Matching Items (10)

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Changes in biodiversity and trade-offs among ecosystem services, stakeholders, and components of well-being: the contribution of the International Long-Term Ecological Research network (ILTER) to Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS)

Description

The International Long-Term Ecological Research (ILTER) network comprises > 600 scientific groups conducting site-based research within 40 countries. Its mission includes improving the understanding of global ecosystems and informs solutions

The International Long-Term Ecological Research (ILTER) network comprises > 600 scientific groups conducting site-based research within 40 countries. Its mission includes improving the understanding of global ecosystems and informs solutions to current and future environmental problems at the global scales. The ILTER network covers a wide range of social-ecological conditions and is aligned with the Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS) goals and approach. Our aim is to examine and develop the conceptual basis for proposed collaboration between ILTER and PECS. We describe how a coordinated effort of several contrasting LTER site-based research groups contributes to the understanding of how policies and technologies drive either toward or away from the sustainable delivery of ecosystem services. This effort is based on three tenets: transdisciplinary research; cross-scale interactions and subsequent dynamics; and an ecological stewardship orientation. The overarching goal is to design management practices taking into account trade-offs between using and conserving ecosystems toward more sustainable solutions. To that end, we propose a conceptual approach linking ecosystem integrity, ecosystem services, and stakeholder well-being, and as a way to analyze trade-offs among ecosystem services inherent in diverse management options. We also outline our methodological approach that includes: (i) monitoring and synthesis activities following spatial and temporal trends and changes on each site and by documenting cross-scale interactions; (ii) developing analytical tools for integration; (iii) promoting trans-site comparison; and (iv) developing conceptual tools to design adequate policies and management interventions to deal with trade-offs. Finally, we highlight the heterogeneity in the social-ecological setting encountered in a subset of 15 ILTER sites. These study cases are diverse enough to provide a broad cross-section of contrasting ecosystems with different policy and management drivers of ecosystem conversion; distinct trends of biodiversity change; different stakeholders’ preferences for ecosystem services; and diverse components of well-being issues.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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The EcoCode: Redesigning the Urban Block

Description

Midwestern cities are in decline, with shrinking populations and corresponding disinvestment. Many organizations and city governments are working on addressing the problem of vacancy while bringing these urban areas into

Midwestern cities are in decline, with shrinking populations and corresponding disinvestment. Many organizations and city governments are working on addressing the problem of vacancy while bringing these urban areas into the global economy. The EcoBlock Organization (EBO), a St. Louis-based non-profit, proposes block-level redevelopment as a method of fostering community and economic development while minimizing the impact on the environment. The EcoCode is a block-level form-based code describing the vision of the EBO and its implementation. This vision is centered around eight key design principles: energy, public health, social, urban design, water, transportation, resilience, and landscape. It manifests as an EcoBlock: a block of buildings surrounding a shared green space, connected by an energy grid and a shared geothermal loop with the goal of net-zero energy. The residences are a mix of building types for a variety of incomes and some building space will be designated for shared use, all physically reflecting the historic design of houses in the city in which the EcoBlock is implemented. Specifications like design, building placement, and mechanisms by which to strive towards net-zero energy and water will be determined in each location in which the EcoBlock is developed. The EcoCode describes the process and the desired outcome, providing a framework for this implementation.
The EcoCode resembles a typical form-based code in structure, but at a smaller geographic scale. General Provisions describes the context of the surrounding area that must be assessed before choosing to create an EcoBlock. Development and Adoption strategy explains the evolving role of the EBO and how the realization of this design is currently envisioned. Regulating Block, Block Development Standards, Building Envelope Standards, and Building Development Standards describe the detail that will need to be developed for the physical aspects of each block. Streetscape Standards describe the vision of the EBO as applicable to the streets surrounding an EcoBlock. Finally, the Sustainability Standards contain the contribution of each board member of the EBO with their unique expertise on implementing the design principles.
As a supplement to The EcoCode itself, this document contains three topics for case studies looking into the feasibility of the EcoBlock as a whole: shared space, net-zero energy, and mixed-income housing. Shared space development and management uses Montgomery Park in Boston to show the potential of community-based organization while warning against gentrification. The West Village campus of the University of California in Davis shows the technical possibility and the financial challenges of a net-zero community. Brogården, an affordable housing community in Sweden, demonstrates the possibility for decreasing energy consumption in public housing. Finally, Via Verde in New York City is an example of combining health, green space, and affordability in a mixed-income housing development. Though there is not yet an example of a fully implemented EcoBlock, these case studies speak to the challenges and the facilitators that the EBO will likely face.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018-05

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Should sustainability and resilience be combined or remain distinct pursuits?

