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University of Massachusetts Amherst

Masters Theses

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Articles 1 - 15 of 15

Full-Text Articles in Urban Studies and Planning

Envisioning Pathways Toward Transformative Food Systems Change: Understanding The Role Of Multi-Stakeholder Engagement At The Culinary And Nutrition Center In Springfield, Ma, Kristen Whitmore Jan 2019

Envisioning Pathways Toward Transformative Food Systems Change: Understanding The Role Of Multi-Stakeholder Engagement At The Culinary And Nutrition Center In Springfield, Ma, Kristen Whitmore

Masters Theses

The alternative food movement claims varied goals such as building environmental sustainability, strengthening local economies, and promoting health equity, yet critics argue that the movement’s transformative potential is threatened by a lack of shared vision. Literature suggests that community-based multi-stakeholder coalitions are a useful tool for building consensus around food systems futures. But what kinds of futures? Home Grown Springfield is a school food initiative aimed at reducing hunger in Springfield, MA by serving healthy, homemade, and locally-sourced meals via the Culinary and Nutrition Center, a brand-new full-service commercial kitchen and storage facility. This qualitative case study examines the ...


Urban Biodiversity Experience And Exposure: Intervention And Inequality At The Local And Global Scale, Evan Kuras Jan 2019

Urban Biodiversity Experience And Exposure: Intervention And Inequality At The Local And Global Scale, Evan Kuras

Masters Theses

As cities expand globally, researchers must clarify how human activities and institutions shape biodiversity and conversely, how ecological processes shape human outcomes. Two features of contemporary cities motivate this thesis. First, urban residents, and especially children, are spending less time in nature and consequently, miss out on healthy and formative experiences with biodiversity. Second, residents with the least access to biodiversity tend to be those with the lowest socioeconomic status (SES). Together, these patterns convey a multi-layered environmental injustice: not only might urbanites become increasingly estranged from biodiversity, disinterested from its conservation, and disconnected from its benefits, but these outcomes ...


Ecological Considerations And Application Of Urban Tree Selection In Massachusetts, Ashley Mcelhinney Jan 2019

Ecological Considerations And Application Of Urban Tree Selection In Massachusetts, Ashley Mcelhinney

Masters Theses

Trees provide countless environmental, economic, and societal benefits to the urban environment, and may become increasingly important to maintaining environmental quality and human well-being in the face of increasing urbanization and climate change. However, trees in these urban areas are rapidly diminishing across the United States. Much of this loss can be prevented with proper planning and management, focused on selecting tree species that are both well-suited to the area’s growing conditions and able to survive the many stress factors in an urban setting. Choosing which tree species to plant in Massachusetts is especially challenging considering the lack of ...


"First Nations First": Understanding The Status Of Aboriginal Involvement In British Columbia's Community Forests, Sean O'Donnell Jan 2018

"First Nations First": Understanding The Status Of Aboriginal Involvement In British Columbia's Community Forests, Sean O'Donnell

Masters Theses

In 2014, the legal landscape shifted in British Columbia with the unanimous Supreme Court decision, Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia. The case resulted in a recognition of Aboriginal title, and real and substantial Aboriginal authority over large tracts of land in the province. According to legal analysts, the most significant element is the requirement for stronger consultation with First Nations and – in many cases – consent that needs to be pursued by the province’s resource extraction industries prior to development. British Columbia’s community forest sector is unlikely to be immune to this shift. A baseline for First Nations ...


Assessing Adaptive Capacity Of Pioneer Valley Farmers, Angelica Carey Jan 2018

Assessing Adaptive Capacity Of Pioneer Valley Farmers, Angelica Carey

Masters Theses

This thesis explores Pioneer Valley farmers and their agricultural practices, knowledge and resources as they relate to climate change. Adaptive capacity is used throughout scientific literature, and often includes numerous components; for this thesis the measurement of farmers’ adaptive capacity would be assessed according to only three components: knowledge, past experiences and use of resources. Climate change and its impacts on agriculture have been studied but what is unclear is how prepared farmers are to deal with these impacts. Through literature review, survey development and recorded interviews, data was then analyzed both for quantitative and qualitative results to understand farmer ...


