Matching Items (18)

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Commons governance for robust systems: irrigation systems study under a multi-method approach

Description

Sustainability depends in part on our capacity to resolve dilemmas of the commons in Coupled Infrastructure Systems (CIS). Thus, we need to know more about how to incentivize individuals to

Sustainability depends in part on our capacity to resolve dilemmas of the commons in Coupled Infrastructure Systems (CIS). Thus, we need to know more about how to incentivize individuals to take collective action to manage shared resources. Moreover, given that we will experience new and more extreme weather events due to climate change, we need to learn how to increase the robustness of CIS to those shocks. This dissertation studies irrigation systems to contribute to the development of an empirically based theory of commons governance for robust systems. I first studied the eight institutional design principles (DPs) for long enduring systems of shared resources that the Nobel Prize winner Elinor Ostrom proposed in 1990. I performed a critical literature review of 64 studies that looked at the institutional configuration of CIS, and based on my findings I propose some modifications of their definitions and application in research and policy making. I then studied how the revisited design principles, when analyzed conjointly with biophysical and ethnographic characteristics of CISs, perform to avoid over-appropriation, poverty and critical conflicts among users of an irrigation system. After carrying out a meta-analysis of 28 cases around the world, I found that particular combinations of those variables related to population size, countries corruption, the condition of water storage, monitoring of users behavior, and involving users in the decision making process for the commons governance, were sufficient to obtain the desired outcomes. The two last studies were based on the Peruvian Piura Basin, a CIS that has been exposed to environmental shocks for decades. I used secondary and primary data to carry out a longitudinal study using as guidance the robustness framework, and different hypothesis from prominent collapse theories to draw potential explanations. I then developed a dynamic model that shows how at the current situation it is more effective to invest in rules enforcement than in the improvement of the physical infrastructure (e.g. reservoir). Finally, I explored different strategies to increase the robustness of the system, through enabling collective action in the Basin.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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From Design Principles to Principles of Design: Resolving Wicked Problems in Coupled Infrastructure Systems Involving Common-Pool Resources

Description

Design is a fundamental human activity through which we attempt to navigate and manipulate the world around us for our survival, pleasure, and benefit. As human society has evolved, so

Design is a fundamental human activity through which we attempt to navigate and manipulate the world around us for our survival, pleasure, and benefit. As human society has evolved, so too has the complexity and impact of our design activities on the environment. Now clearly intertwined as a complex social-ecological system at the global scale, we struggle in our ability to understand, design, implement, and manage solutions to complex global issues such as climate change, water scarcity, food security, and natural disasters. Some have asserted that this is because complex adaptive systems, like these, are moving targets that are only partially designed and partially emergent and self-organizing. Furthermore, these types of systems are difficult to understand and control due to the inherent dynamics of "wicked problems", such as: uncertainty, social dilemmas, inequities, and trade-offs involving multiple feedback loops that sometimes cause both the problems and their potential solutions to shift and evolve together. These problems do not, however, negate our collective need to effectively design, produce, and implement strategies that allow us to appropriate, distribute, manage and sustain the resources on which we depend. Design, however, is not well understood in the context of complex adaptive systems involving common-pool resources. In addition, the relationship between our attempts at control and performance at the system-level over time is not well understood either. This research contributes to our understanding of design in common-pool resource systems by using a multi-methods approach to investigate longitudinal data on an innovative participatory design intervention implemented in nineteen small-scale, farmer-managed irrigation systems in the Indrawati River Basin of Nepal over the last three decades. The intervention was intended as an experiment in using participatory planning, design and construction processes to increase food security and strengthen the self-sufficiency and self-governing capacity of resource user groups within the poorest district in Nepal. This work is the first time that theories of participatory design-processes have been empirically tested against longitudinal data on a number of small-scale, locally managed common-pool resource systems. It clarifies and helps to develop a theory of design in this setting for both scientific and practical purposes.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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Assessing the effects of institutional and spatial arrangements in analytical and computational models of conservation

Description

This work is an assemblage of three applied projects that address the institutional and spatial constraints to managing threatened and endangered (T & E) terrestrial species. The first project looks

