Matching Items (23)

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Towards Water Sensitive Cities in the Colorado River Basin: A Comparative Historical Analysis to Inform Future Urban Water Sustainability Transitions

Description

Many population centers in the American West rely on water from the Colorado River Basin, which has faced shortages in recent years that are anticipated to be exacerbated by climate

Many population centers in the American West rely on water from the Colorado River Basin, which has faced shortages in recent years that are anticipated to be exacerbated by climate change. Shortages to urban water supplies related to climate change will not be limited to cities dependent on the Colorado River. Considering this, addressing sustainable water governance is timely and critical for cities, states, and regions facing supply shortages and pollution problems. Engaging in sustainability transitions of these hydro-social systems will increase the ability of such systems to meet the water needs of urban communities. In this paper, we identify historical transitions in water governance and examine their context for three sites in the Colorado River Basin (Denver, Colorado, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Phoenix, Arizona) to provide insight for intentional transitions towards sustainable, or “water sensitive” cities. The comparative historical approach employed allows us to more fully understand differences in present-day water governance decisions between the sites, identify past catalysts for transitions, and recognize emerging patterns and opportunities that may impact current and future water governance in the Colorado River Basin and beyond.

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  • 2017-05-06

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Stressors and Strategies for Managing Urban Water Scarcity: Perspectives from the Field

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Largely because water resource planning in the U.S. has been separated from land-use planning, opportunities for explicitly linking planning policies to water availability remain unexamined. The pressing need for better

Largely because water resource planning in the U.S. has been separated from land-use planning, opportunities for explicitly linking planning policies to water availability remain unexamined. The pressing need for better coordination between land-use planning and water management is amplified by changes in the global climate, which will place even greater importance on managing water supplies and demands than in the past. By surveying land and water managers in two urbanizing regions of the western United States—Portland, Oregon and Phoenix Arizona—we assessed the extent to which their perspectives regarding municipal water resource management align or differ. We specifically focus on characterizing how they perceive water scarcity problems (i.e., stressors) and solutions (i.e., strategies). Overall, the results show a general agreement across both regions and professions that long-term drought, population growth, and outdoor water use are the most important stressors to urban water systems. The results of the survey indicated more agreement across cities than across professions with regard to effective strategies, reinforcing the idea that land-use planners and water managers remain divided in their conception of the solutions to urban water management. To conclude, we recommend potential pathways for coordinating the fields of land and water management for urban sustainability.

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  • 2015-12-01

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Decision-Making under Uncertainty for Water Sustainability and Urban Climate Change Adaptation

Description

Complexities and uncertainties surrounding urbanization and climate change complicate water resource sustainability. Although research has examined various aspects of complex water systems, including uncertainties, relatively few attempts have been made

Complexities and uncertainties surrounding urbanization and climate change complicate water resource sustainability. Although research has examined various aspects of complex water systems, including uncertainties, relatively few attempts have been made to synthesize research findings in particular contexts. We fill this gap by examining the complexities, uncertainties, and decision processes for water sustainability and urban adaptation to climate change in the case study region of Phoenix, Arizona. In doing so, we integrate over a decade of research conducted by Arizona State University’s Decision Center for a Desert City (DCDC). DCDC is a boundary organization that conducts research in collaboration with policy makers, with the goal of informing decision-making under uncertainty. Our results highlight: the counterintuitive, non-linear, and competing relationships in human–environment dynamics; the myriad uncertainties in climatic, scientific, political, and other domains of knowledge and practice; and, the social learning that has occurred across science and policy spheres. Finally, we reflect on how our interdisciplinary research and boundary organization has evolved over time to enhance adaptive and sustainable governance in the face of complex system dynamics.

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  • 2015-11-04

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Educating for Sustainability: Competencies & Practices for Transformative Action

Description

Achieving a sustainable future requires that individuals adopt different values, attitudes, habits, and behaviors, which are often learned and cemented at a young age. Unfortunately, current educational efforts are inadequate

Achieving a sustainable future requires that individuals adopt different values, attitudes, habits, and behaviors, which are often learned and cemented at a young age. Unfortunately, current educational efforts are inadequate for achieving transformative action. Even programs whose primary goal is to promote responsible, pro-environmental behaviors have largely failed at creating change among students. The lack of efficacy in sustainability-related educational programs is at least partly due to faulty assumptions about knowledge automatically leading to action, and by extension, the information- intensive methods that focus largely on declarative knowledge regarding how environmental systems work. Meanwhile, social science literature clearly highlights the need to go beyond ecological and technical knowledge when educating for transformative action, since sustainable behaviors are motivated by much more than declarative information. In order to effectively educate for sustainability, alternative forms of knowledge (i.e., procedural, effectiveness, and social knowledge) are essential, as is the consideration of various barriers and motivators for action. The transition towards sustainability will require action and change that is guided by an understanding of the complexities that arise within an interconnected system, as well as the ability to collaborate with people from diverse backgrounds, while keeping an eye to the future. In formulating our approach to educating for sustainability, we incorporate perspectives from three somewhat disparate fields: (i) behavioral change research, (ii) sustainability scholarship, and (iii) educational pedagogy. While drawing upon diverse knowledge domains, our primary purpose is to integrate behavior change research and sustainability competencies in developing effective educational approaches for transformative actions.
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  • 2011-03

