Matching Items (28)

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Walker Norris

Description

Extreme heat is the deadliest weather and climate-related hazard in the United States, and the threat it poses to urban residents is rising. City planners increasingly recognize these risks

Extreme heat is the deadliest weather and climate-related hazard in the United States, and the threat it poses to urban residents is rising. City planners increasingly recognize these risks and are taking action to mitigate them. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many plans. Building on a previous survey which queried city planners from across the United States about how concerned they were about extreme heat, and their heat management efforts. This thesis examines how these perceptions and efforts have changed in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. In general, it was found that public spaces which would typically have been used to shelter individuals from extreme heat conditions were closed to mitigate close-contact and to encourage social distancing. Furthermore, priorities were changed as the presence of the virus became commonplace, with plans being altered, delayed, or shelved to diverge more time and effort towards the crisis at hand. Working environments and conditions also changed, which in several cases led to technological shortcomings, resulting in further delays. Finally, most planners had attained a surface-level understanding of which socio-economic groups were most impacted by both COVID-19 and extreme heat, in congruence with the current literature written on the topic. Generally, it appears that planners feel that the impact of COVID-19 on heat planning efforts has been limited.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2021-05

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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

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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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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Advancing sustainable urbanism through civic space planning & design

Description

The lack of substantive, multi-dimensional perspectives on civic space planning and design has undermined the potential role of these valuable social and ecological amenities in advancing urban sustainability goals. Responding

The lack of substantive, multi-dimensional perspectives on civic space planning and design has undermined the potential role of these valuable social and ecological amenities in advancing urban sustainability goals. Responding to these deficiencies, this dissertation utilized mixed quantitative and qualitative methods and synthesized multiple social and natural science perspectives to inform the development of progressive civic space planning and design, theory, and public policy aimed at improving the social, economic, and environmental health of cities. Using Phoenix, Arizona as a case study, the analysis was tailored to arid cities, yet the products and findings are flexible enough to be geographically customized to the social, environmental, built, and public policy goals of other urbanized regions. Organized into three articles, the first paper applies geospatial and statistical methods to analyze and classify urban parks in Phoenix based on multiple social, ecological, and built criteria, including landuse-land cover, `greenness,' and site amenities, as well as the socio- economic and built characteristics of park neighborhoods. The second article uses spatial empirical analysis to rezone the City of Phoenix following transect form-based code. The current park system was then assessed within this framework and recommendations are presented to inform the planning and design of civic spaces sensitive to their social and built context. The final paper culminates in the development of a planning tool and site design guidelines for civic space planning and design across the urban-to-natural gradient augmented with multiple ecosystem service considerations and tailored to desert cities.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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Heat mitigation in hot urban deserts: measuring actualities, magnitude and effectiveness

Description

Urban-induced heating is a challenge to the livability and health of city dwellers. It is a complex issue that many cities are facing, and a more urgent hazard in hot

Urban-induced heating is a challenge to the livability and health of city dwellers. It is a complex issue that many cities are facing, and a more urgent hazard in hot urban deserts (HUDs) than elsewhere due to already high temperatures and aridity. The challenge compounds in the absence of more localized heat mitigation understanding. In addition, over-reliance on evidence from temperate regions is disconnected from the actualities of extreme bioclimatic dynamics found in HUDs. This dissertation is an integration of a series of studies that inform urban climate relationships specific to HUDs. This three-paper dissertation demonstrates heat mitigation aspirational goals from actualities, depicts local urban thermal drivers in Kuwait, and then tests morphological sensitivity of selected thermal modulation strategies in one neighborhood in Kuwait City.

The first paper is based on a systematic literature review where evidence from morphological mitigation strategies in HUDs were critically reviewed, synthesized and integrated. Metrics, measurements, and methods were extracted to examine the applicability of the different strategies, and a content synthesis identified the levels of strategy success. Collective challenges and uncertainties were interpreted to compare aspirational goals from actualities of morphological mitigation strategies.

