Matching Items (8)

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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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Ebbs, Flows, and Floods: How the South African National Water Act has fared in achieving its equity and sustainability goals

Description

The threat of global climate change to the world’s water resources has jeopardized access to clean drinking water across the world and continues to devastate biodiversity and natural life globally.

The threat of global climate change to the world’s water resources has jeopardized access to clean drinking water across the world and continues to devastate biodiversity and natural life globally. South Africa operates as a useful case study to understand and analyze the effectiveness of public policy responses to the perils of climate change on issues of water access and ecosystem preservation. After the new South African Constitution was enacted in 1997, protecting water resources and ensuring their equitable distribution across the nation’s population was a paramount goal of the young democratic government. The National Water Act was passed in 1998, nationalizing the country’s water infrastructure and putting in place programs seeking to ensure equitable distributive and environmental outcomes. Thus far, it has failed. Access to South Africa’s water resources is as stratified as access to its economy; its aquatic ecosystems remain in grave danger; and many of the same problems of South Africa’s Apartheid era still plague its efforts to create an equitable water system. Decision-making power continues to be concentrated in the hands of the wealthy, at the expense of historically marginalized groups, whose voices are still not adequately heard. Corporate actors still exert undue influence over legislative policy that favors economic growth over environmental sustainability. The looming threat of climate change is exponentially increasing the chances of disasters like Cape Town’s 2018 feared ‘Day Zero’. The National Water Act’s noble intentions were never actualized, and therefore the people of South Africa remain in serious danger of acute and chronic threats to their water supply.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2021-05

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Studying, Teaching and Applying Sustainability Visions Using Systems Modeling

Description

The objective of articulating sustainability visions through modeling is to enhance the outcomes and process of visioning in order to successfully move the system toward a desired state. Models emphasize

The objective of articulating sustainability visions through modeling is to enhance the outcomes and process of visioning in order to successfully move the system toward a desired state. Models emphasize approaches to develop visions that are viable and resilient and are crafted to adhere to sustainability principles. This approach is largely assembled from visioning processes (resulting in descriptions of desirable future states generated from stakeholder values and preferences) and participatory modeling processes (resulting in systems-based representations of future states co-produced by experts and stakeholders). Vision modeling is distinct from normative scenarios and backcasting processes in that the structure and function of the future desirable state is explicitly articulated as a systems model. Crafting, representing and evaluating the future desirable state as a systems model in participatory settings is intended to support compliance with sustainability visioning quality criteria (visionary, sustainable, systemic, coherent, plausible, tangible, relevant, nuanced, motivational and shared) in order to develop rigorous and operationalizable visions. We provide two empirical examples to demonstrate the incorporation of vision modeling in research practice and education settings. In both settings, vision modeling was used to develop, represent, simulate and evaluate future desirable states. This allowed participants to better identify, explore and scrutinize sustainability solutions.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-07-01

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An Ecology for Cities: A Transformational Nexus of Design and Ecology to Advance Climate Change Resilience and Urban Sustainability

Description

Cities around the world are facing an ever-increasing variety of challenges that seem to make more sustainable urban futures elusive. Many of these challenges are being driven by, and exacerbated

Cities around the world are facing an ever-increasing variety of challenges that seem to make more sustainable urban futures elusive. Many of these challenges are being driven by, and exacerbated by, increases in urban populations and climate change. Novel solutions are needed today if our cities are to have any hope of more sustainable and resilient futures. Because most of the environmental impacts of any project are manifest at the point of design, we posit that this is where a real difference in urban development can be made. To this end, we present a transformative model that merges urban design and ecology into an inclusive, creative, knowledge-to-action process. This design-ecology nexus—an ecology for cities—will redefine both the process and its products. In this paper we: (1) summarize the relationships among design, infrastructure, and urban development, emphasizing the importance of joining the three to achieve urban climate resilience and enhance sustainability; (2) discuss how urban ecology can move from an ecology of cities to an ecology for cities based on a knowledge-to-action agenda; (3) detail our model for a transformational urban design-ecology nexus, and; (4) demonstrate the efficacy of our model with several case studies.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-11-30

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Limits to adaptation to interacting global change risks among smallholder rice farmers in Northwest Costa Rica

Description

In this paper, we discuss the theoretical relationships among interacting global change risks, valued livelihood goals, and adaptation limits. We build from research on the impacts of multiple and interacting

In this paper, we discuss the theoretical relationships among interacting global change risks, valued livelihood goals, and adaptation limits. We build from research on the impacts of multiple and interacting global change risks in lesser-developed countries and seek to understand household adaptation limits in agrarian communities. We ask: What are valued livelihood goals among smallholder farmers in Northwest Costa Rica? How do socio-economic determinants of adaptive capacities determine their ability to meet these goals in the face of the impacts of interacting global change risks? Our data were based on focus groups, interviews, survey responses from 94 smallholder farmers, government statistics, and published literature. We analyzed our data using qualitative content analysis and quantitative logistic regression models. Our analysis showed that farmers perceived rice production as an identity, and that they were being forced to consider limits to their abilities to adapt to maintain that identity. We found that farm size, cattle ownership, years spent farming, and household income variety were determinants of their abilities to remain in rice production while maintaining sufficient levels of livelihood security. We also showed that for those households most vulnerable to water scarcity, their ability to successfully adapt to meet valued livelihood goals is diminished because adaptation to water scarcity increases vulnerability to decreased rice-market access. In this way, they become trapped by the inability to reduce their vulnerability to risks of the interaction between global changes and therefore abandon valued identities and livelihoods.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015-01-01