Description

It has become common for sustainability science and resilience theory to be considered as complementary approaches. Occasionally the terms have been used interchangeably. Although these two approaches share some working

It has become common for sustainability science and resilience theory to be considered as complementary approaches. Occasionally the terms have been used interchangeably. Although these two approaches share some working principles and objectives, they also are based on some distinct assumptions about the operation of systems and how we can best guide these systems into the future. Each approach would benefit from some scholars keeping sustainability science and resilience theory separate and focusing on further developing their distinctiveness and other scholars continuing to explore them in combination. Three areas of research in which following different procedures might be beneficial are whether to prioritize outcomes or system dynamics, how best to take advantage of community input, and increasing the use of knowledge of the past as a laboratory for potential innovations.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2013-11-30

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Discovering pathways to sustainability: small communities in transition

Description

Driven by concern over environmental, economic and social problems, small, place based communities are engaging in processes of transition to become more sustainable. These communities may be viewed as innovative

Driven by concern over environmental, economic and social problems, small, place based communities are engaging in processes of transition to become more sustainable. These communities may be viewed as innovative front runners of a transition to a more sustainable society in general, each one, an experiment in social transformation. These experiments present learning opportunities to build robust theories of community transition and to create specific, actionable knowledge to improve, replicate, and accelerate transitions in real communities. Yet to date, there is very little empirical research into the community transition phenomenon. This thesis empirically develops an analytical framework and method for the purpose of researching community transition processes, the ultimate goal of which is to arrive at a practice of evidence based transitions. A multiple case study approach was used to investigate three community transitions while simultaneously developing the framework and method in an iterative fashion. The case studies selected were Ashton Hayes, a small English village, BedZED, an urban housing complex in London, and Forres, a small Scottish town. Each community was visited and data collected by interview and document analysis. The research design brings together elements of process tracing, transformative planning and governance, sustainability assessment, transition path analysis and transition management within a multiple case study envelope. While some preliminary insights are gained into community transitions based on the three cases the main contribution of this thesis is in the creation of the research framework and method. The general framework and method developed has potential for standardizing and synthesizing research of community transition processes leading to both theoretical and practical knowledge that allows sustainability transition to be approached with confidence and not just hope.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011

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Phosphorus cycling in Metropolitan Phoenix

Description

Phosphorus (P), an essential element for life, is becoming increasingly scarce, and its global management presents a serious challenge. As urban environments dominate the landscape, we need to elucidate how

Phosphorus (P), an essential element for life, is becoming increasingly scarce, and its global management presents a serious challenge. As urban environments dominate the landscape, we need to elucidate how P cycles in urban ecosystems to better understand how cities contribute to — and provide opportunities to solve — problems of P management. The goal of my research was to increase our understanding of urban P cycling in the context of urban resource management through analysis of existing ecological and socio-economic data supplemented with expert interviews in order to facilitate a transition to sustainable P management. Study objectives were to: I) Quantify and map P stocks and flows in the Phoenix metropolitan area and analyze the drivers of spatial distribution and dynamics of P flows; II) examine changes in P-flow dynamics at the urban agricultural interface (UAI), and the drivers of those changes, between 1978 and 2008; III) compare the UAI's average annual P budget to the global agricultural P budget; and IV) explore opportunities for more sustainable P management in Phoenix. Results showed that Phoenix is a sink for P, and that agriculture played a primary role in the dynamics of P cycling. Internal P dynamics at the UAI shifted over the 30-year study period, with alfalfa replacing cotton as the main locus of agricultural P cycling. Results also suggest that the extent of P recycling in Phoenix is proportionally larger than comparable estimates available at the global scale due to the biophysical characteristics of the region and the proximity of various land uses. Uncertainty remains about the effectiveness of current recycling strategies and about best management strategies for the future because we do not have sufficient data to use as basis for evaluation and decision-making. By working in collaboration with practitioners, researchers can overcome some of these data limitations to develop a deeper understanding of the complexities of P dynamics and the range of options available to sustainably manage P. There is also a need to better connect P management with that of other resources, notably water and other nutrients, in order to sustainably manage cities.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011

