Matching Items (9)

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Knowledge System Innovation for Resilient Coastal Cities

Description

Cities are in need of radical knowledge system innovations and designs in the age of the Anthropocene. Cities are complex sites of interactions across social, ecological, and technological dimensions. Cities

Cities are in need of radical knowledge system innovations and designs in the age of the Anthropocene. Cities are complex sites of interactions across social, ecological, and technological dimensions. Cities are also experiencing rapidly changing and intractable environmental conditions. Given uncertain and incomplete knowledge of both future environmental conditions and the outcomes of urban resilience efforts, today’s knowledge systems are unequipped to generate the knowledge and wisdom needed to act. As such, cities must modernize the knowledge infrastructure underpinning today’s complex urban systems. The principal objective of this dissertation is to make the case for, and guide, the vital knowledge system innovations that coastal cities need in order to build more resilient urban futures. Chapter 2 demonstrates the use of knowledge systems analysis as a tool to stress-test and upgrade the Federal Emergency Management Agency flood mapping knowledge system that drives flood resilience planning and decision-making in New York City. In Chapter 3, a conceptual framework is constructed for the design and analysis of knowledge co-production by integrating concepts across the co-production and urban social-ecological-technological systems literatures. In Chapter 4, the conceptual framework is used to analyze two case studies of knowledge co-production in the Miami Metropolitan Area to better inform decisions for how and when to employ co-production as a tool to achieve sustainability and resilience outcomes. In Chapter 5, six propositions are presented – derived from a synthesis of the literature and the three empirical cases – that knowledge professionals can employ to create, facilitate, and scale up knowledge system innovations: flatten knowledge hierarchies; create plural and positive visions of the future; construct knowledge co-production to achieve desired outcomes; acknowledge and anticipate the influence of power and authority; build anticipatory capacities to act under deep uncertainty; and identify and invest in knowledge innovations. While these six propositions apply to the context of coastal cities and flood resilience, most can also be useful to facilitate knowledge innovations to adapt to other complex and intractable environmental problems. Cities must move swiftly to create and catalyze knowledge system innovations given the scale of climate impacts and rapidly changing environmental conditions.

Contributors

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Created

Date Created
  • 2020

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Knowing the Future: Visions of the Bioeconomy and the Politics of Global Transformation

Description

This dissertation explores the contemporary politics of global transformation: the ways biological expertise and economic rationalities are positioned as agents of governance in the face of emerging global crisis. It

This dissertation explores the contemporary politics of global transformation: the ways biological expertise and economic rationalities are positioned as agents of governance in the face of emerging global crisis. It examines visions for a new bioeconomy that are offered in response to impending global crisis. Leaders point to calculations of global population growth and resource depletion to predict future crises and call for a new bioeconomy as a pillar of sustainable and “good” governance.

Focusing on visions and practices of bioeconomy-making in the U.S. and Brazil, the dissertation examines bioeconomy discourse as a response to global crisis and a framework of global governance that promises resource abundance and human wellbeing. Bioeconomy discourse makes visible shared notions of how the world is and how it should be that animate the world-making practices of bioeconomy. The dissertation analyzes the bioeconomy as simultaneously a product of existing institutional and nationally situated values and rationalities, and a significant site of performative novelty. It is an effort to reformulate existing projects in the biosciences—from technology regulation to market formation—and establish new rationalities of governance in the name of producing thoroughgoing transformations to both the global economy and to life itself.

Framing existing scientific and economic rationalities as suppressed and misdirected in their power to govern, bioeconomy proponents envision a novel order derivable from the proper conjugation of biological and economic rationalities. Through the lens of bioconstitutionalism, the dissertation elucidates how national, scientific and public rights and responsibilities are coproduced in relation to a sociotechnical imaginary of vital conjuring. Underwritten by the imaginary of vital conjuring, visions of a future transformed promise that abundance and order can be called up from a tangle of crisis and decay. The imaginary of vital conjuring marries a vision of the technological potential of biological life and the forms of economy capable of unlocking that potential. This vision of bioeconomy, the dissertation argues, is a vision of governance: of the right relationships between state, citizen and science.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2020

