Matching Items (4)

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Whiskey is for drinking - water is for fighting over: population growth, infrastructure change, and conservation policy as drivers of residential water demand

Description

As urban populations grow, water managers are becoming increasingly concerned about water scarcity. Water managers once relied on developing new sources of water supply to manage scarcity but economically feasible sources of unclaimed water are now rare, leading to an

As urban populations grow, water managers are becoming increasingly concerned about water scarcity. Water managers once relied on developing new sources of water supply to manage scarcity but economically feasible sources of unclaimed water are now rare, leading to an increased interest in demand side management. Water managers in Las Vegas, Nevada have developed innovative demand side management strategies due to the cities rapid urbanization and limited water supply. Three questions are addressed. First, in the developed areas of the Las Vegas Valley Water District service areas, how did vegetation area change? To quantify changes in vegetation area, the Matched Filter Vegetation Index (MFVI) is developed from Mixture Tuned Match Filtering estimates of vegetation area calibrated against vegetation area estimates from high-resolution aerial photography. In the established city core, there was a small but significant decline in vegetation area. Second, how much of the observed decline in per capita consumption can be explained by Las Vegas land cover and physical infrastructure change that resulted from extensive new construction and new use of water conserving technology, and how much can be attributed to water conservation policy choices? A regression analysis is performed, followed by an analysis of three counter-factual scenarios to decompose reductions in household water into its constituent parts. The largest citywide drivers of change in water consumption were increased water efficiency associated with new construction and rapid population growth. In the established urban core, the most significant driver was declining vegetation area. Third, water savings generated by a conservation program that provides incentives for homeowners to convert grass into desert landscaping are estimated. In the city core, 82 gallons of water are saved in June for each square meter of landscape converted in the first year after conversion, but the savings attenuate to 33 gallons per meter converted as the landscape ages. Voluntary landscape conversion programs can generate substantial water savings. The most significant result is that the most effective way to ensure long term, sustainable reductions in water consumption in a growing city without changing water prices is to support the construction of water efficient infrastructure.

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Created

Date Created
2014

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A century of land-use change in metropolitan Phoenix

Description

The Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area has sustained one of the United States' fastest growth rates for nearly a century. Supported by a mild climate and cheap, available land, the magnitude of regional land development contrasts with heady concerns over

The Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area has sustained one of the United States' fastest growth rates for nearly a century. Supported by a mild climate and cheap, available land, the magnitude of regional land development contrasts with heady concerns over energy use, environmental sensitivity, and land fragmentation. This dissertation uses four empirical research studies to investigate the historic, geographic microfoundations of the region's oft-maligned urban morphology and the drivers of land development behind it. First, urban land use patterns are linked to historical development processes by adapting a variety of spatial measures commonly used in land cover studies. The timing of development - particularly the global financial crisis of the late 2000s, and the impact of varying market forces is examined using econometric analyses of land development drivers. This pluralistic approach emphasizes the importance of local geographic knowledge and history to empirical study of urban social science while stressing the importance of temporal effects. Evidence is found that while recent asset market changes impact local land development outcomes, preferences for place may be changing too. Even still, present-day neighborhoods are heavily conditioned by the market and institutional conditions of the historical period during which they developed, while the hegemony of low-cost housing on the urban fringe remains.

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Created

Date Created
2015

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Understanding governance dynamics in a social-ecological system: Chitwan community forests and the invasive mile-a-minute weed

Description

Employing an interdisciplinary approach with a grounding in new institutional economics, this dissertation investigates how institutions, as shared rules, norms, and strategies, mediate social-ecological outcomes in a system exposed to a novel threat in the form of a rapidly growing

Employing an interdisciplinary approach with a grounding in new institutional economics, this dissertation investigates how institutions, as shared rules, norms, and strategies, mediate social-ecological outcomes in a system exposed to a novel threat in the form of a rapidly growing and especially destructive invasive plant, Mikania micrantha (Mikania). I explore whether and how communities (largely part of community forest user groups in the buffer zone of Chitwan National Park in Chitwan, Nepal) collectively act in the face of Mikania invasion. Collective action is vital to successful natural resource governance in a variety of contexts and systems globally. Understanding collective action and the role of institutions is especially important in the face of continued and amplifying global environmental changes impacting social-ecological systems, such as climate change and invasive species. Contributing to efforts to bolster knowledge of the role of collective action and institutions in social-ecological systems, this research first establishes that community forest governance and institutional arrangements are heterogeneous. I subsequently utilize content and institutional analyses to identify and address themes and norms related to Mikania management. The content analysis contributes an empirical study of the influence of trust in collective natural resource management efforts. Using two complementary econometric analyses of survey data from 1235 households, I additionally assess equity in access to community forest resources, an understudied area in the institutional literature, and the factors affecting collective action related to Mikania removal. Finally, an agent-based model of institutional change facilitates the comparison of two perspectives, rational choice and cultural diffusion, of how shared norms and strategies for Mikania management change over time, providing insight into institutional change generally. Results highlight the importance of trust and understanding the de facto, or on-the-ground institutions; the influence of perception on collective action; that integrating equity into institutional analyses may strengthen sustainable resource management efforts; and that rational choice is an unlikely mechanism of institutional change. The mixed-methods approach contributes to a more comprehensive understanding of the role of institutions and collective action in invasive species management and broadly to the scientific understanding of the role of institutions in mediating global environmental changes.

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Created

Date Created
2016

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Designing and implementing ecological monitoring of aridland urban ecological infrastructure (UEI): a case-study of design process and outcomes

Description

Cities are increasingly using nature-based approaches to address urban sustainability challenges. These solutions leverage the ecological processes associated with existing or newly constructed Urban Ecological Infrastructure (UEI) to address issues through ecosystem services (e.g. stormwater retention or treatment). The growing

Cities are increasingly using nature-based approaches to address urban sustainability challenges. These solutions leverage the ecological processes associated with existing or newly constructed Urban Ecological Infrastructure (UEI) to address issues through ecosystem services (e.g. stormwater retention or treatment). The growing use of UEI to address urban sustainability challenges can bring together teams of urban researchers and practitioners to co-produce UEI design, monitoring and maintenance. However, this co-production process received little attention in the literature, and has not been studied in the Phoenix Metro Area.

I examined several components of a co-produced design process and related project outcomes associated with a small-scale UEI project – bioswales installed at the Arizona State University (ASU) Orange Mall and Student Pavilion in Tempe, AZ. Specifically, I explored the social design process and ecohydrological and biogeochemical outcomes associated with development of an ecohydrological monitoring protocol for assessing post-construction landscape performance of this site. The monitoring protocol design process was documented using participant observation of collaborative project meetings, and semi-structured interviews with key researchers and practitioners. Throughout this process, I worked together with researchers and practitioners to co-produced a suite of ecohydrological metrics to monitor the performance of the bioswales (UEI) constructed at Orange Mall, with an emphasis on understanding stormwater dynamics. I then installed and operated monitoring equipment from Summer 2018 to Spring 2019 to generate data that can be used to assess system performance with respect to the co-identified performance metrics.

The co-production experience resulted in observable change in attitudes both at the individual and institutional level with regards to the integration and use of urban ecological research to assess and improve UEI design. My ecological monitoring demonstrated that system performance met design goals with regards to stormwater capture, and water quality data suggest the system’s current design has some capacity for stormwater treatment. These data and results are being used by practitioners at ASU and their related design partners to inform future design and management of UEI across the ASU campus. More broadly, this research will provide insights into improving the monitoring, evaluation, and performance efficacy associated with collaborative stormwater UEI projects, independent of scale, in arid cities.

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Created

Date Created
2019