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Harnessing the impacts of schools: new insights for sustainable community development

Description

This dissertation explores the unique role schools play in contributing toward a sustainable future for their communities. This was undertaken by first conducting a thorough review and analysis of the

This dissertation explores the unique role schools play in contributing toward a sustainable future for their communities. This was undertaken by first conducting a thorough review and analysis of the literature on the current utilization of schools as agents of sustainable development, along with an evaluation of schools engaging in this model around the United States. Following this, a framework was developed to aid in the assessment of school-community engagements from the perspective of social change. Sustainability problem solving tools were synthesized for use by schools and community stakeholders, and were tested in the case study of this dissertation. This case study combined methods from the fields of sustainable development, transition management, and social change to guide two schools in their attempts to increase community sustainability through addressing a shared sustainability problem: childhood obesity. The case study facilitated the creation of a sustainable vision for the Phoenix Metropolitan Area without childhood obesity, as well as strategic actions plans for each school to utilize as they move forward on addressing this challenge.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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Safe-to-fail infrastructure for resilient cities under non-stationary climate

Description

Motivated by the need for cities to prepare and be resilient to unpredictable future weather conditions, this dissertation advances a novel infrastructure development theory of “safe-to-fail” to increase the adaptive

Motivated by the need for cities to prepare and be resilient to unpredictable future weather conditions, this dissertation advances a novel infrastructure development theory of “safe-to-fail” to increase the adaptive capacity of cities to climate change. Current infrastructure development is primarily reliant on identifying probable risks to engineered systems and making infrastructure reliable to maintain its function up to a designed system capacity. However, alterations happening in the earth system (e.g., atmosphere, oceans, land, and ice) and in human systems (e.g., greenhouse gas emission, population, land-use, technology, and natural resource use) are increasing the uncertainties in weather predictions and risk calculations and making it difficult for engineered infrastructure to maintain intended design thresholds in non-stationary future. This dissertation presents a new way to develop safe-to-fail infrastructure that departs from the current practice of risk calculation and is able to manage failure consequences when unpredicted risks overwhelm engineered systems.

This dissertation 1) defines infrastructure failure, refines existing safe-to-fail theory, and compares decision considerations for safe-to-fail vs. fail-safe infrastructure development under non-stationary climate; 2) suggests an approach to integrate the estimation of infrastructure failure impacts with extreme weather risks; 3) provides a decision tool to implement resilience strategies into safe-to-fail infrastructure development; and, 4) recognizes diverse perspectives for adopting safe-to-fail theory into practice in various decision contexts.

Overall, this dissertation advances safe-to-fail theory to help guide climate adaptation decisions that consider infrastructure failure and their consequences. The results of this dissertation demonstrate an emerging need for stakeholders, including policy makers, planners, engineers, and community members, to understand an impending “infrastructure trolley problem”, where the adaptive capacity of some regions is improved at the expense of others. Safe-to-fail further engages stakeholders to bring their knowledge into the prioritization of various failure costs based on their institutional, regional, financial, and social capacity to withstand failures. This approach connects to sustainability, where city practitioners deliberately think of and include the future cost of social, environmental and economic attributes in planning and decision-making.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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Adaptive capacity of the water management systems of two medieval Khmer cities, Angkor and Koh Ker

Description

Understanding the resilience of water management systems is critical for the continued existence and growth of communities today, in urban and rural contexts alike. In recent years, many studies have

Understanding the resilience of water management systems is critical for the continued existence and growth of communities today, in urban and rural contexts alike. In recent years, many studies have evaluated long-term human-environmental interactions related to water management across the world, highlighting both resilient systems and those that eventually succumb to their vulnerabilities. To understand the multitude of factors impacting resilience, scholars often use the concept of adaptive capacity. Adaptive capacity is the ability of actors in a system to make adaptations in anticipation of and in response to change to minimize potential negative impacts.