This work is an assemblage of three applied projects that address the institutional and spatial constraints to managing threatened and endangered (T & E) terrestrial species. The first project looks at the role of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in protecting wildlife and whether banning non–conservation activities on multi-use federal lands is socially optimal. A bioeconomic model is used to identify scenarios where ESA–imposed regulations emerge as optimal strategies and to facilitate discussion on feasible long–term strategies in light of the ongoing public land–use debate. Results suggest that banning harmful activities is a preferred strategy when valued species are in decline or exposed to poor habitat quality. However such a strategy cannot be sustained in perpetuity, a switch to land–use practices characteristic of habitat conservation plans is recommended. The spatial portion of this study is motivated by the need for a more systematic quantification and assessment of landscape structure ahead of species reintroduction; this portion is further broken up into two parts. The first explores how connectivity between habitat patches promotes coexistence among multiple interacting species. An agent–based model of a two–patch metapopulation is developed with local predator–prey dynamics and density–dependent dispersal. The simulation experiment suggests that connectivity levels at both extremes, representing very little risk and high risk of species mortality, do not augment the likelihood of coexistence while intermediate levels do. Furthermore, the probability of coexistence increases and spans a wide range of connectivity levels when individual dispersal is less probabilistic and more dependent on population feedback. Second, a novel approach to quantifying network structure is developed using the statistical method of moments. This measurement framework is then used to index habitat networks and assess their capacity to drive three main ecological processes: dispersal, survival, and coexistence. Results indicate that the moments approach outperforms single summary metrics and accounts for a majority of the variation in process outcomes. The hierarchical measurement scheme is helpful for indicating when additional structural information is needed to determine ecological function. However, the qualitative trend between network indicator and function is, at times, unintuitive and unstable in certain areas of the metric space.

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Date Created
  • 2013

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Water and nitrogen in designed ecosystems: biogeochemical and economic consequences

Description

More than half of all accessible freshwater has been appropriated for human use, and a substantial portion of terrestrial ecosystems have been transformed by human action. These impacts are heaviest

More than half of all accessible freshwater has been appropriated for human use, and a substantial portion of terrestrial ecosystems have been transformed by human action. These impacts are heaviest in urban ecosystems, where impervious surfaces increase runoff, water delivery and stormflows are managed heavily, and there are substantial anthropogenic sources of nitrogen (N). Urbanization also frequently results in creation of intentional novel ecosystems. These "designed" ecosystems are fashioned to fulfill particular needs of the residents, or ecosystem services. In the Phoenix, Arizona area, the augmentation and redistribution of water has resulted in numerous component ecosystems that are atypical for a desert environment. Because these systems combine N loading with the presence of water, they may be hot spots of biogeochemical activity. The research presented here illustrates the types of hydrological modifications typical of desert cities and documents the extent and distribution of common designed aquatic ecosystems in the Phoenix metropolitan area: artificial lakes and stormwater retention basins. While both ecosystems were designed for other purposes (recreation/aesthetics and flood abatement, respectively), they have the potential to provide the added ecosystem service of N removal via denitrification. However, denitrification in urban lakes is likely to be limited by the rate of diffusion of nitrate into the sediment. Retention basins export some nitrate to groundwater, but grassy basins have higher denitrification rates than xeriscaped ones, due to higher soil moisture and organic matter content. An economic valuation of environmental amenities demonstrates the importance of abundant vegetation, proximity to water, and lower summer temperatures throughout the region. These amenities all may be provided by designed, water-intensive ecosystems. Some ecosystems are specifically designed for multiple uses, but maximizing one ecosystem service often entails trade-offs with other services. Further investigation into the distribution, bundling, and tradeoffs among water-related ecosystem services shows that some types of services are constrained by the hydrogeomorphology of the area, while for others human engineering and the creation of designed ecosystems has enabled the delivery of hydrologic ecosystem services independent of natural constraints.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2010

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Ecology and the city: a long-term social-ecological examination of the drivers and diversity of urban vegetation

Description

Often, when thinking of cities we envision designed landscapes, where people regulate everything from water to weeds, ultimately resulting in an ecosystem decoupled from biophysical processes. It is unclear, however,

Often, when thinking of cities we envision designed landscapes, where people regulate everything from water to weeds, ultimately resulting in an ecosystem decoupled from biophysical processes. It is unclear, however, what happens when the people regulating these extensively managed landscapes come under stress, whether from unexpected economic fluctuations or from changing climate norms. The overarching question of my dissertation research was: How does urban vegetation change in response to human behavior? To answer this question, I conducted multiscale research in an arid urban ecosystem as well as in a virtual desert city. I used a combination of long-term data and agent-based modeling to examine changes in vegetation across a range of measures influenced by biophysical, climate, institutional, and socioeconomic drivers. At the regional scale, total plant species diversity increased from 2000 to 2010, while species composition became increasingly homogeneous in urban and agricultural areas. At the residential scale, I investigated the effects of biophysical and socioeconomic drivers – the Great Recession of 2007-2010 in particular – on changing residential yard vegetation in Phoenix, AZ. Socioeconomic drivers affected plant composition and increasing richness, but the housing boom from 2000 through 2005 had a stronger influence on vegetation change than the subsequent recession. Surprisingly, annual plant species remained coupled to winter precipitation despite my expectation that their dynamics might be driven by socioeconomic fluctuations. In a modeling experiment, I examined the relative strength of psychological, social, and governance influences on large-scale urban land cover in a desert city. Model results suggested that social norms may be strong enough to lead to large-scale conversion to low water use residential landscaping, and governance may be unnecessary to catalyze residential landscape conversion under the pressure of extreme drought conditions. Overall, my dissertation research showed that urban vegetation is dynamic, even under the presumably stabilizing influence of human management activities. Increasing climate pressure, unexpected socioeconomic disturbances, growing urban populations, and shifting policies all contribute to urban vegetation dynamics. Incorporating these findings into planning policies will contribute to the sustainable management of urban ecosystems.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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Quantum resilience

