Matching Items (20)

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Emerging Environmental Justice Issues in Nuclear Power and Radioactive Contamination

Description

Nuclear hazards, linked to both U.S. weapons programs and civilian nuclear power, pose substantial environment justice issues. Nuclear power plant (NPP) reactors produce low-level ionizing radiation, high level nuclear waste,

Nuclear hazards, linked to both U.S. weapons programs and civilian nuclear power, pose substantial environment justice issues. Nuclear power plant (NPP) reactors produce low-level ionizing radiation, high level nuclear waste, and are subject to catastrophic contamination events. Justice concerns include plant locations and the large potentially exposed populations, as well as issues in siting, nuclear safety, and barriers to public participation. Other justice issues relate to extensive contamination in the U.S. nuclear weapons complex, and the mining and processing industries that have supported it. To approach the topic, first we discuss distributional justice issues of NPP sites in the U.S. and related procedural injustices in siting, operation, and emergency preparedness. Then we discuss justice concerns involving the U.S. nuclear weapons complex and the ways that uranium mining, processing, and weapons development have affected those living downwind, including a substantial American Indian population. Next we examine the problem of high-level nuclear waste and the risk implications of the lack of secure long-term storage. The handling and deposition of toxic nuclear wastes pose new transgenerational justice issues of unprecedented duration, in comparison to any other industry. Finally, we discuss the persistent risks of nuclear technologies and renewable energy alternatives.

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Created

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  • 2016-07-12

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The resonance of place: music and race in Salvador da Bahia

Description

Geography, and the social sciences more broadly, have long operated within what is arguably a paradigm of the visual. Expanding the reach of geographical consideration into the realm of the

Geography, and the social sciences more broadly, have long operated within what is arguably a paradigm of the visual. Expanding the reach of geographical consideration into the realm of the aural, though in no way leaving behind the visual, opens the discipline to new areas of human and cultural geography invisible in ocular-centric approaches. At its broadest level, my argument in this dissertation is that music can no longer be simply an object of geographical research. Re-conceptualized and re-theorized in a geographical context to take into account its very real, active, and more-than-representational presence in social life, music provides actual routes to geographic knowledge of the world. I start by constructing a theoretical framework and methodological approach for studying music beyond representation. Based on these theoretical and methodological arguments, I present four narratives that unfold at the intersections of race and music in the northeast Brazilian city of Salvador. From the favelas of Rio de Janeiro to the troubled neighborhood of the Pelourinho, from the manic tempos of samba to the laid back grooves of samba-reggae, and in the year-round competition between the oppressive forces of ordinary time and the fleeting possibility of carnival, music emerges as a creative societal force with affects and effects far beyond the realm of representation. Together, these narratives exemplify the importance of expanding geographical considerations beyond a strictly visual framework. These narratives contribute to the musicalization of the discipline of geography.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2011

Environmental justice issues in communities hosting US nuclear power plants

Description

This study explores the potential risks associated with the 65 U.S.-based commercial nuclear power plants (NPPs) and the distribution of those risks among the populations of both their respective host

This study explores the potential risks associated with the 65 U.S.-based commercial nuclear power plants (NPPs) and the distribution of those risks among the populations of both their respective host communities and of the communities located in outlying areas. First, I examine the relevant environmental justice issues. I start by examining the racial/ethnic composition of the host community populations, as well as the disparities in socio-economic status that exist, if any, between the host communities and communities located in outlying areas. Second, I estimate the statistical associations that exist, if any, between a population's distance from a NPP and several independent variables. I conduct multivariate ordinary least square (OLS) regression analyses and spatial autocorrelation regression (SAR) analyses at the national, regional and individual-NPP levels. Third, I construct a NPP potential risk index (NPP PRI) that defines four discrete risk categories--namely, very high risk, high risk, moderate risk, and low risk. The NPP PRI allows me then to estimate the demographic characteristics of the populations exposed to each so-defined level of risk. Fourth, using the Palo Verde NPP as the subject, I simulate a scenario in which a NPP experiences a core-damage accident. I use the RASCAL 4.3 software to simulate the path of dispersion of the resultant radioactive plume, and to investigate the statistical associations that exist, if any, between the dispersed radioactive plume and the demographic characteristics of the populations located within the plume's footprint. This study utilizes distributive justice theories to understand the distribution of the potential risks associated with NPPs, many of which are unpredictable, irreversible and inescapable. I employ an approach that takes into account multiple stakeholders in order to provide avenues for all parties to express concerns, and to ensure the relevance and actionability of any resulting policy recommendations.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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

