Matching Items (19)

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Trees Grow on Money: Urban Tree Canopy Cover and Environmental Justice

Description

This study examines the distributional equity of urban tree canopy (UTC) cover for Baltimore, MD, Los Angeles, CA, New York, NY, Philadelphia, PA, Raleigh, NC, Sacramento, CA, and Washington, D.C.

This study examines the distributional equity of urban tree canopy (UTC) cover for Baltimore, MD, Los Angeles, CA, New York, NY, Philadelphia, PA, Raleigh, NC, Sacramento, CA, and Washington, D.C. using high spatial resolution land cover data and census data. Data are analyzed at the Census Block Group levels using Spearman’s correlation, ordinary least squares regression (OLS), and a spatial autoregressive model (SAR). Across all cities there is a strong positive correlation between UTC cover and median household income. Negative correlations between race and UTC cover exist in bivariate models for some cities, but they are generally not observed using multivariate regressions that include additional variables on income, education, and housing age. SAR models result in higher r-square values compared to the OLS models across all cities, suggesting that spatial autocorrelation is an important feature of our data. Similarities among cities can be found based on shared characteristics of climate, race/ethnicity, and size. Our findings suggest that a suite of variables, including income, contribute to the distribution of UTC cover. These findings can help target simultaneous strategies for UTC goals and environmental justice concerns.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015-04-01

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Doctors and Diapers: Promoting Sustainable Practices Through Pediatric Healthcare

Description

Incorporating sustainability education in primary healthcare practice is an important step toward promoting sustainability in the US healthcare system. This health strategy is also consistent with a renewed focus of

Incorporating sustainability education in primary healthcare practice is an important step toward promoting sustainability in the US healthcare system. This health strategy is also consistent with a renewed focus of the US healthcare system, mainly prompted by the Affordable Healthcare Act of 2010, toward preventive care and patient wellness. The major challenge, however, is an effective implementation of sustainability education in the healthcare industry. This honors thesis project developed a sustainability education model, in which primary healthcare providers or the physicians educated the patients about sustainability and its connection to public health issues. The main purpose of this thesis project is to analyze the effectiveness of this sustainability education model and to evaluate its impact on the individuals and households in terms of sustainable attitudes and practices. The study was conducted with 26 parents of newborn babies at Estrella Pediatrics PC using a classic randomized control-group pretest-posttest design. The Pre- and Post-Surveys were completed to evaluate change in their knowledge and attitudes toward sustainability practices covered in the sustainability education model. In the research, the relationships between sustainability-related issues and their negative impacts on the health of human beings were established in the sustainability education pamphlet provided to the physicians, which they shared with the patients during the wellness visits. This pamphlet focused on waste management, air pollution, and locally grown food. Moreover, samples of environmentally-friendly diapers were given to the study respondents to complement this education. The study demonstrated positive trends with the intervention protocol, though the level of statistical significance was marginal. More specifically, it was observed that the respondents placed the highest significance on the education provided by the pediatricians. Interestingly, the receipt of the diaper samples by itself did not generate any significant effect. However, the education provided by the physician and the pamphlet coupled with the diaper gave very positive results. In conclusion, physician led sustainability education has significant potential in promoting sustainability in primary healthcare practice, and further inquiry should be pursued.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015-12

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Vulnerability to heat stress in urban areas: a sustainability perspective

Description

Extreme hot-weather events have become life-threatening natural phenomena in many cities around the world, and the health impacts of excessive heat are expected to increase with climate change (Huang et

Extreme hot-weather events have become life-threatening natural phenomena in many cities around the world, and the health impacts of excessive heat are expected to increase with climate change (Huang et al. 2011; Knowlton et al. 2007; Meehl and Tebaldi 2004; Patz 2005). Heat waves will likely have the worst health impacts in urban areas, where large numbers of vulnerable people reside and where local-scale urban heat island effects (UHI) retard and reduce nighttime cooling. This dissertation presents three empirical case studies that were conducted to advance our understanding of human vulnerability to heat in coupled human-natural systems. Using vulnerability theory as a framework, I analyzed how various social and environmental components of a system interact to exacerbate or mitigate heat impacts on human health, with the goal of contributing to the conceptualization of human vulnerability to heat. The studies: 1) compared the relationship between temperature and health outcomes in Chicago and Phoenix; 2) compared a map derived from a theoretical generic index of vulnerability to heat with a map derived from actual heat-related hospitalizations in Phoenix; and 3) used geospatial information on health data at two areal units to identify the hot spots for two heat health outcomes in Phoenix. The results show a 10-degree Celsius difference in the threshold temperatures at which heat-stress calls in Phoenix and Chicago are likely to increase drastically, and that Chicago is likely to be more sensitive to climate change than Phoenix. I also found that heat-vulnerability indices are sensitive to scale, measurement, and context, and that cities will need to incorporate place-based factors to increase the usefulness of vulnerability indices and mapping to decision making. Finally, I found that identification of geographical hot-spot of heat-related illness depends on the type of data used, scale of measurement, and normalization procedures. I recommend using multiple datasets and different approaches to spatial analysis to overcome this limitation and help decision makers develop effective intervention strategies.

