Matching Items (6)

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Applying distributional approaches to understand patterns of urban differentiation

Description

Urban scaling analysis has introduced a new scientific paradigm to the study of cities. With it, the notions of size, heterogeneity and structure have taken a leading role. These notions

Urban scaling analysis has introduced a new scientific paradigm to the study of cities. With it, the notions of size, heterogeneity and structure have taken a leading role. These notions are assumed to be behind the causes for why cities differ from one another, sometimes wildly. However, the mechanisms by which size, heterogeneity and structure shape the general statistical patterns that describe urban economic output are still unclear. Given the rapid rate of urbanization around the globe, we need precise and formal mathematical understandings of these matters. In this context, I perform in this dissertation probabilistic, distributional and computational explorations of (i) how the broadness, or narrowness, of the distribution of individual productivities within cities determines what and how we measure urban systemic output, (ii) how urban scaling may be expressed as a statistical statement when urban metrics display strong stochasticity, (iii) how the processes of aggregation constrain the variability of total urban output, and (iv) how the structure of urban skills diversification within cities induces a multiplicative process in the production of urban output.

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Date Created
  • 2014

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Effects of neighborhood design on residential habits and sense of community: testing the claims of new urbanism

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This is a study that tests the New Urbanist claims that neighborhood design impacts sense of community and residential habits. Through the framework provided by New Urbanist theories, a social

This is a study that tests the New Urbanist claims that neighborhood design impacts sense of community and residential habits. Through the framework provided by New Urbanist theories, a social survey is used to examine residential perception and behavior among three fringe neighborhoods in southeast Tucson, each representing a different approach to neighborhood design: New Urbanist, traditional suburban, and a hybrid variety. The primary relationships studied are between neighborhood design and use of public space, neighborhood design and travel habits, and neighborhood design and sense of community. The findings show that the New Urbanist community does support the highest levels of sense of community and use of public space, but conclusions cannot be drawn concerning the relationship between sense of community and travel behavior, especially non-vehicular travel to public space. While these results are inconclusive concerning the direct impact of the neighborhood type on certain behaviors and perceptions, the findings support the notion that a New Urbanist design does indeed enhance social interactions and use of public space. It also offers insight into the importance of residential preferences, not as much towards walkability but towards general environmental concern.

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Date Created
  • 2012

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A socio-ecological understanding of extreme heat vulnerability in Maricopa County, Arizona

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This dissertation explores vulnerability to extreme heat hazards in the Maricopa County, Arizona metropolitan region. By engaging an interdisciplinary approach, I uncover the epidemiological, historical-geographical, and mitigation dimensions of human

This dissertation explores vulnerability to extreme heat hazards in the Maricopa County, Arizona metropolitan region. By engaging an interdisciplinary approach, I uncover the epidemiological, historical-geographical, and mitigation dimensions of human vulnerability to extreme heat in a rapidly urbanizing region characterized by an intense urban heat island and summertime heat waves. I first frame the overall research within global climate change and hazards vulnerability research literature, and then present three case studies. I conclude with a synthesis of the findings and lessons learned from my interdisciplinary approach using an urban political ecology framework. In the first case study I construct and map a predictive index of sensitivity to heat health risks for neighborhoods, compare predicted neighborhood sensitivity to heat-related hospitalization rates, and estimate relative risk of hospitalizations for neighborhoods. In the second case study, I unpack the history and geography of land use/land cover change, urban development and marginalization of minorities that created the metropolitan region's urban heat island and consequently, the present conditions of extreme heat exposure and vulnerability in the urban core. The third study uses computational microclimate modeling to evaluate the potential of a vegetation-based intervention for mitigating extreme heat in an urban core neighborhood. Several findings relevant to extreme heat vulnerability emerge from the case studies. First, two main socio-demographic groups are found to be at higher risk for heat illness: low-income minorities in sparsely-vegetated neighborhoods in the urban core, and the elderly and socially-isolated in the expansive suburban fringe of Maricopa County. The second case study reveals that current conditions of heat exposure in the region's urban heat island are the legacy of historical marginalization of minorities and large-scale land-use/land cover transformations of natural desert land covers into heat-retaining urban surfaces of the built environment. Third, summertime air temperature reductions in the range 0.9-1.9 °C and of up to 8.4 °C in surface temperatures in the urban core can be achieved through desert-adapted canopied vegetation, suggesting that, at the microscale, the urban heat island can be mitigated by creating vegetated park cool islands. A synthesis of the three case studies using the urban political ecology framework argues that climate changed-induced heat hazards in cities must be problematized within the socio-ecological transformations that produce and reproduce urban landscapes of risk. The interdisciplinary approach to heat hazards in this dissertation advances understanding of the social and ecological drivers of extreme heat by drawing on multiple theories and methods from sociology, urban and Marxist geography, microclimatology, spatial epidemiology, environmental history, political economy and urban political ecology.