Description

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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Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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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.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2011

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The Belly Dancer Project: a phenomenological study of gendered identity through documentary filmmaking

Description

In this study, the researcher develops a documentary-driven methodology to understand the ways four women in the United States use their involvement in the belly dance phenomenon to shape their

In this study, the researcher develops a documentary-driven methodology to understand the ways four women in the United States use their involvement in the belly dance phenomenon to shape their ongoing individual identity development. The filmmaking process itself and its efficacy as a process to promote self-understanding and identity growth among the participating belly dancers, are also investigated phenomenologically. Methodological steps taken in the documentary-driven methodology include: initial filmed interviews, co-produced filmed dance performances, editorial interviews to review footage with each dancer, documentary film production, dancer-led focus groups to screen the film, and exit interviews with each dancer. The project generates new understandings about the ways women use belly dance to shape their individual identities to include: finding community with other women in private women's spaces, embodying the music through the dance movements, and finding liberation from their everyday "selves" through costume and performance.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012

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Matter and matterings in historic habitation

Description

Residential historic preservation occurs through inhabitation. Through day-to-day domesticities a suite of bodily comportments and aesthetic practices are perpetually at work tearing and stitching the historic fabric anew. Such paradoxical

Residential historic preservation occurs through inhabitation. Through day-to-day domesticities a suite of bodily comportments and aesthetic practices are perpetually at work tearing and stitching the historic fabric anew. Such paradoxical practice materializes seemingly incompatible relations between past and present, people and things. Through a playful posture of experience/experiment, this dissertation attends to the materiality of historic habitation vis-à-vis practices and performances in the Coronado historic neighborhood (1907-1942) in Phoenix, Arizona. Characterized by diversity in the built and social environs, Coronado defies preservation's exclusionary tendencies. First, I propose a theoretical frame to account for the amorphous expression of nostalgia, the way it seeps, tugs, and lures `historic' people and things together. I push the argument that everyday nostalgic practice and performance in Coronado gives rise to an aesthetic of pastness that draws attention to what is near, a sensual attunement of care rather than strict adherence to preservation guidelines. Drawing on the institutional legacy of Neighborhood Housing Services, I then rethink residential historic preservation in Coronado as urban bricolage, the aesthetic ordering of urban space through practices of inclusivity, temporal juxtaposition, and the art of everyday living. Finally, I explore the historic practice of home touring in Coronado as demonstrative of urban hospitality, an opening of self and neighborhood toward other bodies, critical in the making of viable, ethical urban communities. These three moments contribute to the body of literature rethinking urbanism as sensual, enchanted, and hospitable.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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Cross-cultural approaches to understanding the emotional geographies of climate change

Description

Climate change poses a threat to the emotional well-being and livelihood strategies of individuals in biophysically vulnerable communities. While the biophysical effects and possibilities of climate change are well-documented, understanding

Climate change poses a threat to the emotional well-being and livelihood strategies of individuals in biophysically vulnerable communities. While the biophysical effects and possibilities of climate change are well-documented, understanding the emotional impacts on individuals in these communities is an avenue of research that requires more exploration. Using an ethnographic approach, this study analyzes the emotional responses of individuals, first in three biophysically vulnerable communities in the United States, and second, in island communities. Study sites in the United States include Mobile, Alabama; Kodiak, Alaska; and Phoenix, Arizona, each of which have different vulnerabilities to the effects of climate change. Internationally, we conducted research in Viti Levu, Fiji; Nicosia, Cyprus; Wellington, New Zealand; and London, England. Using the 2014 Global Ethnohydrology Study Protocol respondents were asked about their emotional responses to the current effects of climate change, the effects of climate change on livelihoods in their area, and the effects of climate change on the younger generation. Using cross-cultural data allows for a broader understanding of emotional distress and wellbeing in response to climate change in areas with similar expected climate change outcomes, although with different levels of biophysical vulnerability, as well as understanding emotional distress and wellbeing in areas with different expected climate change outcomes, and similar levels of biophysical vulnerability. Results from this research can be used to understand possible mental health outcomes, the possibilities for political activism, and how to create mitigation strategies that resonate with local community members.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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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.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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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.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016