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Hard paths, soft paths or no paths? Cross-cultural perceptions of water solutions

Description

In this study, we examine how development status and water scarcity shape people's perceptions of "hard path" and "soft path" water solutions. Based on ethnographic research conducted in four semi-rural/peri-urban

In this study, we examine how development status and water scarcity shape people's perceptions of "hard path" and "soft path" water solutions. Based on ethnographic research conducted in four semi-rural/peri-urban sites (in Bolivia, Fiji, New Zealand, and the US), we use content analysis to conduct statistical and thematic comparisons of interview data. Our results indicate clear differences associated with development status and, to a lesser extent, water scarcity. People in the two less developed sites were more likely to suggest hard path solutions, less likely to suggest soft path solutions, and more likely to see no path to solutions than people in the more developed sites. Thematically, people in the two less developed sites envisioned solutions that involve small-scale water infrastructure and decentralized, community-based solutions, while people in the more developed sites envisioned solutions that involve large-scale infrastructure and centralized, regulatory water solutions. People in the two water-scarce sites were less likely to suggest soft path solutions and more likely to see no path to solutions (but no more likely to suggest hard path solutions) than people in the water-rich sites. Thematically, people in the two water-rich sites seemed to perceive a wider array of unrealized potential soft path solutions than those in the water-scarce sites. On balance, our findings are encouraging in that they indicate that people are receptive to soft path solutions in a range of sites, even those with limited financial or water resources. Our research points to the need for more studies that investigate the social feasibility of soft path water solutions, particularly in sites with significant financial and natural resource constraints.

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  • 2014-01-13

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Determining the effectiveness of the water conservation implementations within the City of Tempe's neighborhood grant program

Description

Two large sectors of water consumption within cities are: city owned irrigated landscape (such as parks) and household consumption. A related, third sector of consumption that has very little research

Two large sectors of water consumption within cities are: city owned irrigated landscape (such as parks) and household consumption. A related, third sector of consumption that has very little research behind it is shared landscapes in residential communities. Neighborhood communities, including those with formal Homeowner’s Associations and informal Neighborhood Associations, have common landscapes they are responsible for up-keeping and irrigating. 208 neighborhood communities exist within the City of Tempe. Each year the city provides $30,000 in grant funding to these 208 neighborhoods to implement water conservation projects. This thesis focuses on ten neighborhoods who had applied and were granted funding to implement a conservation project between the years 2011 and 2016. My findings showed that this program has not been effective in reducing water consumption, wither due to the lack of implementation or the small-scale of the projects. From my research and synthesis, I suggest a layer of accountability be added to the program to ensure projects are effective and participants are implementing their projects and that the program is effective overall. This study provides the City of Tempe with relevant and viable information to aid management of water consumption and conservation within neighborhoods.

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  • 2019-05

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Water: Are We Using it Wisely? A comparative analysis of water demand management trend and strategies in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona

Description

As Arizona enters its fifteenth year of drought and Lake Mead hits historic lows, water management and policy planning will become increasingly important to ensure future water security in the

As Arizona enters its fifteenth year of drought and Lake Mead hits historic lows, water management and policy planning will become increasingly important to ensure future water security in the Southwestern region of the United States. This thesis compares water demand trends and policies at the municipal level in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona over the time period from 1980-2010. By analyzing gallons per capita per day (GPCD) trends for each city in the context of population growth, drought, and major state and local policies over the twenty year period, reasons for declines in per capita water demand were explored. Despite differences in their available water sources and political cultures, both the City of Phoenix and the City of Tucson have successfully reduced their per capita water consumption levels between 1980 and 2010. However, this study suggests that each city's measured success at reducing GPCD has been more a result of external events (supply augmentation, drought, and differing development trends) rather than conservation and demand reduction regulations adopted under the auspices of the Groundwater Management Act.

