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  1. Abstract

    Cities need to take swift action to deal with the impacts of extreme climate events. The co-production of positive visions offers the potential to not only imagine but also intervene in guiding change toward more desirable urban futures. While participatory visioning continues to be used as a tool for urban planning, there needs to be a way of comparing and evaluating future visions so that they can inform decision-making. Traditional tools for comparison tend to favor quantitative modeling, which is limited in its ability to capture nuances or normative elements of visions. In this paper, we offer a qualitative method to assess the resilience, equity, and sustainability of future urban visions and demonstrate its use by applying it to 11 visions from Phoenix, AZ. The visions were co-produced at two different governance scales: five visions were created at the village (or borough) scale, and six visions were created at the regional (or metropolitan) scale. Our analysis reveals different emphases in the mechanisms present in the visions to advance resilience, sustainability, and equity. In particular, we note that regional future visions align with a green sustainability agenda, whereas village visions focus on social issues and emphasize equity-driven approaches. The visionsmore »have implications for future trajectories, and the priorities that manifest at the two scales speak of the political nature of visioning and the need to explore how these processes may interact in complementary, synergistic, or antagonistic ways.

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  2. Abstract

    Our urban systems and their underlying sub-systems are designed to deliver only a narrow set of human-centered services, with little or no accounting or understanding of how actions undercut the resilience of social-ecological-technological systems (SETS). Embracing a SETS resilience perspective creates opportunities for novel approaches to adaptation and transformation in complex environments. We: i) frame urban systems through a perspective shift from control to entanglement, ii) position SETS thinking as novel sensemaking to create repertoires of responses commensurate with environmental complexity (i.e., requisite complexity), and iii) describe modes of SETS sensemaking for urban system structures and functions as basic tenets to build requisite complexity. SETS sensemaking is an undertaking to reflexively bring sustained adaptation, anticipatory futures, loose-fit design, and co-governance into organizational decision-making and to help reimagine institutional structures and processes as entangled SETS.

  3. Introduction Integrated social and ecological processes shape urban plant communities, but the temporal dynamics and potential for change in these managed communities have rarely been explored. In residential yards, which cover about 40% of urban land area, individuals make decisions that control vegetation outcomes. These decisions may lead to relatively static plant composition and structure, as residents seek to expend little effort to maintain stable landscapes. Alternatively, residents may actively modify plant communities to meet their preferences or address perceived problems, or they may passively allow them to change. In this research, we ask, how and to what extent does residential yard vegetation change over time? Methods We conducted co-located ecological surveys of yards (in 2008, 2018, and 2019) and social surveys of residents (in 2018) in four diverse neighborhoods of Phoenix, Arizona. Results 94% of residents had made some changes to their front or back yards since moving in. On average, about 60% of woody vegetation per yard changed between 2008 and 2018, though the number of species present did not differ significantly. In comparison, about 30% of woody vegetation changed in native Sonoran Desert reference areas over 10 years. In yards, about 15% of woody vegetation changed on averagemore »in a single year, with up to 90% change in some yards. Greater turnover was observed for homes that were sold, indicating a “pulse” of management. Additionally, we observed greater vegetation turnover in the two older, lawn-dominated neighborhoods surveyed despite differences in neighborhood socioeconomic factors. Discussion These results indicate that residential plant communities are dynamic over time. Neighborhood age and other characteristics may be important drivers of change, while socioeconomic status neither promotes nor inhibits change at the neighborhood scale. Our findings highlight an opportunity for management interventions, wherein residents may be open to making conservation-friendly changes if they are already altering the composition of their yards.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 15, 2023
  4. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how the accessibility of greenspace can shift in response to social-ecological disturbance, and generated questions as to how changing dimensions of accessibility affect the ecosystem services of greenspace, such as improved subjective well-being. Amidst the growing consensus of the important role of greenspace in improving and maintaining well-being through times of duress, we examine how access to greenspace is affecting subjective well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. Both the relationship of greenspace to subjective well-being and the barriers to greenspace access are well-established for normal conditions. Much remains to be known, however, about how barriers to access and the effect of greenspace on subjective well-being shift in response to periods of social duress, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. Using data from surveys and interviews conducted with 1,200 university students in the United States during the spring of 2020, we assess the effect of going outdoors on subjective well-being, commonly experienced barriers to going outside, and how these barriers in turn affected subjective well-being. We find that time spent outside, particularly in greenspace, correlates with higher levels of subjective well-being, and that concern over COVID-19 risk and transmission negatively affects this relationship both in reducing timemore »spent outdoors and the subjective well-being benefits. We also find that type of greenspace (public vs. private) does not have a significant effect on subjective well-being, that while those in areas with lower population density have significantly higher subjective well-being when outdoors, all participants experience a statistically equal benefit to subjective well-being by going outside. Our findings suggest how understanding the ways dimensions of accessibility shift in response to times of social duress can aid public health messaging, the design and management of greenspace, and environmental justice efforts to support the use of greenspace in improving and maintaining subjective well-being during future crisis events.« less