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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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Curriculum improvement in education for sustainable development: measuring learning outcomes in an introductory urban planning course

Description

Education for sustainable development (ESD) is an academic goal for many courses in higher learning. ESD encompasses a specific range of learning outcomes, competencies, skills and literacies that include and

Education for sustainable development (ESD) is an academic goal for many courses in higher learning. ESD encompasses a specific range of learning outcomes, competencies, skills and literacies that include and exceed the acquisition of content knowledge. Methods and case studies for measuring learning outcomes in ESD is absent from the literature. This case study of an undergraduate course in urban sustainability examines the processes, curriculum, pedagogies, and methods to explore whether or not learning outcomes in education for sustainable development are being reached. Observations of the course, and the statistical analysis of student surveys from course evaluations, are explored to help identify the relationships between learning outcomes in ESD and the processes of learning and teaching in the case study. Recommendations are made for applying the lessons of the case study to other courses, and for continuing further research in this area.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2012

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Managing land, water, and vulnerability on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

Description

The manner in which land and water are used and managed is a major influencing factor of global environmental change. Globally, modifications to the landscape have drastically transformed social and

The manner in which land and water are used and managed is a major influencing factor of global environmental change. Globally, modifications to the landscape have drastically transformed social and ecological communities. Land and water management practices also influences people's vulnerability to hazards. Other interrelated factors are compounding problems of environmental change as a result of land and water use changes. Such factors include climate change, sea level rise, the frequency and severity of hurricanes, and increased populations in coastal regions. The implication of global climate change for small islands and small island communities is especially troublesome. Socially, small islands have a limited resource base, deal with varying degrees of insularity, generally have little political power, and have limited economic opportunities. The physical attributes of small islands also increase their vulnerability to global climate change, including limited land area, limited fresh water supplies, and greater distances to resources. The focus of this research project is to document place-specific - and in this case island-specific - human-environmental interactions from a political ecology perspective as a means to address local concerns and possible consequences of global environmental change. The place in which these interactions are examined is the barrier island and village of Ocracoke, North Carolina. I focus on the specific historical-geography of land and water management on Ocracoke as a means to examine relationships between local human-environmental interactions and environmental change.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Assessment of the regenerative potential of organic waste streams in Lagos Mega-City

Description

There is never a better time for this study than now when Nigeria as a country is going through the worst time in power supply. In Lagos city about 12,000

There is never a better time for this study than now when Nigeria as a country is going through the worst time in power supply. In Lagos city about 12,000 tons of waste is generated daily, and is expected to increase as the city adds more population. The management of these waste has generated great concern among professionals, academia and government agencies. This study examined the regenerative management of organic waste, which accounts for about 45% of the total waste generated in Lagos. To do this, two management scenarios were developed: landfill methane to electricity and compost; and analyzed using data collected during field work and from government reports. While it is understood that landfilling waste is the least sustainable option, this study argued that it could be a viable method for developing countries.

Using U.S EPA LandGEM and the IPCC model, estimates of capturable landfill methane gas was derived for three landfills studied. Furthermore, a 35-year projection of waste and landfill methane was done for three newly proposed landfills. Assumptions were made that these new landfills will be sanitary. It was established that an average of 919,480,928m3 methane gas could be captured to generate an average of 9,687,176 MW of electricity annually. This makes it a significant source of power supply to a city that suffers from incessant power outages.

Analysis of composting organics in Lagos was also done using descriptive method. Although, it could be argued that composting is the most regenerative way of managing organics, but it has some problems associated with it. Earthcare Compost Company processes an average of 600 tons of organics on a daily basis. The fraction of waste processed is infinitesimal compared to the rate of waste generated. One major issue identified in this study as an obstacle to extensive use of this method is the marketability of compost.

The study therefore suggests that government should focus on getting the best out of the landfill option, since it is the most feasible for now and could be a major source of energy.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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Policy, geospatial, and market factors in solar energy: a gestalt approach

Description

Our dependence on fossil fuels is driving anthropogenic climate change. Solar energy is the most abundant and cleanest alternative to fossil fuels, but its practicability is influenced by a complex

Our dependence on fossil fuels is driving anthropogenic climate change. Solar energy is the most abundant and cleanest alternative to fossil fuels, but its practicability is influenced by a complex interplay of factors (policy, geospatial, and market) and scales (global, national, urban). This thesis provides a holistic evaluation of these factors and scales with the goal of improving our understanding of the mechanisms and challenges of transitioning to solar energy.

