Matching Items (6)

Educating Students on Water Resources, the Importance of Drinking Water, and the Use of Biomimicry

Description

Clean and accessible drinking water is a crucial and limited resource. As the world's population grows and demand increases, water resources will become more limited. This project aims to educate

Clean and accessible drinking water is a crucial and limited resource. As the world's population grows and demand increases, water resources will become more limited. This project aims to educate students on water resources, drinking water, and how biomimicry can allow society to improve its water usage. The project consists of a ten day unit plan which addresses several water topics such as: the various uses of water, water distribution, where drinking water comes from, the water treatment process, and more. After establishing background knowledge on water and surrounding issues, the students will be challenged to design a water bottle using biomimicry. Biomimicry is looking at nature to draw and inspire solutions to human problems. This unit has been optimized for use by elementary teachers. The ten day unit consists of a lesson summary, objectives, standards, and recommended activities for each day. Of the ten days, three lesson plans were fully developed using the 5E format. The research supporting this project is compiled in the following report.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016-12

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Sustainability Competencies in Middle-School Curriculum: Educating Students About Water Systems and Drought

Description

Current literature on sustainability education and its core competencies (systems thinking, normative, interpersonal, strategic, and future thinking) has yet to acknowledge the K-12 level, concentrating instead on higher-level institutions. To

Current literature on sustainability education and its core competencies (systems thinking, normative, interpersonal, strategic, and future thinking) has yet to acknowledge the K-12 level, concentrating instead on higher-level institutions. To initiate study at the critical K-12 level, a curriculum module composed of four lessons to address the wicked sustainability problem of drought in the Sonoran Desert was developed, piloted, and evaluated. The framework of each lesson combined the core competencies and the 5Es pedagogy (engage, explore, explain, elaborate, and evaluate). Two lessons were successfully piloted in two seventh grade middle-school science classes in Phoenix, Arizona. Topics addressed were the water cycle, types of drought, water systems, and mitigation methods. Evaluation determined a high level of student engagement. Post-pilot teacher questionnaires revealed a high degree of support for inclusion of sustainability education and core competencies addressing drought in future opportunities. It is concluded that lessons in the future can adopt the core competences of sustainability with the support of educators in Arizona.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015-12

Debunking Common Landscaping Misconceptions in Phoenix, Arizona

Description

This project was inspired by Dr. Kelli L. Larson’s research which disproved three common landscaping misconceptions in the Phoenix Valley. The first misconception states that newcomers, not long-time Phoenicians more

This project was inspired by Dr. Kelli L. Larson’s research which disproved three common landscaping misconceptions in the Phoenix Valley. The first misconception states that newcomers, not long-time Phoenicians more often have and prefer grassy lawns instead of xeric, desert-adapted landscapes when actually the opposite is true. Secondly, the rise in xeric landscapes is not due to personal choice but rather a variety of other factors such as developer decisions. Finally, Dr. Larson’s research also disproves the assumption that people who possess pro-environmental attitudes correspondingly demonstrate sustainable landscaping behavior, and finds that people with those attitudes actually tend to irrigate more frequently in the winter months. Debunking these misconceptions is important because the long-term impacts of global climate change could have effects on water use in the desert southwest, and promoting water conservation in urban residential landscaping is an important step in the creation of sustainable water use policy. <br/><br/>The goal of my project was to make this information more accessible to broader public audiences who may not have access to it outside of research circles. I decided to create a zine, a small batch, hand-made mini-magazine, centered around disproving these myths so that the information could be distributed to broader audiences. I conducted informal stakeholder interviews to inform my design in order to appeal to those audiences, and constructed a 16-page booklet which debunked the myths and encouraged critical thinking about individual water use and urban landscaping habits. The zine included hand-painted illustrations and was constructed as a physical copy with the intention of eventually copying and distributing both a physical and digital version. The purpose of this project is to create a way of accessing reliable information about urban landscaping for residents of the Phoenix Valley, where the climate and geography necessitate water conservation.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2021-05

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How cities think: knowledge-action systems analysis for urban sustainability in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Description

With more than 70 percent of the world's population expected to live in cities by 2050, it behooves us to understand urban sustainability and improve the capacity of city planners