Description

Quantum resilience is a pragmatic theory that allows systems engineers to formally characterize the resilience of systems. As a generalized theory, it not only clarifies resilience in the literature, but

Quantum resilience is a pragmatic theory that allows systems engineers to formally characterize the resilience of systems. As a generalized theory, it not only clarifies resilience in the literature, but also can be applied to all disciplines and domains of discourse. Operationalizing resilience in this manner permits decision-makers to compare and contrast system deployment options for suitability in a variety of environments and allows for consistent treatment of resilience across domains. Systems engineers, whether planning future infrastructures or managing ecosystems, are increasingly asked to deliver resilient systems. Quantum resilience provides a way forward that allows specific resilience requirements to be specified, validated, and verified.

Quantum resilience makes two very important claims. First, resilience cannot be characterized without recognizing both the system and the valued function it provides. Second, resilience is not about disturbances, insults, threats, or perturbations. To avoid crippling infinities, characterization of resilience must be accomplishable without disturbances in mind. In light of this, quantum resilience defines resilience as the extent to which a system delivers its valued functions, and characterizes resilience as a function of system productivity and complexity. System productivity vis-à-vis specified “valued functions” involves (1) the quanta of the valued function delivered, and (2) the number of systems (within the greater system) which deliver it. System complexity is defined structurally and relationally and is a function of a variety of items including (1) system-of-systems hierarchical decomposition, (2) interfaces and connections between systems, and (3) inter-system dependencies.

Among the important features of quantum resilience is that it can be implemented in any system engineering tool that provides sufficient design and specification rigor (i.e., one that supports standards like the Lifecycle and Systems Modeling languages and frameworks like the DoD Architecture Framework). Further, this can be accomplished with minimal software development and has been demonstrated in three model-based system engineering tools, two of which are commercially available, well-respected, and widely used. This pragmatic approach assures transparency and consistency in characterization of resilience in any discipline.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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Responsible innovation and sustainability: interventions in education and training of scientists and engineers

Description

Three dilemmas plague governance of scientific research and technological

innovation: the dilemma of orientation, the dilemma of legitimacy, and the dilemma of control. The dilemma of orientation risks innovation heedless of

Three dilemmas plague governance of scientific research and technological

innovation: the dilemma of orientation, the dilemma of legitimacy, and the dilemma of control. The dilemma of orientation risks innovation heedless of long-term implications. The dilemma of legitimacy grapples with delegation of authority in democracies, often at the expense of broader public interest. The dilemma of control poses that the undesirable implications of new technologies are hard to grasp, yet once grasped, all too difficult to remedy. That humanity has innovated itself into the sustainability crisis is a prime manifestation of these dilemmas.

Responsible innovation (RI), with foci on anticipation, inclusion, reflection, coordination, and adaptation, aims to mitigate dilemmas of orientation, legitimacy, and control. The aspiration of RI is to bend the processes of technology development toward more just, sustainable, and societally desirable outcomes. Despite the potential for fruitful interaction across RI’s constitutive domains—sustainability science and social studies of science and technology—most sustainability scientists under-theorize the sociopolitical dimensions of technological systems and most science and technology scholars hesitate to take a normative, solutions-oriented stance. Efforts to advance RI, although notable, entail one-off projects that do not lend themselves to comparative analysis for learning.

In this dissertation, I offer an intervention research framework to aid systematic study of intentional programs of change to advance responsible innovation. Two empirical studies demonstrate the framework in application. An evaluation of Science Outside the Lab presents a program to help early-career scientists and engineers understand the complexities of science policy. An evaluation of a Community Engagement Workshop presents a program to help engineers better look beyond technology, listen to and learn from people, and empower communities. Each program is efficacious in helping scientists and engineers more thoughtfully engage with mediators of science and technology governance dilemmas: Science Outside the Lab in revealing the dilemmas of orientation and legitimacy; Community Engagement Workshop in offering reflexive and inclusive approaches to control. As part of a larger intervention research portfolio, these and other projects hold promise for aiding governance of science and technology through responsible innovation.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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Internal Stresses and Social Feedback Mechanisms in Social-Ecological Systems: A Multi-Method Approach to the Effectiveness of Exit and Voice

Description

My research is motivated by a rule of thumb that no matter how well a system is designed, some actors fail to fulfill the behavior which is needed to sustain

