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Numerical study of the effect of urbanization on the climate

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This study uses the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model to simulate and predict the changes in local climate attributed to the urbanization for five desert cities. The simulations are performed in the fashion of climate downscaling, constrained by the

This study uses the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model to simulate and predict the changes in local climate attributed to the urbanization for five desert cities. The simulations are performed in the fashion of climate downscaling, constrained by the surface boundary conditions generated from high resolution land-use maps. For each city, the land-use maps of 1985 and 2010 from Landsat satellite observation, and a projected land-use map for 2030, are used to represent the past, present, and future. An additional set of simulations for Las Vegas, the largest of the five cities, uses the NLCD 1992 and 2006 land-use maps and an idealized historical land-use map with no urban coverage for 1900.

The study finds that urbanization in Las Vegas produces a classic urban heat island (UHI) at night but a minor cooling during the day. A further analysis of the surface energy balance shows that the decrease in surface Albedo and increase effective emissivity play an important role in shaping the local climate change over urban areas. The emerging urban structures slow down the diurnal wind circulation over the city due to an increased effective surface roughness. This leads to a secondary modification of temperature due to the interaction between the mechanical and thermodynamic effects of urbanization.

The simulations for the five desert cities for 1985 and 2010 further confirm a common pattern of the climatic effect of urbanization with significant nighttime warming and moderate daytime cooling. This effect is confined to the urban area and is not sensitive to the size of the city or the detail of land cover in the surrounding areas. The pattern of nighttime warming and daytime cooling remains robust in the simulations for the future climate of the five cities using the projected 2030 land-use maps. Inter-city differences among the five urban areas are discussed.

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2015

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Effects of climate change and urban development on the distribution and conservation of vegetation in a Mediterranean type ecosystem

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Climate and land use change are projected to threaten biodiversity over the coming century. However, the combined effects of these threats on biodiversity and the capacity of current conservation networks to protect species' habitat are not well understood. The goals

Climate and land use change are projected to threaten biodiversity over the coming century. However, the combined effects of these threats on biodiversity and the capacity of current conservation networks to protect species' habitat are not well understood. The goals of this study were to evaluate the effect of climate change and urban development on vegetation distribution in a Mediterranean-type ecosystem; to identify the primary source of uncertainty in suitable habitat predictions; and to evaluate how well conservation areas protect future habitat in the Southwest ecoregion of the California Floristic Province. I used a consensus-based modeling approach combining three different species distribution models to predict current and future suitable habitat for 19 plant species representing different plant functional types (PFT) defined by fire-response (obligate seeders, resprouting shrubs), and life forms (herbs, subshurbs). I also examined the response of species grouped by range sizes (large, small). I used two climate models, two emission scenarios, two thresholds, and high-resolution (90m resolution) environmental data to create a range of potential scenarios. I evaluated the effectiveness of an existing conservation network to protect suitable habitat for rare species in light of climate and land use change. The results indicate that the area of suitable habitat for each species varied depending on the climate model, emission scenario, and threshold combination. The suitable habitat for up to four species could disappear from the ecoregion, while suitable habitat for up to 15 other species could decrease under climate change conditions. The centroid of the species' suitable environmental conditions could shift up to 440 km. Large net gains in suitable habitat were predicted for a few species. The suitable habitat area for herbs has a small response to climate change, while obligate seeders could be the most affected PFT. The results indicate that the other two PFTs gain a considerable amount of suitable habitat area. Several rare species could lose suitable habitat area inside designated conservation areas while gaining suitable habitat area outside. Climate change is predicted to be more important than urban development as a driver of habitat loss for vegetation in this region in the coming century. These results indicate that regional analyses of this type are useful and necessary to understand the dynamics of drivers of change at the regional scale and to inform decision making at this scale.

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2012

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Effects of urbanization on arthropod diversity, community structure and trophic dynamics

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Urban ecosystems cover less than 3% of the Earth's land surface, yet more than half of the human population lives in urban areas. The process of urbanization stresses biodiversity and other ecosystem functions within and far beyond the city. To