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  • 2015-05

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Assessing the value of sustainability indicators through the case study of Valley Permaculture Alliance

Description

The ecological benefits provided by trees include improving air quality (Nowak, et. al., 2006), mitigating climate change by sequestering carbon (Nowak, 1993), providing animal habitats (Livingston, et. al., 2003), and

The ecological benefits provided by trees include improving air quality (Nowak, et. al., 2006), mitigating climate change by sequestering carbon (Nowak, 1993), providing animal habitats (Livingston, et. al., 2003), and reducing heat (Edmonson, 2016), among others. Trees also provide numerous social benefits, impacting urban sustainability in particular by improving human health (Salmond, 2016), aesthetically and economically improving neighborhoods (Torres, 2012), and contributing to thriving communities by creating gathering spaces and even reducing crime (Abraham, et. al., 2010). Because of the tremendous potential of trees to provide social and ecological services, particularly in urban areas, tree planting has become an important facet of many sustainability initiatives. This thesis assesses one such initiative aimed at planting trees for the diverse benefits they provide. Valley Permaculture Alliance (VPA), a nonprofit based in Phoenix, Arizona, is known for its Shade Tree Program. The author conducted an internal, quantitative assessment of the program between August and December of 2015. The assessment included evaluation of several indicators of ecological and community health related to the presence of shade trees, culminating in a report released in 2016. This paper evaluates the use of sustainability indicators in the VPA assessment as well as their value in different types of organizations. It culminates with an assessment of VPA's strengths, challenges faced by the organization, and suggestions for its future development.

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  • 2016-12

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A Supporting Model for Teaching Fundamental Ecological Principles to Third Through Fifth Grade Students

Description

In today's world, critical thinking and using a systems approach to problem solving are skills that are far too rare. In the age of information, the truth has become muddled

In today's world, critical thinking and using a systems approach to problem solving are skills that are far too rare. In the age of information, the truth has become muddled by "fake news" and a constant barrage of exaggerations or blatant falsehoods. Without critical thinking skills, "many members of our society do not command the scientific literacy necessary to address important societal issues and concerns" (NCES 2012, p.11). Additionally, far too many people are incapable of thinking long term and understanding how their actions affect others. Because of this shortsightedness our world is facing one of its biggest ecological crises \u2014 global warming confounded by overpopulation and overconsumption. Now, more than ever, it is critical "for our young people to have a basic understanding of the relevant scientific ideas, technologies and ethical issues and powers of reasoning, to be prepared to face these issues" (Harlen et al., 2015). I believe that investigating innovative ways to teach ecology could be an important step to accomplishing this. Learning to think like a scientist forces people to rely on facts, follow similar protocols to deduce these facts, and be able to think critically about misleading events. More specifically, ecology education will allow people to develop those skills while also learning about team work, open-mindedness, and their environment. Ecology is defined as "the branch of biology that deals with the relations of organisms to one another and to their physical surroundings" (Dictionary.com, 2018). It is clear that this subcategory of science could act as a powerful introduction to the scientific world and how we relate to it. Its introduction at a young age has the potential to create a generation of conscientious and curious lifelong learners. In an attempt to support effective ways to teach ecology, I developed an educational unit and applied it in different educational contexts. My target audience was elementary aged students and I tested this unit with children in Phoenix Metropolitan Area afterschool programs. I taught core concepts of ecology \u2014 the water cycle, the sun's energy, plants and photosynthesis, and food webs \u2014in a sequence of lesson plans that build upon each other. Finally, I determined the appropriate age group and setting for these lesson plans through research and in-class observations. In this document, I explain the process I went through in developing my lesson plans, why I felt compelled to make them, and my experiences in implementing them.

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  • 2018-05

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Theorizing the 21st Century City: Urban Design through the SETS Framework

Description

As the move towards sustainable urbanism grows, understanding how the city has previously been envisioned and designed will be useful to moving forward. This work examines the legacy of urban

As the move towards sustainable urbanism grows, understanding how the city has previously been envisioned and designed will be useful to moving forward. This work examines the legacy of urban design theories, what these theories have implied about what the city should be, and their sustainability consequences. Noticing three prominent urban design visions of the city, the technological city (as proposed in 1922 by Le Corbusier's Ville contemporaine and later in 1933 by his Ville Radieuse (The Radiant City), and in 1935 by Frank Lloyd Wright's' Broadacre City), the social city (as explored in 1961 by Jane Jacobs and in 1976 by Edward Relph of the University of Chicago), and the ecological city (as expounded upon in 1924 by both Lewis Mumford and in 1969 by Ian McHarg), I have newly applied the social-ecological-technical systems framework (SETS) to help classify and analyze these urban design theories and how they have mixed to create hybrid perspectives in more recent urban design theory. Lastly, I have proposed an urban design theory that envisions the sustainable city as an ongoing process. Hopefully, this vision that will hopefully be useful to the future of sustainable development in cities, as will a more organized understanding of urban design theories and their sustainability outcomes.

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Date Created
  • 2018-05