Matching Items (4)

Filtering by

Clear all filters

150412-Thumbnail Image.png

A comparative assessment of community water system vulnerability to water scarcity in Buckeye and Cave Creek, Arizona

Description

With the ongoing drought surpassing a decade in Arizona, scholars, water managers and decision-makers have heightened attention to the availability of water resources, especially in rapidly growing regions where demand

With the ongoing drought surpassing a decade in Arizona, scholars, water managers and decision-makers have heightened attention to the availability of water resources, especially in rapidly growing regions where demand may outgrow supplies or outpace the capacity of the community water systems. Community water system managing entities and the biophysical and social characteristics of a place mediate communities' vulnerability to hazards such as drought and long-term climate change. The arid southwestern Phoenix metropolitan area is illustrative of the challenges that developed urban areas in arid climates face globally as population growth and climate change stress already fragile human-environmental systems. This thesis reveals the factors abating and exacerbating differential community water system vulnerability to water scarcity in communities simultaneously facing drought and rapid peri-urban growth. Employing a grounded, qualitative comparative case study approach, this thesis explores the interaction of social, biophysical and institutional factors as they effect the exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity of community water systems in Cave Creek and Buckeye, Arizona. Buckeye, once a small agricultural town in the West Valley, is wholly dependent on groundwater and currently planning for massive development to accommodate 218,591 new residents by 2020. Amid desert hills and near Tonto National Forest in the North Valley, Cave Creek is an upscale residential community suffering frequent water outages due to aging infrastructure and lack of system redundancy. Analyzing interviews, media accounts and policy documents, a narrative was composed explaining how place based factors, nested within a regional institutional water management framework, impact short and long-term vulnerability. This research adds to the library of vulnerability assessments completed using Polsky et al.'s Vulnerability Scoping Diagram and serves a pragmatic need assisting in the development of decision making tools that better represent the drivers of placed based vulnerability in arid metropolitan regions.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011

154570-Thumbnail Image.png

Reassembling hydrosocial metabolic relations: a political ecology of water struggles in Chile

Description

This research investigates the dialectical relationships between water and social power. I analyze how the coupled processes of development, water privatization, and climate change have been shaping water struggles in

This research investigates the dialectical relationships between water and social power. I analyze how the coupled processes of development, water privatization, and climate change have been shaping water struggles in Chile. I focus on how these hydro-struggles are reconfiguring everyday practices of water management at the community scale and the ways in which these dynamics may contribute to more democratic and sustainable modes of water governance at both regional and national scales. Using a historical-geographical and multi-sited ethnographical lens, I investigate how different geographical projects (forestry, irrigated agriculture, and hydropower) were deployed in the Biobio and Santiago regions of Chile during the last 200 hundred years. I analyze how since the 1970s, these hydro-modernization projects have been gradually privatized, which in turn has led to environmental degradation and water dispossession affecting peasants and other rural populations. I frame these transformations using the political-ecological notion of hydrosocial assemblages produced by the different stages of the hydro-modernity—Liberal, Keynesian, Socialist, Neoliberal. I detail how these stages have repeatedly reshaped Chilean hydrosocial processes. I unpack the stages through the analysis of forestry, irrigation and hydropower developments in the central and southern regions of Chile, emphasizing how they have produced both uneven socio-spatial development and growing hydrosocial metabolic rifts, particularly during neoliberal hydro-modernity (1981-2015). Hydrosocial metabolic rifts occur when people have been separated or dispossessed from direct access and control of their traditional water resources. I conclude by arguing that there is a need to overcome the current unsustainable market-led approach to water governance. I propose the notion of a 'commons hydro-modernity', which is based on growing environmental and water social movements that are promoting a socio-spatial project to reassemble Chilean hydrosocial metabolic relations in a more democratic and sustainable way.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016

154571-Thumbnail Image.png

Sea, storms, & tourism: a case study of the hazards and vulnerabilities of Cape Cod, MA