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Built by fire: wildfire management and policy in Canada

Description

Wildfire is an inescapable feature of Canadian landscapes, burning an average of over two million hectares annually and causing significant repercussions for communities, infrastructure, and resources. Because fire is managed

Wildfire is an inescapable feature of Canadian landscapes, burning an average of over two million hectares annually and causing significant repercussions for communities, infrastructure, and resources. Because fire is managed provincially, each jurisdiction has developed a distinctive approach to preparing for, responding to, and recovering from fire on its landscapes. Using a comparative study between seven provinces and four national agencies, this dissertation examines differences in institutional design and policy with respect to the knowledge management systems required to respond to wildfire: How do policies and procedures vary between jurisdictions, how do they affect the practices of each fire management agency, and how can they be improved through a critical analysis of the knowledge management systems in use? And, what is the role of and limits on expertise within these fire management institutions that manage high-risk, highly uncertain socio- environmental challenges?

I begin by introducing the 2016 Fort McMurray/Horse River fire as a lens for exploring these questions. I then use the past one hundred years of fire history in Canada to illustrate the continual presence of fire, its human and social dimensions, and the evolution of differing fire management regimes. Drawing on extended ethnographic observation and interviewing of fire managers across Canada, I examine the varied provincial systems of response through following an active fire day in Alberta. I analyze the decision support and geospatial information systems used to guide fire agency decision-making, as well as the factors that limit their effectiveness in both response and hazard reduction modes. I begin Part Two with a discussion of mutual aid arrangements between the provinces, and critically examine the core strategy – interagency fungibility – used to allow this exchange. I analyze forecasting and predictive models used in firefighting, with an emphasis on comparing advantages and disadvantages of attempts at predicting future firefighter capacity requirements. I review organizational learning approaches, considering both fire research strategies and after action reviews. Finally, I consider the implication of changes in climates, politics, and public behaviours and their impacts on fire management.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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Institutional management for infrastructure resilience

Description

To improve the resilience of complex, interdependent infrastructures, we need to better understand the institutions that manage infrastructures and the work that they do. This research demonstrates that a key

To improve the resilience of complex, interdependent infrastructures, we need to better understand the institutions that manage infrastructures and the work that they do. This research demonstrates that a key aspect of infrastructure resilience is the adequate institutional management of infrastructures. This research analyzes the institutional dimension of infrastructure resilience using sociotechnical systems theory and, further, investigates the critical role of institutions for infrastructure resilience using a thorough analysis of water and energy systems in Arizona.

Infrastructure is not static, but dynamic. Institutions play a significant role in designing, building, maintaining, and upgrading dynamic infrastructures. Institutions create the appearance of infrastructure stability while dynamically changing infrastructures over time, which is resilience work. The resilience work of different institutions and organizations sustains, recovers, adapts, reconfigures, and transforms the physical structure on short, medium, and long temporal scales.

To better understand and analyze the dynamics of sociotechnical infrastructure resilience, this research examines several case studies. The first is the social and institutional arrangements for the allocation of resources from Hoover Dam. This research uses an institutional analysis framework and draws on the institutional landscape of water and energy systems in Arizona. In particular, this research illustrates how institutions contribute to differing resilience work at temporal scales while fabricating three types of institutional threads: lateral, vertical, and longitudinal threads.

This research also highlights the importance of institutional interdependence as a critical challenge for improving infrastructure resilience. Institutional changes in one system can disrupt other systems’ performance. The research examines this through case studies that explore how changes to water governance impact the energy system in Arizona. Groundwater regulations affect the operation of thermoelectric power plants which withdraw groundwater for cooling. Generation turbines, droughts, and water governance are all intertwined via institutions in Arizona.

This research, finally, expands and applies the interdependence perspective to a case study of forest management in Arizona. In a nutshell, the perilous combination of chronic droughts and the engineering resilience perspective jeopardizes urban water and energy systems. Wildfires caused by dense forests have legitimized an institutional transition, from thickening forests to thinning trees in Arizona.

