

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Native American Participation in Public Lands Management: An Historical Evaluation

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The purpose of this paper is to explore the historical development of Native Americans' participation in public lands management. The literature on federal-tribal relations in public lands management demonstrates that

The purpose of this paper is to explore the historical development of Native Americans' participation in public lands management. The literature on federal-tribal relations in public lands management demonstrates that Native Americans face an uphill battle in order to receive recognition of and protection for their cultural and traditional ties to public lands. This paper uses Arnstein's ladder of participation to evaluate several historical examples of federal-tribal relations in public lands management. Arnstein's ladder of participation shows how different forms of participation correspond to an individual or groups power to affect outcomes of decision-making processes. The examples discussed in this paper are explicative of these different forms of participation and show that the predominance of hierarchical power structures and particular cultural ideals of American society have impeded recognition of and protection for Native Americans' cultural and traditional ties to public lands. Around the end of the 19th century and start of the 20th century, forms of nonparticipation excluded Native Americans from the emerging dialogue concerning the nation's first public lands. Although Native Americans became more militant and assertive in the economic, political, and cultural spheres of American society as time went on, tokenistic forms of participation still precluded effective and equitable recognition of and protection for their cultural and traditional ties to public lands. This paper concludes with an evaluation of the recent creation of Bears Ears National Monument by presidential proclamation and how the organization and activism by several tribes to receive protection for the Bears Ears landscape demonstrates the potential for similar approaches to produce more effective and equitable forms of participation.

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  • 2019-05

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When the appropriators become the appropriated: battling for the right to the city in South Phoenix, Arizona

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Urban planning in the neoliberal era is marred by a lack of public engagement with urban inhabitants. Henri Lefebvre’s ‘right to the city’ theory is often treated as a way

Urban planning in the neoliberal era is marred by a lack of public engagement with urban inhabitants. Henri Lefebvre’s ‘right to the city’ theory is often treated as a way to empower disenfranchised urban inhabitants who are lacking control over the urban spaces they occupy. Though the right to the city has seen a resurgence in recent literature, we still lack a deep understanding of how right to the city movements work in practice, and what the process looks like through the lens of the everyday urban inhabitant. This dissertation seeks to fill these gaps by examining: 1) how a minority-led grassroots movement activates their right to the city in the face of an incoming light rail extension project in South Phoenix, Arizona, USA, and 2) how their right to the city movement demonstrates the possibility of urban society beyond the current control of neoliberalism. Through the use of participant observation, interviews, and media analysis, this case reveals the methods and tactics used by the group to activate their right to the city, the intra-and inter-group dynamics in the case, and the challenges that ultimately lead to the group’s demise.Tactics used by the group included protesting, organizing against city council, and creating a ballot initiative. Intra-group dynamics were often marred by conflicts over leadership and the acceptance of outside help, while inter-group conflicts erupted between the group, politicians, and pro-light rail supporters. The primary challenge to the group’s right to the city movement included neoliberal appropriation by local politicians and outside political group. By possessing limited experience, knowledge, and resources in conducting a right to the city movement, the grassroots group in this case was left asking for help from neoliberal supporters who used their funding as a way to appropriate the urban inhabitant’s movement. Findings indicate positive possibilities of a future urban society outside of neoliberalism through autogestion, and provide areas where urban planners can improve upon the right to the city. If urban planners seek out and nurture instances of the right to the city, urban inhabitants will have greater control over planning projects that effect their neighborhoods.

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  • 2019

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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.

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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Visioning in urban planning: a critical review and synthesis

Description

Planners are often involved in the development of 'visions' for specific projects or larger plans. These visions often serve as guideposts for more specific plans or projects and the visioning

Planners are often involved in the development of 'visions' for specific projects or larger plans. These visions often serve as guideposts for more specific plans or projects and the visioning process is important for involving community members into the planning process. This paper provides a review of the recent literature published about visioning and is intended to provide guidance for visioning activities in planning projects. I use the general term "vision" in reference to a desirable state in the future. The body of academic literature on visioning in planning has been growing over the last decade. However, the planning literature on visioning is diverse and dispersed, posing various challenges to researchers and planners seeking guidance for their own planning (research) activities. For one, relevant articles on visioning are scattered over different strands of literature ranging from traditional planning literature (Journal of the American Planning Association, Planning Practice and Research, etc.) to less traditional and intuitive sources (Futures, Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology). Further, some of them not easily identifiable and may not be openly accessible via the Internet. Thus, our review intends to help collect and synthesize this literature and begin to provide guidance for the future of visioning in the field of planning. I do this by compiling visioning literature from different strands of the planning literature, synthesizing key insights into visioning in (urban) planning, undertaking exemplary appraisals of visioning approaches in planning against quality criteria, and deriving conclusions for visioning research and practice. From this review, I highlight areas of opportunity and ways forward in order to make visioning more effective and more influential for the future of communities throughout the world.

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  • 2013

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Public participation and the impact of third-party facilitators

Description

Research suggests that a particularly important variable in determining success in public participation is the presence of a facilitator. Data from a study of 239 public participation case studies is

Research suggests that a particularly important variable in determining success in public participation is the presence of a facilitator. Data from a study of 239 public participation case studies is analyzed using descriptive and statistical analysis to determine the impact on success of the participation efforts if a facilitator is present and whether or not internal versus external facilitators have a significant impact on success. The data suggest that facilitators have a positive impact on the success of public participation efforts and, in particular, that public participation efforts that use facilitators are more successful when the facilitator is a third-party intermediary (external) versus a member of the lead agency's staff (internal).

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  • 2013