Urban ecosystems cover less than 3% of the Earth's land surface, yet more than half of the human population lives in urban areas. The process of urbanization stresses biodiversity and other ecosystem functions within and far beyond the city. To understand the mechanisms underlying observed changes in biodiversity patterns, several observational and experimental studies were performed in the metropolitan area of Phoenix, Arizona, and the surrounding Sonoran Desert. The first study was comprised of seven years of arthropod monitoring using pitfall traps in common urban land-use types. This study revealed differences in community structure, diversity and abundance over time and between urban and wildland habitats. Urban habitats with high productivity had higher abundances of arthropods, but lower diversity compared to wildland habitats. Arthropod abundance in less-productive urban habitats was positively correlated with precipitation, but abundance in high-productivity urban habitats was completely decoupled from annual fluctuations in precipitation. This study showed the buffering capacity and the habitat heterogeneity of urban areas. To test the mechanisms controlling community diversity and structure in urban areas, a major field experiment was initiated. Productivity of the native shrub Encelia farinosa and bird predation of associated arthropods were manipulated to test whether bottom-up or top-down forces were more important in urban habitats compared to wildland habitats. Abundance, richness and similarity were monitored, revealing clear differences between urban and wildland habitats. An unusually cold and dry first season had a negative effect on plant growth and arthropod abundance. Plants in urban habitats were relatively unaffected by the low temperature. An increase in arthropod abundance with water availability indicated bottom-up forces in wildland habitats, whereas results from bird exclusions suggested that bird predation may not be as prominent in cities as previously thought. In contrast to the pitfall study, arthropod abundance was lower in urban habitats. A second field experiment testing the sheltering effect of urban structures demonstrated that reduced wind speed is an important factor facilitating plant growth in urban areas. A mathematical model incorporating wind, water and temperature demonstrated that urban habitats may be more robust than wildland habitats, supporting the empirical results.

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2010

A Review on the Generation, Determination and Mitigation of Urban Heat Island

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Urban Heat Island (UHI) is considered as one of the major problems in the 21st century posed to human beings as a result of urbanization and industrialization of human civilization. The large amount of heat generated from urban structures, as

Urban Heat Island (UHI) is considered as one of the major problems in the 21st century posed to human beings as a result of urbanization and industrialization of human civilization. The large amount of heat generated from urban structures, as they consume and re-radiate solar radiations, and from the anthropogenic heat sources are the main causes of UHI. The two heat sources increase the temperatures of an urban area as compared to its surroundings, which is known as Urban Heat Island Intensity (UHII). The problem is even worse in cities or metropolises with large population and extensive economic activities. The estimated three billion people living in the urban areas in the world are directly exposed to the problem, which will be increased significantly in the near future. Due to the severity of the problem, vast research effort has been dedicated and a wide range of literature is available for the subject. The literature available in this area includes the latest research approaches, concepts, methodologies, latest investigation tools and mitigation measures. This study was carried out to review and summarize this research area through an investigation of the most important feature of UHI. It was concluded that the heat re-radiated by the urban structures plays the most important role which should be investigated in details to study urban heating especially the UHI. It was also concluded that the future research should be focused on design and planning parameters for reducing the effects of urban heat island and ultimately living in a better environment.

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2007-09-27

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Metropolitan fusion or folly: the creation of a multiple-nodal metropolis in Taiyuan, Shanxi, China

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Targeted growth is necessary for sustainable urbanization. There is a pattern in China of rapid development due to inflated projections. This creates "ghost towns" and underutilized urban services that don't support the population.

In the case of Taiyuan, this industrial third-tier

Targeted growth is necessary for sustainable urbanization. There is a pattern in China of rapid development due to inflated projections. This creates "ghost towns" and underutilized urban services that don't support the population.

In the case of Taiyuan, this industrial third-tier city of 4.2 million people. A majority of the newer residential services and high-end commercial areas are on the older, eastern side of the city. Since 2007, major urban investments have been made in developing the corridor that leads to the airport, including building a massive hospital, a new sports stadium, and "University City". The intention of the city officials is to encourage a new image of Taiyuan- one that is a tourist destination, one that has a high standard of living for residents. However, the consequences of these major developments might be immense, because of the required shift of community, residents and capital that would be required to sustain these new areas. Much of the new development lacks the reliable and frequent public transit of the more established downtown areas.

Do these investments in medical complexes, sports stadiums and massive shopping centers create new jobs that impact the income disparity, or do these new areas take years to fill, creating vacuums of investment that remove funding from areas with established communities? Can Taiyuan move successfully to a post-industrial economy with these government interventions, or is it too much too soon?

By examining demographic data from 2000, 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013, research on sustainability assessments in Chinese cities (Lu Jia), and translated government publications detailing the urbanization efforts in Taiyuan, I will assess the results of the urbanization changes instituted by the new mayor, Geng Yanbo. My thesis will evaluate the success and failures of these policies and the implications for Taiyuan.