The second paper unpacks the relationship of urban morphological attributes in influencing thermal conditions to assess latent magnitudes of heat amelioration strategies. Mindful of the challenges presented in the first study, a 92-day summer field-measurement campaign captured system dynamics of urban thermal stimuli within sub-diurnal phenomena. A composite data set of sub-hourly air temperature measurements with sub-meter morphological attributes was built, statistically analyzed, and modeled. Morphological mediation effects were found to vary hourly with different patterns under varying weather conditions in non-linear associations. Results suggest mitigation interventions be investigated and later tested on a site- use and time-use basis.

The third paper concludes with a simulation-based study to conform on the collective findings of the earlier studies. The microclimate model ENVI-met 4.4, combined with field measurements, was used to simulate the effect of rooftop shade-sails in cooling the near ground thermal environment. Results showed significant cooling effects and thus presented a novel shading approach that challenges orthodox mitigation strategies in HUDs.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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Seeing and believing: examining the role of visualization technology in decision-making about the future

Description

Images are ubiquitous in communicating complex information about the future. From political messages to extreme weather warnings, they generate understanding, incite action, and inform expectations with real impact today. The

Images are ubiquitous in communicating complex information about the future. From political messages to extreme weather warnings, they generate understanding, incite action, and inform expectations with real impact today. The future has come into sharp focus in recent years. Issues like climate change, gene editing, and smart cities are pushing policy makers, scientists, and designers to rethink how society plans and prepares for tomorrow. While academic and practice communities have increasingly turned their gaze toward the future, little attention is paid to how it is depicted and even less to the role visualization technologies play in depicting it. Visualization technologies are those that transform non-visual information into 2D or 3D imagery and generate depictions of certain phenomena, real or perceived. This research helps to fill this gap by examining the role visualization technologies play in how individuals know and make decisions about the future.

This study draws from three phases of research set in the context of urban development, where images of the future are generated by architects and circulated by built environment professionals to affect client and public decision-making. I begin with a systematic review of professional design literature to identify norms related to visualization. I then conduct in-depth interviews with expert architects to draw out how visualization technologies are used to influence client decision-making. I dive into how different tools manage the future and generate different forms of certainty, uncertainty, persuasion, and risk. Complementing the review and interviews is a case study on ASU at Mesa City Center, a development project aimed at revitalizing downtown Mesa, Arizona. Analysis highlights how project-specific visual tools affect decision-making and the role that client imagination and inference play in understanding and preference. This research unpacks the social, technical, and emotional knowledge embedded in visualization technologies and reveals how they affect decision-making. Information about the future is uniquely mediated by each technology with decision-making bound up in larger sociopolitical processes aimed at reducing uncertainty, building trust, and managing expectations. This suggests that the visual tools we use to depict the future are much more dynamic and influential than they are given credit for.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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Between mountain and lake: an urban Mormon country

Description

In "Between Mountain and Lake: an Urban Mormon Country," I identify a uniquely Mormon urban tradition that transcends simple village agrarianism. This tradition encompasses the distinctive ways in which Mormons

In "Between Mountain and Lake: an Urban Mormon Country," I identify a uniquely Mormon urban tradition that transcends simple village agrarianism. This tradition encompasses the distinctive ways in which Mormons have thought about cities, appropriating popular American urban forms to articulate their faith's central beliefs, tenants, and practices, from street layout to home decorating. But if an urban Mormon experience has as much validity as an agrarian one, how have the two traditions articulated themselves over time? What did the city mean for nineteenth-century Mormons? Did these meanings change in the twentieth-century, particularly following World War II when the nation as a whole underwent rapid suburbanization? How did Mormon understandings of the environment effect the placement of their villages and cities? What consequences did these choices have for their children, particularly when these places rapidly suburbanized? Traditionally, Zion has been linked to a particular place. This localized dimension to an otherwise spiritual and utopian ideal introduces environmental negotiation and resource utilization. Mormon urban space is, as French thinker Henri Lefebvre would suggest, culturally constructed, appropriated and consumed. On a fundamental level, Mormon spaces tack between the extremes of theocracy and secularism, communalism and capitalism and have much to reveal about how Mormonism has defined gender roles and established racial hierarchies. Mormon cultural landscapes both manifest a sense of identity and place, as well as establish relationships with the past.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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Demystifying beneficiary participation and its effects in international development