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The New Global Urban Realm: Complex, Connected, Diffuse, and Diverse Social-Ecological Systems

Description

Urbanization continues to be a transformative process globally, affecting ecosystem integrity and the health and well being of people around the world. Although cities tend to be centers for both

Urbanization continues to be a transformative process globally, affecting ecosystem integrity and the health and well being of people around the world. Although cities tend to be centers for both the production and consumption of goods and services that degrade natural environments, there is also evidence that urban ecosystems can play a positive role in sustainability efforts. Despite the fact that most of the urbanization is now occurring in the developing countries of the Global South, much of what we know about urban ecosystems has been developed from studying cities in the United States and across Europe. We propose a conceptual framework to broaden the development of urban ecological research and its application to sustainability. Our framework describes four key contemporary urban features that should be accounted for in any attempt to build a unified theory of cities that contributes to urban sustainability efforts. We evaluated a range of examples from cities around the world, highlighting how urban areas are complex, connected, diffuse and diverse and what these interconnected features mean for the study of urban ecosystems and sustainability.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015-05-01

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Art-science for sustainability

Description

The complexity and interconnectedness of sustainability issues has led to the joining of disciplines. This effort has been primarily within the sciences with minimal attention given to the relationship between

The complexity and interconnectedness of sustainability issues has led to the joining of disciplines. This effort has been primarily within the sciences with minimal attention given to the relationship between science and art. The exclusion of art is problematic since sustainability challenges are not only scientific and technical; they are also cultural, so the arts, as shapers of culture, are critical components that warrant representation. In addition to contributing to the production of culture, arts have also been credited as catalysts for scientific breakthroughs; thus it stands to reason that understanding art-science integration will benefit sustainability’s focus on use-inspired basic research. I focus on placing art and science on equal footing to enhance understanding of how individual artists-scientists and collaborative artist-scientist teams creatively address sustainability challenges. In other words, I address the question “What does it take to develop high functioning artists-scientists or artist-scientist collaborations?”

To answer this question, I used a multipronged approach to triangulate a richer understanding of what art-science synthesis offers sustainability and how it functions. First, I performed an historical analysis of a maladapted wilderness aesthetic and turned to the work Aldo Leopold – an exemplar of an artist-scientist – for a new sustainability aesthetic. Then, I engaged in an individual contemporary art practice, culminating in a gallery exhibit, which displayed ecologically-informed work from a three year study of my backyard. Finally, I conducted small group research of artist-scientist teams tasked with developing interpretive signage for the Tres Rios wetland site. For this final element, I collected survey, wearable sensor, and ethnographic data.

Through this composite research, I found that successful art-science practices require significant energy and time investment. Although art-science is most intensive in an individual practice where the person must become “fluent” in two disciplines, it is still challenging in a group setting where members must become “conversational” in each other’s work. However, successful art-science syntheses appear to result in improved communication skills, better problem articulation, more creative problem solving, and the questioning of personal and disciplinary mental models. Thus, the outcomes of such syntheses warrant the effort required at both the individual and collaborative level.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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Sustainability principles and the future of Phoenix, Arizona: framing the Salt River's urban waterway redevelopment

Description

As urban populations rapidly increase in an era of climate change and multiple social and environmental uncertainties, scientists and governments are cultivating knowledge and solutions for the sustainable growth and

As urban populations rapidly increase in an era of climate change and multiple social and environmental uncertainties, scientists and governments are cultivating knowledge and solutions for the sustainable growth and maintenance of cities. Although substantial literature focuses on urban water resource management related to both human and ecological sustainability, few studies assess the unique role of waterway restorations to bridge anthropocentric and ecological concerns in urban environments. To address this gap, my study addressed if well-established sustainability principles are evoked during the nascent discourse of recently proposed urban waterway developments along over fifty miles of Arizona’s Salt River. In this study, a deductive content analysis is used to illuminate the emergence of sustainability principles, the framing of the redevelopment, and to illuminate macro-environmental discourses. Three sustainability principles dominated the discourse: civility and democratic governance; livelihood sufficiency and opportunity; and social-ecological system integrity. These three principles connected to three macro-discourses: economic rationalism; democratic pragmatism; and ecological modernity. These results hold implications for policy and theory and inform urban development processes for improvements to sustainability. As continued densification, in-fill and rapid urbanization continues in the 21st century, more cities are looking to reconstruct urban riverways. Therefore, the emergent sustainability discourse regarding potential revitalizations along Arizona’s Salt River is a manifestation of how waterways are perceived, valued, and essential to urban environments for anthropocentric and ecological needs.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019