Celebrating The Polish Immigrant Community: Strengthening Cultural Bonds And Representation In Westfield, Ma, Alexandra Smialek Jan 2017

Celebrating The Polish Immigrant Community: Strengthening Cultural Bonds And Representation In Westfield, Ma, Alexandra Smialek

Masters Theses

Immigrant communities are a part of every city and town in the United States. Sentiments towards immigrants, however, continue to vary, but in recent years, anti-immigrant sentiments have become more widely encountered, especially because of the recent presidential election (Southern Poverty Law Center, 2016). A lack of knowledge and representation of diverse cultures, along with recurring negative rhetoric, may influence how immigrant populations are received. This report argues that acknowledging culture and heritage can strengthen cultural bonds, create and celebrate a unique city identity, and improve cultural representation. The City of Westfield, Massachusetts, located in Hampden County, will be studied ...


An Incremental Intervention In Jakarta: An Empowering Infrastructural Approach For Upgrading Informal Settlements, Christopher H. Counihan Jan 2017

An Incremental Intervention In Jakarta: An Empowering Infrastructural Approach For Upgrading Informal Settlements, Christopher H. Counihan

Masters Theses

Incrementalism is a growing movement within multiple design disciplines that approaches design with sustainable, social, and resilient aims structured around participatory, infrastructural, and phased approaches to design. Carefully considered structural and independent infrastructural frameworks allow infill and accretion according to the demands and needs of individuals and communities. This paper outlines the theories, case studies, and conditions driving incrementalism. My research has informed my project proposal for an incremental upgrade of a slum located in Jakarta using a phased, soft infrastructural, resident facilitated upgrade and development strategy creating new housing units, productive landscapes, and urban form. Incremental development will foster ...


The Use Of Public Plazas In China And The United States: Measuring The Differences Using Direct Observation In Boston And Chongqing, Maozhu Mao Jan 2017

The Use Of Public Plazas In China And The United States: Measuring The Differences Using Direct Observation In Boston And Chongqing, Maozhu Mao

Masters Theses

China’s development during the last several decades has happened at an amazing speed, and public plazas in China have changed considerably. For example, public dancing has become a very popular activity in most public plazas, and many more people than before are using these new plazas. However, some plazas are less popular than others. Therefore it is important to know what are the elements that affect people’s use of China’s public plazas? In the United States, William H. Whyte’s research proposed seven elements in public space that affect people. This study tried to answer the following ...


Thinking In Circles: A Systems Theory Approach To Public Participation In Planning, Stephen Meno Jan 2016

Thinking In Circles: A Systems Theory Approach To Public Participation In Planning, Stephen Meno

Masters Theses

In the field of planning, there is widespread consensus that the mechanisms in which most planners use to engage with the public are ineffective and exclusive. Although there has been much work done on the techniques planners can adopt to reach out to underrepresented segments of the community, few municipalities have adopted them. This thesis seeks to advance the conversation on public participation beyond the mechanisms and into a discussion of why only certain communities are implementing these more progressive, efficient, effective, and equitable measures. By depicting how public participation functions as a system of interconnected paths and feedback loops ...


Planning [And] The Sanitary City: Understanding Implications Of Community-Based Ecological Sanitation Reforms In The U.S., Catherine K. Bryars Jan 2016

Planning [And] The Sanitary City: Understanding Implications Of Community-Based Ecological Sanitation Reforms In The U.S., Catherine K. Bryars

Masters Theses

Though most commonly regarded as a revolutionary public health invention, the introduction of conventional wastewater sanitation systems has a mixed legacy in the U.S. A growing body of research links sewage-based sanitation systems with nationwide ecosystem degradation and an unsustainable dependence on vast inputs of materials and resources. In addition to contributing to chronic problems across the country, today these wastewater infrastructures are in various states of disrepair. The EPA estimates that at least $270 billion must be invested in coming years to prevent massive sanitary failures, but municipalities are increasingly unable to fund these expensive (re)investments in ...