Description

Beneficiary participation has become popular in international development generally, and it is an essential feature of sustainable development. But there are diverse definitions of and motivations for using beneficiary participation,

Beneficiary participation has become popular in international development generally, and it is an essential feature of sustainable development. But there are diverse definitions of and motivations for using beneficiary participation, and empirical literature on its effects is underdeveloped. This dissertation aims to clarify what beneficiary participation is and whether there is empirical support for claims about its benefits.

I review historical trends in international development that led to the popularity of both sustainable development and beneficiary participation. This review identifies central themes in defining beneficiary participation and motivations for using it.

I also developed a new typology of beneficiary participation based on a literature review of how scholars define beneficiary participation. I found that the main dimensions of beneficiary participation are (1) participants, (2) channels, (3) types of inputs, (4) timing, and (5) goals. By making these dimensions explicit, this work helps researchers and development practitioners more clearly describe the types of beneficiary participation they study, employ, and advocate for.

To contribute to empirical literature about beneficiary participation, I conducted a case-study of two urban development projects in Bhopal, India. I collected data with a structured survey of project beneficiaries in four slums (two slums from each project) and semi-structured interviews with each project's organizers. And project documents provided secondary data on both projects. The results indicate that local elites did not capture a disproportionate share of either project's benefits, at least with respect to individual household toilets. Because project organizers rather than beneficiaries selected households that would receive toilets, both cases serve as counterexamples to the claim that beneficiaries must intensely participate for projects' benefits to be distributed equitably.

Finally, I review academic literature for empirical evidence that supports claims about the advantages of beneficiary participation. There is relatively strong empirical support for the claim that beneficiary participation improves project outcomes, but empirical support for most other claims (i.e., that it helps make projects more efficient, distribute benefits equitably, and sustain project benefits) is weak. And empirical research suggests that one claimed benefit, empowerment, rarely materializes. In general, more empirical research about beneficiary participation is needed.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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

Description

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

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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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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The phyllosphere of Phoenix's urban forest: insights from a publicly-funded microbial environment

Description

The aboveground surfaces of plants (i.e. the phyllosphere) comprise the largest biological interface on Earth (over 108 km2). The phyllosphere is a diverse microbial environment where bacterial inhabitants have been

The aboveground surfaces of plants (i.e. the phyllosphere) comprise the largest biological interface on Earth (over 108 km2). The phyllosphere is a diverse microbial environment where bacterial inhabitants have been shown to sequester and degrade airborne pollutants (i.e. phylloremediation). However, phyllosphere dynamics are not well understood in urban environments, and this environment has never been studied in the City of Phoenix, which maintains roughly 92,000 city trees. The phyllosphere will grow if the City of Phoenix is able to achieve its goal of 25% canopy coverage by 2030, but this begs the question: How and where should the urban canopy expand? I addressed this question from a phyllosphere perspective by sampling city trees of two species, Ulmus parvifolia (Chinese Elm) and Dalbergia sissoo (Indian Rosewood) in parks and on roadsides. I identified characteristics of the bacterial community structure and interpreted the ecosystem service potential of trees in these two settings. I used culture-independent methods to compare the abundance of each unique bacterial lineage (i.e. ontological taxonomic units or OTUs) on the leaves of park trees versus on roadside tree leaves. I found numerous bacteria (81 OTUs) that were significantly more abundant on park trees than on roadside trees. Many of these OTUs are ubiquitous to bacterial phyllosphere communities, are known to promote the health of the host tree, or have been shown to degrade airborne pollutants. Roadside trees had fewer bacteria (10 OTUs) that were significantly more abundant when compared to park trees, but several have been linked to the remediation of petroleum combustion by-products. These findings, that were not available prior to this study, may inform the City of Phoenix as it is designing its future urban forests.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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

Description

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

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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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016