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2014

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Understanding the generative process in traditional urbanism: an application using pattern and form languages

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Scholars have called for better understanding of the generative process, a process underlying the creation of urban form that often has positive qualities such as coherence, human scale, flexibility, and adaptability. The generative process is incremental and continually refined, producing

Scholars have called for better understanding of the generative process, a process underlying the creation of urban form that often has positive qualities such as coherence, human scale, flexibility, and adaptability. The generative process is incremental and continually refined, producing urban settlements that respond to feedback. Redefining the pattern language as a system of knowledge generation, and a method to acquire essential information and re-create historical contexts, this dissertation aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the generative process and the corresponding urban codes of traditional cities. The dissertation consists of three complete yet interconnecting articles. The first article examines the structural components of the generative process— place-based norms and urban codes—and their roles in generative development. Two traditions of urbanism with distinctive and coherent forms and different levels of imposed regulations were investigated: medieval European and Arabic-Islamic. The study finds that place-based norms are the core of any generative process. Whenever written codes do not control urban space, these norms emerge to operationalize the building process. The second article investigates the generative process through the operationality of patterns, properties, and a sequence in the creation of the traditional form of the town of Hoian, Vietnam. The recurrence of each property and the pattern of its repetition in urban elements are investigated to assess the impact of generative forces on the urban form of Hoian. Fifteen of Alexander’s properties and ten of Lynch’s qualities were also combined into a set of twenty properties of urban elements. Finally, the third article observes and then explores the unfolding of the generative process using the virtual online platform OpenSim, thereby verifying the operationality of the generative process revealed in the previous two articles. The paper substantiates the proposition that the generative system includes patterns and urban properties that can serve as rules for directing urban growth. These rules build diverse and unified urban settlements.

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2015

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Simulated climate impacts of Mexico City's historical urban expansion

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Urbanization, a direct consequence of land use and land cover change, is responsible for significant modification of local to regional scale climates. It is projected that the greatest urban growth of this century will occur in urban areas in the

Urbanization, a direct consequence of land use and land cover change, is responsible for significant modification of local to regional scale climates. It is projected that the greatest urban growth of this century will occur in urban areas in the developing world. In addition, there is a significant research gap in emerging nations concerning this topic. Thus, this research focuses on the assessment of climate impacts related to urbanization on the largest metropolitan area in Latin America: Mexico City.

Numerical simulations using a state-of-the-science regional climate model are utilized to address a trio of scientifically relevant questions with wide global applicability. The importance of an accurate representation of land use and land cover is first demonstrated through comparison of numerical simulations against observations. Second, the simulated effect of anthropogenic heating is quantified. Lastly, numerical simulations are performed using pre-historic scenarios of land use and land cover to examine and quantify the impact of Mexico City's urban expansion and changes in surface water features on its regional climate.

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2015

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Population ecology and stoichiometry of the western black widow spider: from solitary desert predator to urban pest

Description

Human-induced rapid environmental change (HIREC) influences nearly all of Earth's ecosystems through processes such as urbanization. Previous studies have found that urbanization influences biodiversity patterns, often yielding an increase in the abundance of a few urban-adapted taxa at the expense

Human-induced rapid environmental change (HIREC) influences nearly all of Earth's ecosystems through processes such as urbanization. Previous studies have found that urbanization influences biodiversity patterns, often yielding an increase in the abundance of a few urban-adapted taxa at the expense of native species diversity. The western black widow spider, Latrodectus hesperus, is a medically-important pest species that often forms dense urban subpopulations (i.e., infestations) relative to the low-density subpopulations found throughout undisturbed, desert habitat. Here, I employ field and laboratory studies to examine the population ecology and stoichiometry of this urban pest to increase our understanding of the mechanisms underlying its success. The population ecology of ten black widow subpopulations spread across metropolitan Phoenix, AZ was examined during the peak breeding season (June-August). This study revealed that arthropod prey abundance, female mass and population density of females showed significant spatial variation across the ten subpopulations. Additionally, prey abundance and foraging success, measured as the number of carcasses found in webs, were a strong determinant of female mass and population density within each subpopulation. To test the mechanisms that drive black widow infestations, I used ecological stoichiometry to examine the nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorus) composition of spiders and arthropod prey from urban habitat, desert habitat and a laboratory diet regime. These studies revealed that (1) spiders are more nutrient rich than cricket prey in the field, (2) spider subpopulations exhibit significant spatial variation in their nitrogen composition, (3) nutrient composition of urban spider subpopulations does not differ significantly from Sonoran desert subpopulations, (4) laboratory-reared spiders fed a diet of only laboratory-reared crickets are more nitrogen and phosphorus limited than field-captured spiders, and (5) cannibalism by laboratory-reared spiders alleviated phosphorus limitation, but not nitrogen limitation, when compared to field-captured spiders. This work highlights the need to examine the population ecology of species relationships, such as predator-prey dynamics, to fully understand the fecundity and population growth of urban pest species. Moreover, the integration of population ecology and stoichiometry illustrates the need to address mechanisms like nutrient limitation that may explain why urban pest populations thrive and native species diversity suffers following HIREC.