This analysis used geospatial, demographic, policy, legislative record, environmental, and industry data, plus a series of semi-structured, in-person interviews. Methods included geostatistical calculation, statistical linear regression and multivariate modeling, and qualitative inductive analysis. The results reveal valuable insights at each scale, but moreover a gestalt model across the factors and scales draws out a larger pattern at play of the transmutational weighting and increasing complexity of interplay as the level of analysis cascades down through the three geographic scales.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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Naturalizing sustainability discourse: paradigm, practices and pedagogy of Thoreau, Leopold, Carson and Wilson

Description

ABSTRACT

Understanding complex and adaptive socio-ecological systems (SES) to deal with our most challenging and overlapping problems such as global climate change, biodiversity loss, and rising consumption rates requires sustainability theory

ABSTRACT

Understanding complex and adaptive socio-ecological systems (SES) to deal with our most challenging and overlapping problems such as global climate change, biodiversity loss, and rising consumption rates requires sustainability theory that is commensurate with these problems’ size and complexity. The received United Nations-based sustainability framework aims to achieve a balance among three pillars—economics, environment, and social equity—for today and for future generations. Yet, despite applying this sustainability framework for over a quarter of a century, the Earth is less sustainable, not more. Theoretical trade-offs between environmental conservation and economic growth have often reinforced business-as-usual practices and educational paradigms, and emphasized economic values over ecological limits.

How can the principles of foundational naturalists help clarify, enhance, and advance sustainability discourse? I propose that the principles of Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), Aldo Leopold (1887-1948), Rachel Carson (1907-1964), and Edward O. Wilson (1927-), express a worldview that captures and integrates a range and depth of historical, normative, economic, ecological, scientific, and social values for a viable and applicable discourse of sustainability.

This analytical study relies on (i.) textual analysis and interpretation of four key naturalists and humanists, (ii.) analysis of secondary sources that illuminate their proto- ecological and sustainability principles, and (iii.) interviews with leading sustainability scholars. Because these thinkers integrate science and ethics, natural history and philosophy, ecology and society, and environmental and economic problems within a holistic worldview, I call them systems naturalists. Their transdisciplinary worldview of one holistic system, with economics subordinated to environmental limits, links important values from the natural sciences and the humanities. The writings and examples of systems naturalists provide more robust historical sustainability principles that can help solve our most challenging SES problems by synthesizing a broad range of knowledge in the sciences, social sciences, and the humanities to inform sustainability paradigm, practices, and pedagogy.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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Urban political ecology of green public space in Mexico City: equity, parks and people

Description

Decades of research confirms that urban green spaces in the form of parks, gardens, and urban forests provide numerous environmental and social services including microclimate regulation, noise reduction, rainwater drainage,

Decades of research confirms that urban green spaces in the form of parks, gardens, and urban forests provide numerous environmental and social services including microclimate regulation, noise reduction, rainwater drainage, stress amelioration, etc. In post-industrial megacities of the twenty-first century, densely populated, violent and heavily polluted such as Mexico City, having access to safe and well-maintained green public space is in all respects necessary for people to maintain or improve their quality of life. However, according to recent reports by the Mexican Ministry of Environment, green public spaces in Mexico City are insufficient and unevenly distributed across the sixteen boroughs of the Mexican Distrito Federal. If it is known that parks are essential urban amenities, why are green public spaces in Mexico City scarce and so unevenly distributed? As a suite of theoretical frameworks, Urban Political Ecology (UPE) has been used to study uneven urban development and its resulting unequal socio-ecological relations. UPE explores the complex relationship between environmental change, socio-economic urban characteristics and political processes. This research includes a detailed analysis of the distributive justice of green public space (who gets what and why) based on socio-spatial data sets provided by the Environment and Land Management Agency for the Federal District. Moreover, this work went beyond spatial data depicting available green space (m2/habitant) and explored the relation between green space distribution and other socio-demographic attributes, i.e. gender, socio-economic status, education and age that according to environmental justice theory, are usually correlated to an specific (biased) distribution of environmental burdens and amenities. Moreover, using archival resources complemented with qualitative data generated through in-depth interviews with key actors involved in the creation, planning, construction and management of green public spaces, this research explored the significant role of public and private institutions in the development of Mexico City's parks and green publics spaces, with a special focus on the effects of neoliberal capitalism as the current urban political economy in the city.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015