Contributors

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Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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Atrial fibrillation ablation: history, practice, and innovation

Description

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common abnormal heart rhythm, affecting

nearly 2% of the world’s population at a cost of $26 Billion in the United States annually, and incalculable costs

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common abnormal heart rhythm, affecting

nearly 2% of the world’s population at a cost of $26 Billion in the United States annually, and incalculable costs worldwide. AF causes no symptoms for some people. However, others with AF experience uncomfortable symptoms including palpitations, breathlessness, dizziness, and fatigue. AF can severely diminish quality of life for both AF sufferers and their loved ones. Beyond uncomfortable symptoms, AF is also linked to congestive heart failure and stroke, both of which can cause premature death. Medications often fail to control AF, leading patients and healthcare providers to seek other cures, including catheter ablation. To date, catheter ablation has yielded uneven results, but garners much attention in research and innovation in pursuit of a cure for AF. This dissertation examines the historical development and contemporary practices of AF ablation to identify opportunities to improve the innovation system for the disease. First, I trace the history of AF and AF ablation knowledge from the 2nd century B.C.E. through the present. This historical look identifies patterns of knowledge co-development between science, technology, and technique, as well as publication patterns impacting knowledge dissemination. Second, I examine the current practices of AF ablation knowledge translation from the perspective of clinical practitioners to characterize the demand-side of knowledge translation in real-world practice. Demand-side knowledge translation occurs in nested patterns, and requires data, experience, and trust in order to incorporate knowledge into a practice paradigm. Third, I use social network mapping and analysis to represent the full AF ablation knowledge-practice system and identify

opportunities to modify research and innovation practice in AF ablation based on i

measures of centrality and power. Finally, I outline six linked recommendations using raw data capture during ablation procedures and open big data analytics, coupled with multi-stakeholder social networking approaches, to maximize innovation potential in AF ablation research and practice.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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Creating Social Value of Energy at the Grassroots: Investigating the Energy-Poverty Nexus and Co-Producing Solutions for Energy Thriving

Description

Energy projects have the potential to provide critical services for human well-being and help eradicate poverty. However, too many projects fail because their approach oversimplifies the problem to energy poverty:

Energy projects have the potential to provide critical services for human well-being and help eradicate poverty. However, too many projects fail because their approach oversimplifies the problem to energy poverty: viewing it as a narrow problem of access to energy services and technologies. This thesis presents an alternative paradigm for energy project development, grounded in theories of socio-energy systems, recognizing that energy and poverty coexist as a social, economic, and technological problem.

First, it shows that social, economic, and energy insecurity creates a complex energy-poverty nexus, undermining equitable, fair, and sustainable energy futures in marginalized communities. Indirect and access-based measures of energy poverty are a mismatch for the complexity of the energy-poverty nexus. The thesis, using the concept of social value of energy, develops a methodology for systematically mapping benefits, burdens and externalities of the energy system, illustrated using empirical investigations in communities in Nepal, India, Brazil, and Philippines. The thesis argues that key determinants of the energy-poverty nexus are the functional and economic capabilities of users, stressors and resulting thresholds of capabilities characterizing the energy and poverty relationship. It proposes ‘energy thriving’ as an alternative standard for evaluating project outcomes, requiring energy systems to not only remedy human well-being deficits but create enabling conditions for discovering higher forms of well-being.

Second, a novel, experimental approach to sustainability interventions is developed, to improve the outcomes of energy projects. The thesis presents results from a test bed for community sustainability interventions established in the village of Rio Claro in Brazil, to test innovative project design strategies and develop a primer for co-producing sustainable solutions. The Sustainable Rio Claro 2020 initiative served as a longitudinal experiment in participatory collective action for sustainable futures.

Finally, results are discussed from a collaborative project with grassroots practitioners to understand the energy-poverty nexus, map the social value of energy and develop energy thriving solutions. Partnering with local private and non-profit organizations in Uganda, Bolivia, Nepal and Philippines, the project evaluated and refined methods for designing and implementing innovative energy projects using the theoretical ideas developed in the thesis, subsequently developing a practitioner toolkit for the purpose.