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2012

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Wuhan's changing peri-urban zone: the case of Dongxihu district

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Peri-urbanization is a process in which previously rural areas on the outskirts of established cities become more urban in character. This process is of great significance in China, because peri-urbanization is often manufacturing and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) driven. After

Peri-urbanization is a process in which previously rural areas on the outskirts of established cities become more urban in character. This process is of great significance in China, because peri-urbanization is often manufacturing and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) driven. After witnessing the dramatic development of the Eastern Coastal Region from the mid-1980s, China recently changed its regional development focus to interior regions to pursue more spatial equity within the nation. Wuhan, as the most populous city in central China, is experiencing significant peri-urbanization. The thesis focuses on Dongxihu District, a representative peri-urban area in Wuhan Municipality.

To explore peri-urbanization in Dongxihu, this study first documents the metrics of ongoing peri-urbanization in the District from land use, economic, demographic and institutional perspectives. Causality is explored by relating peri-urban outcomes to drivers within the framework of research questions, namely: (i) What is driving peri-urban change in Dongxihu? (ii) Which drivers of peri-urbanization in the District are most important? (iii) How can Dong Xi Hu's peri-urbanization process and outcomes best be characterized? and (iv) What policy implications can be drawn from Dong Xi Hu's peri-urbanization experience?

The primary conclusion is that Dongxihu's peri-urbanization is primarily manufacturing driven, resembling previous first generation peri-urbanization on the coast more than the more diverse peri-urban outcomes now emerging in wealthy coastal metropolitan areas, e.g., Shanghai.

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2016

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Designing institutions and health education interventions for sustainable supply of safe water in urban informal settlements: the case of Kenya

Description

Diarrheal diseases caused by poor water, sanitation and hygiene continue to kill more children in Sub-Saharan Africa's burgeoning informal urban settlements than in any other part of the world. In recent years, Delegated Management Model (DMM), a partnership in which

Diarrheal diseases caused by poor water, sanitation and hygiene continue to kill more children in Sub-Saharan Africa's burgeoning informal urban settlements than in any other part of the world. In recent years, Delegated Management Model (DMM), a partnership in which a utility delegates service management to slum residents have been promoted as new models to improve services.

This dissertation examines the benefits of DMM by comparing water services in three informal settlements in Kisumu city, Kenya: two slums where DMM has been implemented, and one, a control, where it has not. In addition, the research examined how school-based hygiene interventions could be designed to improve safe water and hygiene knowledge in urban informal settlements. This study compared outcomes of two approaches to hygiene education, one which combined messages with participatory water testing; the second used hygiene messages alone.

Results of the DMM study showed that DMM implementation had lowered water cost and improved provider accountability. However, unhygienic water collection and handling practices on the part of the service users could contaminate drinking water that was clean at the delivery point, thus preventing the intended health outcomes of DMM from being realized. Results of the hygiene education intervention showed that one week after the inventions, hygiene knowledge among students who received the intervention that combined hygiene messages with participatory water testing was significantly improved. Evaluation of the intervention 12 months after implementation showed that the hygiene knowledge gained was sustained.

The research findings suggest that: i) regular monitoring of water quality at the kiosks is essential to ensure that the DMM model achieves intended health outcomes, ii) sanitation conditions at kiosk sites need to be regulated to meet minimum hygiene standards, and iii) customers need to be educated on safe water collection and storage practices. Finally, school-based hygiene education could be made more effective by including hands-on water testing by students. Making sustainable impact on health and wellbeing of slum residents requires not only building effective partnerships for water delivery, but also paying close attention to the other points of intervention within the water system.

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2014