Developing An Ecological Sanitation Transect, Ian Kolesinskas Jan 2016

Developing An Ecological Sanitation Transect, Ian Kolesinskas

Masters Theses

A sanitation problem exists for people across the globe: basic human waste collection and treatment is inaccessible to much of the world’s population; and the status-quo gray infrastructure system of sanitation is unsustainable and unsuitable for widespread application. A paradigm shift is needed: this thesis makes the case for developing an Ecological Sanitation Transect to bring back the closed loop that connects consumption, waste excretion, sanitation, and food production. The Ecological Sanitation Transect is a synthesis of ecological sanitation, where human excreta is reused, and the urban transect, where development density is conceptualized along a continuum from rural to ...


Homeowner Willingness To Adopt Low-Impact Development Practices In The Ipswich River Watershed: Opportunities And Barriers, Johanna R. Stacy Jan 2015

Homeowner Willingness To Adopt Low-Impact Development Practices In The Ipswich River Watershed: Opportunities And Barriers, Johanna R. Stacy

Masters Theses

The Ipswich River watershed has experienced increasing urbanization in recent years. The river, which supplies water to over 300,000 residents (twice the watershed’s population), was considered one of the 10 Most Endangered Rivers in the U.S. in 2003 due to seasonal low-flow and no-flow events. Seasonal outdoor water restrictions have curbed residential demand; however, impervious surfaces and municipal sewer systems direct much of the runoff outside the watershed. Low-impact development (LID) practices, specifically those that infiltrate runoff, have the potential to keep more water in the watershed, and increase baseflows in the river.

This study seeks to ...


Urban Redevelopment Through City-University Partnerships: Envisioning An Education District In Springfield, Massachusetts, Mohammed Abdelaal Jan 2015

Urban Redevelopment Through City-University Partnerships: Envisioning An Education District In Springfield, Massachusetts, Mohammed Abdelaal

Masters Theses

This thesis examines the impact of planning a potential new urban university campus in Springfield, Massachusetts on the city’s long term goals for urban revitalization. By exploring a collaborative and community-oriented process for higher-educational development, I propose a dynamic model that could work as a catalyst for urban revitalization.

The study will focus on the following: developing partnerships between the city of Springfield (government, community, local groups) and major educational institutions (such as the University of Massachusetts system); identifying potential sites suitable for the anticipated urban/mixed-use campus or compound; and studying and analyzing the forces within the city ...


Urban Agriculture And Ecosystem Services: A Typology And Toolkit For Planners, Kathleen Doherty Jan 2015

Urban Agriculture And Ecosystem Services: A Typology And Toolkit For Planners, Kathleen Doherty

Masters Theses

This thesis makes the connection between urban agriculture and a specific suite of ecosystem services and lays out a typology and toolkit for planners to take advantage of these ecosystem services. The services investigated here are: food production, water management, soil health, biodiversity, climate mitigation, and community development benefits. Research from a variety of fields was aggregated and synthesized to prove that urban agriculture can be beneficial for human as well as environmental health.

A set of urban agriculture typologies was generated to illustrate best practices to maximize a particular set of ecosystem services. The typologies are: production farm, stormwater ...


Planning For Balanced Growth And Balanced Budgets: Exploring A Mixed Methods Framework To Assess Urban Infill Capacity And Value In Context, Jennifer Stromsten Jan 2014

Planning For Balanced Growth And Balanced Budgets: Exploring A Mixed Methods Framework To Assess Urban Infill Capacity And Value In Context, Jennifer Stromsten

Masters Theses

Established communities pursue revitalization to transform struggling downtowns into vibrant hubs and walkable neighborhoods. Vacant and underused parcels can help communities grow sustainably by using excess capacity in existing infrastructure. However, many communities experience limited urban infill activity due to persistent bias favoring low-density development at the community’s edges. In small communities perceptions and processes can favor low-density growth. Infill development can be complicated due to site conditions and neighborhood context, yet planners work with ad hoc techniques and limited staff time. There is a need for efficient ways to identify suitable sites and generate information to use for ...