Contributors

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Created

Date Created
  • 2020

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Negotiating socio-technical contracts: anticipatory governance and reproductive technologies

Description

This project develops the "socio-technical contract" concept, a notion that signifies the kinds of socio-technological assumptions and arrangements that characterize a particular domain of policy or practice. Socio-technical contracts, unlike

This project develops the "socio-technical contract" concept, a notion that signifies the kinds of socio-technological assumptions and arrangements that characterize a particular domain of policy or practice. Socio-technical contracts, unlike their social contract counterparts in political theory, represent active negotiation and renegotiation of social contracts around emerging technologies, as opposed to the tacit social contracts of thinkers such as Locke. I use the socio-technical contract concept to analyze the governance of assisted reproductive technologies in the United Kingdom. For increasing numbers of people, reproduction is happening in a fundamentally different way. Conception outside of the womb became a reality with the 1978 birth of Louise Brown, the first baby born via in-vitro fertilization. Alongside Louise Brown's birth emerged new social and governance configurations around reproductive technologies, including, in the United Kingdom, the establishment of a national regulatory agency, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. The project applies the socio-technical contract concept in order to examine how distributed governance and socio-cultural processes in the British context worked over time to renegotiate fundamental ideas about families and kinship, the boundaries of "ethical" science, rules governing release of information, the "right to an identity," the role of the state in the reproductive choices of individuals, and general approaches to how to think about the roles and relationships of the child, parents, and the state in and around the introduction of these technologies. As these changes have occurred, policies, social understandings, and legal rights have been renegotiated and new governance capacities, what I call "anticipatory capacities," have come into existence to manage and coordinate change across complex social systems. In illuminating anticipatory capacities in each context, I explore the tools deployed by government actors, scientists, stakeholders, and citizens in negotiating evolving socio-technical contracts around reproductive technologies.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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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.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012

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This Fissured Democracy: Nation-Building, Civic Epistemologies, and Nuclear Politics in India

Description

This dissertation examines how Indian polities have resisted and accommodated nuclear energy into their existing culture, politics and environment from the 1960s to the present. I document sites of friction

This dissertation examines how Indian polities have resisted and accommodated nuclear energy into their existing culture, politics and environment from the 1960s to the present. I document sites of friction between the nuclear establishment, urban activists, and local communities to trace how their engagements changed because of key ruptures in Indian nuclear history, namely Chernobyl, the US-India nuclear deal, and the Fukushima nuclear disaster. I interrogate the concept of ‘civic epistemologies,’ which was developed by comparative regulatory policy analysts in STS to explain how different national regulatory systems follow distinct cultural modes of evaluating the objectivity and credibility of policy-relevant scientific knowledge, evidence and expertise to arrive at different conclusions about similar technologies. By following how various actors are mobilizing cultures and institutions of knowledge production and deliberation to further political goals around nuclear power in India, as well as how these goals shape knowledge practices, I demonstrate that citizens’ desire to ‘scientize’ politics by creating a political culture of scientific debate around nuclear matters—thereby creating the forms of public reason as seen in Western nuclear debates—requires politicizing science to render it a publicly accessible rationality. As such, I argue that the creation of science- based, policy-relevant knowledge and politics should be seen as part and parcel of a particular variant of liberal democratic nation-building—albeit one that is inherently exclusionary, coercive and politically fraught. Using a mixed-methods approach of multi-sited ethnographies of five villages opposing nuclear energy, interviews with a wide range of actors, event ethnographies, oral histories and document collection and analysis, I discovered that urban and rural activists, politicians and regulatory officials articulate and enact different imaginaries of nuclear energy and democratic politics and participate in competing processes of knowledge-making and political formation. Democratic maneuvering and full access to the privileges of civil society are allowed actors who share the state's imaginary of nuclear power's role in achieving sovereignty and self-reliance, while others are not granted such affordances. Moreover, the state reproduces colonial sociopolitical categories in how it deals with the differential knowledge politics espoused by its rural, agrarian constituents and its urban elite citizens.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016