With more than 70 percent of the world's population expected to live in cities by 2050, it behooves us to understand urban sustainability and improve the capacity of city planners and policymakers to achieve sustainable goals. Producing and linking knowledge to action is a key tenet of sustainability science. This dissertation examines how knowledge-action systems -- the networks of actors involved in the production, sharing and use of policy-relevant knowledge -- work in order to inform what capacities are necessary to effectively attain sustainable outcomes. Little is known about how knowledge-action systems work in cities and how they should be designed to address their complexity. I examined this question in the context of land use and green area governance in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where political conflict exists over extensive development, particularly over the city's remaining green areas. I developed and applied an interdisciplinary framework -- the Knowledge-Action System Analysis (KASA) Framework --that integrates concepts of social network analysis and knowledge co-production (i.e., epistemic cultures and boundary work). Implementation of the framework involved multiple methods --surveys, interviews, participant observations, and document--to gather and analyze quantitative and qualitative data. Results from the analysis revealed a diverse network of actors contributing different types of knowledge, thus showing a potential in governance for creativity and innovation. These capacities, however, are hindered by various political and cultural factors, such as: 1) breakdown in vertical knowledge flow between state, city, and local actors; 2) four divergent visions of San Juan's future emerging from distinct epistemic cultures; 3) extensive boundary work by multiple actors to separate knowledge and planning activities, and attain legitimacy and credibility in the process; 4) and hierarchies of knowledge where outside expertise (e.g., private planning and architectural firms) is privileged over others, thus reflecting competing knowledge systems in land use and green area planning in San Juan. I propose a set of criteria for building just and effective knowledge-action systems for cities, including: context and inclusiveness, adaptability and reflexivity, and polycentricity. In this way, this study also makes theoretical contributions to the knowledge systems literature specifically, and urban sustainability in general.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012

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Attitudes towards ecosystem services in urban riparian parks

Description

Urban sustainability is a critical component of sustainable human societies. Urban riparian parks are used here as a case study seeking to understand the social-ecological relationships between the subjective evaluation

Urban sustainability is a critical component of sustainable human societies. Urban riparian parks are used here as a case study seeking to understand the social-ecological relationships between the subjective evaluation of ecosystem services and the vision and management of one kind of green infrastructure. This study explored attitudes towards ecosystem services, asking whether 1) the tripartite model is an effective framing to measure attitudes towards ecosystem services; 2) what the attitudes towards ecosystem services are and whether they differ between two types of park space; and 3) what the relationship is between management and the attitudinal assessment of ecosystem services by park users. A questionnaire was administered to 104 urban riparian park users in Phoenix, AZ evaluating their attitudes towards refugia, aesthetics, microclimate and stormwater regulation, and recreational and educational opportunities. The operationalization of the tripartite model was validated and found reliable, but may not be the whole story in determining attitudes towards ecosystem services. All components of attitude were positive, but attitudes were stronger in a habitat rehabilitation area with densely planted native species and low flows, than in a more classic park with mowed lawns and scattered vegetation, a mix of native and non-native species, and open water. Park users were more positive towards refugia, stormwater regulation, recreation, and educational opportunities in the habitat rehabilitation area. On the other hand, microclimate regulation and aesthetic qualities were valued similarly between the two parks. Most attitudes supported management goals, however park users valued stormwater regulation less than managers. Qualitative answers suggest that the quality of human interactions differ between the parks and park users consider both elements of society and the physical environment in their subjective evaluations. These findings reveal that park users highly value ecosystem services and that park design and management mediates social-ecological relationships, which should at least underlie the context of economic discussions of service value. This study supports the provision of ecosystem services through green infrastructure and suggests that an integration of park designs throughout urban areas could provide both necessary services as well as expand the platform for social-ecological interactions.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012

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Quantifying the trade-off between landscape vegetation height, surface temperature, and water consumption in single-family residential houses for a desert city.

Description

In light of climate change and urban sustainability concerns, researchers have been studying how residential landscape vegetation affect household water consumption and heat mitigation. Previous studies have analyzed the correlations

In light of climate change and urban sustainability concerns, researchers have been studying how residential landscape vegetation affect household water consumption and heat mitigation. Previous studies have analyzed the correlations among residential landscape practices, household water consumption, and urban heating at aggregate spatial scales to understand complex landscape decision tradeoffs in an urban environment. This research builds upon those studies by using parcel-level variables to explore the implications of vegetation quantity and height on water consumption and summertime surface temperatures in a set of single-family residential homes in Tempe, Arizona. QuickBird and LiDAR vegetation imagery (0.600646m/pixel), MASTER temperature data (approximately 7m/pixel), and household water billing data were analyzed. Findings provide new insights into the distinct variable, vegetation height, thereby contributing to past landscape studies at the parcel-level. We hypothesized that vegetation of different heights significantly impact water demand and summer daytime and nighttime surface temperatures among residential homes. More specifically, we investigated two hypotheses: 1) vegetation greater than 1.5 m in height will decrease daytime surface temperature more than grass coverage, and 2) grass cover will increase household water consumption more than other vegetation classes, particularly vegetation height. Bivariate and stepwise linear regressions were run to determine the predictive capacity of vegetation on surface temperature and on water consumption. Trees of 1.5m-10m height and trees of 5m-10m height lowered daytime surface temperatures. Nighttime surface temperatures were increased by trees of 5m-10m height and decreased by grass. Houses that experienced higher daytime surface temperatures consumed less water than houses with lower daytime surface temperatures, but water consumption was not directly related to vegetation cover or height. Implications of this study support the practical application of tree canopy (vegetation of 5m-10m height) to mitigate extreme surface temperatures. The trade-offs between water and vegetation classes are not yet clear because vegetation classes cannot singularly predict household water consumption.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015-05