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  • 2013

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Planning for Urban Ecosystem Services: Generating Actionable Knowledge for Reducing Environmental Inequities in Santiago de Chile

Description

Cities are hubs for economic and social development, but they are increasingly becoming hotspots of environmental problems and socio-economic inequalities. Because cities result from complex interactions among ecological, social and

Cities are hubs for economic and social development, but they are increasingly becoming hotspots of environmental problems and socio-economic inequalities. Because cities result from complex interactions among ecological, social and economic factors, environmental problems and socio-economic inequalities are often spatially interconnected, generating emergent environmental inequity issues due to the unfair distribution of environmental quality among socioeconomic groups. Since urban environmental quality is tightly related to the capacity of urban landscapes to provide ecosystem services, optimizing the allocation of ecosystem services within cities is a main goal for moving towards more equitable and sustainable cities. Nevertheless, we often lack the empirical data and specific methods for planning urban landscapes to optimize the provision of ecosystem services. Therefore, the development of knowledge and methods to optimize the provision of ecosystem services is essential for tackling urban environmental problems, reducing environmental inequities, and promoting sustainable cities. The main goal of this dissertation is to generate actionable knowledge for helping decision-makers to optimize the allocation of urban vegetation for reducing environmental inequities through the provision of ecosystem services. The research uses the city of Santiago de Chile as a case study from a Latin-American city. To achieve this goal, I framed my dissertation in four linked research chapters, each of them providing methodological approaches to help link environmental inequity problems with the development of urban planning interventions promoting an equitable provision of urban ecosystem services. These chapters are specifically aimed at providing actionable knowledge for: (1) Identifying the level, distribution, and spatial scales at which environmental inequities are more relevant; (2) Identifying the areas and administrative units where environmental inequities interventions should be prioritized; (3) Identifying optimal areas to allocate vegetation for increasing the provision of urban ecosystem services; (4) Evaluating the role that planned urban vegetation may have in the long-term provision of ecosystem services by natural remnants within the urban landscape. Thus, this dissertation contributes to urban sustainability science by proposing methods and frameworks to address urban environmental inequities through the provision of ecosystem services, but it also provides place-based information that can be readily used for planning urban vegetation in Santiago.

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Date Created
  • 2017

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The availability of parks for children: a case study of Scottsdale, Arizona

Description

The United States has a long history of providing public parks and amenities, especially for children. Unfortunately, children today are spending less time in public parks, less time getting physical

The United States has a long history of providing public parks and amenities, especially for children. Unfortunately, children today are spending less time in public parks, less time getting physical activity and more time being indoors and sedentary. While multiple factors may be responsible for this lack of activity, multiple researchers have found the availability of parks is a significant influence on the physical activity levels of children as well as on the occurrence of obesity related illness. Public parks are ideal locations for children to get physical activity, however they are not always equitably distributed within communities. Income and race/ethnicity especially are common variables found to impact availability of parks. Such socioeconomic variables typically have an impact on the availability of public parks within a community. Such variables may also impact the quality of the parks provided. A case study of Scottsdale, Arizona was conducted analyzing the availability of public parks within the City between the years of 1990 and 2000 and the current quality of the parks. Statistical analysis and observation were utilized to assess the amount of park space available (in acres) and the quality of the parks in comparison to selected socioeconomic variables including ethnicity, income and total percent housing type (single family or multi-family). All analysis was conducted using U.S. Census data from the years 1990 and 2000 and was at the tract level. The results of the analysis indicate that in contrast to the initial hypothesis and past research, within the City of Scottsdale, lower income neighborhoods actually have more public park space available to them than higher income neighborhoods. Between 1990 and 2000 the difference in park space between the lowest and highest income quartiles increased considerably, approximately 230% over the ten years. The quality analysis results indicate that the overall quality of parks is slightly higher in the highest income neighborhoods, which also have no parks that could be considered of poor quality. Given the atypical results of this analysis, further research is necessary to better understand the impacts of socioeconomic characteristics on park, especially regarding children.

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Date Created
  • 2011

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Tricks of the shade: heat-related coping strategies of urban homeless persons in Phoenix, Arizona

Description

This research is about urban homeless people's vulnerability to extreme temperatures and the related socio-spatial dynamics. Specifically, this research investigates heat related coping strategies homeless people use and how

This research is about urban homeless people's vulnerability to extreme temperatures and the related socio-spatial dynamics. Specifically, this research investigates heat related coping strategies homeless people use and how the urban environment setting impacts those coping strategies. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with homeless people in Phoenix, Arizona during the summer of 2010. The findings demonstrate that homeless people have a variety of coping strategies and the urban environment setting unjustly impacts those strategies. The results suggest a need for further studies that focus spatial environmental effects on homeless people and other vulnerable populations.

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Date Created
  • 2011