Description

Drawing from the fields of coastal geography, political ecology, and institutions, this dissertation uses Cape Cod, MA, as a case study, to investigate how chronic and acute climate-related coastal hazards,

Drawing from the fields of coastal geography, political ecology, and institutions, this dissertation uses Cape Cod, MA, as a case study, to investigate how chronic and acute climate-related coastal hazards, socio-economic characteristics, and governance and decision-making interact to produce more resilient or at-risk coastal communities. GIS was used to model the impacts of sea level rise (SLR) and hurricane storm surge scenarios on natural and built infrastructure. Social, gentrification, and tourism indices were used to identify communities differentially vulnerable to coastal hazards. Semi-structured interviews with planners and decision-makers were analyzed to examine hazard mitigation planning.

The results of these assessments demonstrate there is considerable variation in coastal hazard impacts across Cape Cod towns. First, biophysical vulnerability is highly variable with the Outer Cape (e.g., Provincetown) at risk for being temporarily and/or permanently isolated from the rest of the county. In most towns, a Category 1 accounts for the majority of inundation with impacts that will be intensified by SLR. Second, gentrification in coastal communities can create new social vulnerabilities by changing economic bases and disrupting communities’ social networks making it harder to cope. Moreover, higher economic dependence on tourism can amplify towns’ vulnerability with reduced capacities to recover. Lastly, low political will is an important barrier to effective coastal hazard mitigation planning and implementation particularly given the power and independence of town government on Cape Cod. Despite this independence, collaboration will be essential for addressing the trans-boundary effects of coastal hazards and provide an opportunity for communities to leverage their limited resources for long-term hazard mitigation planning.

This research contributes to the political ecology of hazards and vulnerability research by drawing from the field of institutions, by examining how decision-making processes shape vulnerabilities and capacities to plan and implement mitigation strategies. While results from this research are specific to Cape Cod, it demonstrates a broader applicability of the “Hazards, Vulnerabilities, and Governance” framework for assessing other hazards (e.g., floods, fires, etc.). Since there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to mitigating coastal hazards, examining vulnerabilities and decision-making at local scales is necessary to make resiliency and mitigation efforts specific to communities’ needs.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016

153594-Thumbnail Image.png

Gardens of justice: food-based social movements in underserved, minority communities

Description

Residents of the United States increasingly support organic and local food systems. New Social Movement theorists have described alternative agriculture as a social movement that transcends social class. Other scholars

Residents of the United States increasingly support organic and local food systems. New Social Movement theorists have described alternative agriculture as a social movement that transcends social class. Other scholars have critiqued alternative agriculture for catering to a middle-class, white public. Simultaneously, geographers have identified communities across the United States that struggle with reduced access to healthy fruits and vegetables. In some of these neighborhoods, known as “food deserts,” local groups are redefining an inequitable distribution of healthy food as a social injustice, and they have begun initiatives to practice “food justice.” The overarching research questions of this study are: 1) How do communities become food deserts? 2) How do food justice movements crystallize and communities practice food justice? 3) What are the social outcomes of food justice movements? Using an Ecology of Actors framework, this study analyzes the actors and operational scales of three food justice movements in Phoenix, Arizona. A narrative analysis of historical scholarly materials and other artifacts reveals that, for more than a century, some communities have tried to create minority-operated local food systems. However, they were thwarted by racist policies and market penetration of the conventional US food system. Interviews with residents, garden organizers and food justice advocates living and working in the city create a narrative of the present day struggle for food justice. Results of this work show that contemporary residents describe their foodscape as one of struggle, and carless residents rely upon social networks to access healthy food. Garden organizers and gardeners are creating networks of community gardens, market gardens, and informal farmers’ markets. They are actively transforming their communities’ landscapes with sophisticated garden ecology in an intense urban heat island. However, the movement’s continued success may be threatened. Many new Phoenix-based local food coalitions and national alternative agriculture social movements are now working to alter Phoenix’s foodscape. Composed of well-educated professionals, who have adopted a justice-based language around food, these organizations may unintentionally co-opt the local food justice movements.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015