In this three-paper dissertation, I evaluate the adaptive capacity of the water management systems of two medieval Khmer cities, located in present-day Cambodia, over the course of centuries. Angkor was the capital of the Khmer Empire for over 600 years (9 th -15 th centuries CE), except for one brief period when the capital was relocated to Koh Ker (921 – 944 CE). These cities both have massive water management systems that provide a comparative context for studying resilience; while Angkor thrived for hundreds of years, Koh Ker was occupied as the capital of the empire for a relatively short period. In the first paper, I trace the chronological and spatial development of two types of settlement patterns (epicenters and lower-density temple-reservoir settlement units) at Angkor in relation to state-sponsored hydraulic infrastructure. In the second and third papers, I conduct a diachronic analysis using empirical data for the adaptive capacity of the water management systems at both cities. The results suggest that adaptive capacity is useful for identifying causal factors in the resilience and failures of systems over the long term. The case studies also demonstrate the importance and warn of the danger of large centralized water management features.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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Sustainable urban development and the political economy of growth in Phoenix, Arizona

Description

Sustainable development in an American context implies an ongoing shift from quantitative growth in energy, resource, and land use to the qualitative development of social-ecological systems, human capital, and dense,

Sustainable development in an American context implies an ongoing shift from quantitative growth in energy, resource, and land use to the qualitative development of social-ecological systems, human capital, and dense, vibrant built environments. Sustainable urban development theory emphasizes locally and bioregionally emplaced economic development where the relationships between people, localities, products, and capital are tangible to and controllable by local stakeholders. Critical theory provides a mature understanding of the political economy of land development in capitalist economies, representing a crucial bridge between urban sustainability's infill development goals and the contemporary realities of the development industry. Since its inception, Phoenix, Arizona has exemplified the quantitative growth paradigm, and recurring instances of land speculation, non-local capital investment, and growth-based public policy have stymied local, tangible control over development from Phoenix's territorial history to modern attempts at downtown revitalization. Utilizing property ownership and sales data as well as interviews with development industry stakeholders, the political economy of infill land development in downtown Phoenix during the mid-2000s boom-and-bust cycle is analyzed. Data indicate that non-local property ownership has risen significantly over the past 20 years and rent-seeking land speculation has been a significant barrier to infill development. Many speculative strategies monopolize the publicly created value inherent in zoning entitlements, tax incentives and property assessment, indicating that political and policy reforms targeted at a variety of governance levels are crucial for achieving the sustainable development of urban land. Policy solutions include reforming the interconnected system of property sales, value assessment, and taxation to emphasize property use values; replacing existing tax incentives with tax increment financing and community development benefit agreements; regulating vacant land ownership and deed transfers; and encouraging innovative private development and tenure models like generative construction and community land trusts.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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Extreme Heat and Urban Densification in Downtown Tempe

Description

This study aims to examine the relationship between urban densification and pedestrian thermal comfort at different times of the year, and to understand how this can impact patterns of activity

This study aims to examine the relationship between urban densification and pedestrian thermal comfort at different times of the year, and to understand how this can impact patterns of activity in downtown areas. The focus of the research is on plazas in the urban core of downtown Tempe, given their importance to the pedestrian landscape. With that in mind, the research question for the study is: how does the microclimate of a densifying urban core affect thermal comfort in plazas at different times of the year? Based on the data, I argue that plazas in downtown Tempe are not maximally predisposed to pedestrian thermal comfort in the summer or the fall. Thus, the proposed intervention to improve thermal comfort in downtown Tempe’s plazas is the implementation of decision support tools focused on education, community engagement, and thoughtful building designs for heat safety.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020-05