My research is motivated by a rule of thumb that no matter how well a system is designed, some actors fail to fulfill the behavior which is needed to sustain the system. Examples of misbehavior are shirking, rule infraction, and free riding. With a focus on social-ecological systems, this thesis explored the effectiveness of social feedback mechanisms driven by the two available individual options: the exit option is defined as any response to escape from an objectionable state of affairs; and the voice option as any attempt to stay put and improve the state. Using a stylized dynamic model, the first study investigates how the coexistence of participatory and groundwater market institutions affects government-managed irrigation systems. My findings suggest that patterns of bureaucratic reactions to exit (using private tubewells) and voice (putting pressure on irrigation bureaus) are critical to shaping system dynamics. I also found that the silence option – neither exit nor voice – can impede a further improvement in public infrastructure, but in some cases, can improve public infrastructure dramatically. Using a qualitative comparative analysis of 30 self-governing fishing groups in South Korea, the second study examines how resource mobility, group size, and Ostrom’s Design Principles for rule enforcement can co-determine the effectiveness of the voice option in self-controlling rule infractions. Results suggest that the informal mechanism for conflict resolution is a necessary condition for successful self-governance of local fisheries and that even if rules for monitoring and graduated sanctions are not in use, groups can be successful when they harvest only stationary resources. Using an agent-based model of public good provision, the third study explores under what socioeconomic conditions the exit option – neither producing nor consuming collective benefits – can work effectively to enhance levels of cooperation. The model results suggest that the exit option contributes to the spread of cooperators in mid- and large-size groups at the moderate level of exit payoff, given that group interaction occurs to increase the number of cooperators.

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Date Created
  • 2020

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Patterns in Knowledge Production

Description

This dissertation will look at large scale collaboration through the lens of online communities to answer questions about what makes a collaboration persist. Results address how collaborations attract contributions, behaviors

This dissertation will look at large scale collaboration through the lens of online communities to answer questions about what makes a collaboration persist. Results address how collaborations attract contributions, behaviors that could give rise to patterns seen in the data, and the properties of collaborations that drive those behaviors.

It is understood that collaborations, online and otherwise, must retain users to remain productive. However, before users can be retained they must be recruited. In the first project, a few necessary properties of the ``attraction'' function are identified by constraining the dynamics of an ODE (Ordinary Differential Equation) model. Additionally, more than 100 communities of the Stack Exchange networks are parameterized and their distributions reported.

Collaborations do not exist in a vacuum, they compete with and share users with other collaborations. To address this, the second project focuses on an agent-based model (ABM) of a community of online collaborations using a mechanistic approach. The ABM is compared to data obtained from the Stack Exchange network and produces similar distributional patterns.

The third project is a thorough sensitivity analysis of the model created in the second project. A variance based sensitivity analysis is performed to evaluate the relative importance of 21 parameters of the model. Results indicate that population parameters impact many outcome metrics, though even those parameters that tend towards a low impact can be crucial for some outcomes.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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Archaeological Approaches to Population Growth and Social Interaction in Semiarid Environments: Pattern, Process, and Feedbacks

Description

Population growth, social interaction, and environmental variability are interrelated facets of the same complex system. Tracing the flow of food, water, information, and energy within these social-ecological systems is essential

Population growth, social interaction, and environmental variability are interrelated facets of the same complex system. Tracing the flow of food, water, information, and energy within these social-ecological systems is essential for understanding their long-term behavior. Leveraging an archaeological perspective of how past societies coevolved with their natural environments will be critical to anticipating the impact of impending climate change on farming communities in the developing world. However, there is currently a lack of formal, quantitative theory rooted in first principles of human behavior that can predict the empirical regularities of the archaeological record in semiarid regions. Through a series of models -- statistical, computational, and mathematical -- and empirical data from two long-term archaeological case studies in the pre-Hispanic American Southwest and Roman North Africa, I explore the feedbacks between population growth and social interaction in water-limited agrarian societies. First, I use a statistical model to analyze a database of 7.5 million artifacts collected from nearly 500 archaeological sites in the Southwest and found that sites located in different climatic zones were more likely to interact with one another than a sites occupying the same zone. Next, I develop a computational model of demography and food production in ancient agrarian societies and, using North Africa as a motivating example, show how the concrete actions and interactions of millions of individual people lead to emergent patterns of population growth and stability. Finally, I build a simple mathematical model of trade and migration among agricultural settlements to determine how the relative costs and benefits of social interaction drive population growth and shape long-term settlement patterns. Together, these studies form the foundation for a unified quantitative approach to regional social-ecological systems. By combining theory and methods from ecology, geography, and climate science, archaeologists can better leverage insights from diverse times and places to fill critical knowledge gaps in the study of food security and sustainability in the drylands of today.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019