2009 Student Posters

Land use/land cover dynamics: a case study from Palestinian West Bank

Ahmed Alnoubani

Summary (pdf), Poster (pdf)

Land use/land cover changes (LULCC) have a direct impact on wildlife habitat, soil, water supply and vegetation. They determine, in part, the vulnerability of both places and people to climatic, economic, or sociopolitical perturbations. A better understanding of the dynamics of LULCC and their spatial and temporal distribution is crucial to a rational planning for natural resources and the study of environmental changes at all scales. Identifying the drivers of LULCC and using them for predicting these changes might serve as a warning system to potential hazards such as erosion, habitat destruction, floods and water pollution.

Investigating the dynamics of land use land cover in areas of conflict such as the West Bank requires deep understanding not just for the biophysical and socioeconomic drivers, but political situation as well. West Bank is an area of unique complex geopolitical situation where national sovereignty over land is contested by the occupation that lead to high level of uncertainty for future LULCC. Furthermore, the impact of drivers is not just variable over time and scale, but it is also variable by areas of jurisdiction determined by peace negotiations between Israel and Palestinians. LULCC in the West Bank is a function of several factors including elevation, slope, soil, rainfall, population density, jurisdiction areas, proximity to borders and proximity to both Palestinian communities and Israeli settlements. The importance of the study comes from studying LULC dynamics and drivers within a context of contradictory land use policies that serve conflicting national interests that fight over the same scarce land resources.

Using multinomial logistic regression models, I will investigate and identify the major drivers of LULCC over the whole area of the West Bank. The study seeks, as well, to model the significant drivers to yield insights regarding the near future of the spatial pattern of LULCC. Furthermore, the patterns of LULCC during the period of study (1994-2003) will be clarified and conclusions will be drawn about the level and spatial distribution of these changes. To fulfill the aims of the study, satellite images of two different periods will be analyzed to detect LULCC changes before and after the establishment of Palestine Authority. Modeling the relations between these changes and their drivers as well as the prediction process will be developed within GIS framework.

Assessing the relationship between urban development patterns and Oregon White Oak dispersal processes at multiple landscape scales

Julia Michalak

Summary (pdf), Poster (pdf)

At large spatial scales, there is a significant positive correlation between species richness and rapid residential and commercial development (Abbitt et al. 2000, Ricketts and Imhoff 2003, Pautasso et al 2007). As a result, conservation in these areas is essential in order to protect global biodiversity. Conservationists increasingly advocate for the implementation of land use policies that protect and enhance ecological function (Beatley 2000, Theobald et al 2000, Dale et al. 2000). Based on the theories of Island Biogeography and Metapopulation dynamics, biologists recommend that land use planners protect areas that are large, have lower edge to interior ratios, and are functionally connected (Duerksen and Elliot 1997, Dale et al. 2000). However, landscape planners also need information about how to manage existing protected areas and the surrounding urban landscape to minimize harmful interactions and maintain beneficial ecosystem services.

Urban development is often assumed to act as a barrier to dispersal (Root and Schneider 2006). If true, the impacts of urbanization on seed dispersal may have particularly negative consequences for plant community structure and genetic diversity. This is because in the absence of urbanization, plant recruitment and survival are higher when seeds are dispersed farther from the parent tree (Levin et al. 2003).

My proposed research investigates the relationship between landscape patterns and seed dispersal processes in Garry Oak (Quercus garryana) at multiple spatial scales. Oak woodlands offer an ideal study system for this question. They are located in the rapidly urbanizing lowlands of coastal regions, and are a designated priority habitat in Washington State due to their increasing rarity and the importance of acorns as food resources for rare and threatened wildlife species (Larsen and Morgan 1998). Oak acorns are large, relatively easily tracked, and animal dispersed. In Western Washington, dispersal species include the federally listed Western Gray Squirrel (WGS), Eastern Gray Squirrel (EGS), and Steller’s Jay (Larsen and Morgan 1998). These dispersers vary in their mobility (bird vs. mammal) and preferences for utilizing urban landscapes. The variability in tolerance for urban development and dispersal distance potential of these dispersal agents suggests that dispersal patterns will vary depending on the extent of urbanization in the landscape.

I have two overarching hypotheses: 1) landscape patterns correlate significantly with the composition (presence/ absence and abundance) of animal species that disperse oak acorns and 2) changes in the composition and dispersal behavior correlates with changes in acorn dispersal processes (seed removal rates and dispersal distances). I plan to test these hypotheses by relating landscape variables collected in the field (acorn abundance, canopy cover) and remotely (landcover composition and configuration, land use, road density) to four dependent variables: 1) dispersal species presence/absence, 2) dispersal species abundance, 3) acorn removal rates, and 4) average acorn dispersal distance. I plan to define the landscape at two spatial scales: 1 km and 0.5 km buffer surrounding the focal oak fragment. I further hypothesize that Steller’s Jays will respond to landscape variables at the 1 km scale while squirrels will respond to landscape variables at the 0.5 km scale.

BEST MoveS: Built Environment Space-Time Movement Study

Phil Hurvitz*, J. Lester†, A. Moudon*, G. Borriello†

Poster (pdf)

The relationship between built environment and behavior is a current focus in a number of disciplines, ranging from epidemiology and public health to transportation planning to ubiquitous computing. While the importance of understanding this relationship has been clearly identified, objective empirical measurement and modeling frameworks for operationalizing the study of these relationships are relatively few. A methodology for measuring movement, and activity, and location in real space-time has been developed and tested by an interdisciplinary team in Urban Design & Planning and Computer Science & Engineering. Preliminary data collection, standardization, and cleaning has been completed for a pilot study of 53 individuals over a one-week interval. The space-time measurement framework provides data that will be used to investigate patterns of movement as they relate to built environment features.

* CBE (UrbDP)

Engineering the Chinese City and its Adjustments: The Chinese Planning in Postmodernism

Yue (Ray) Gong

Summary (pdf), Poster (pdf)

This paper argues that the theories and thoughts in planning the Chinese city are categorized into the theory of engineering such as public administration and institutional economics, which were utilized by Marxism planning theory in history and adjusted in current planning. Within the reform era, the modern belief of engineering society is still imbedded into the strong control of governments, but has to adjust and reconcile to the capitalistic market and emerging civic power in postmodernism. The case study, the woman defied the developer’s demolition of her house in Chongqing in 2007, provides the fact for the analysis of Chinese planning theory in pre-reform and the current era. Through this case study and the analysis of engineering thinking imbedded in the pre-reform heavy industrial development, the historic Marxism planning theory is drawn and tied onto the contemporary socialism planning and theories which evolve in a different path from western planning theories such as advocacy planning and communicative planning. Within the domain of postmodernism, the structure of the socialism planning is compressed by the process of decentralization, but the belief of social engineering is still imbedded inside the structure. Pragmatism, power and networking play the role of moderators and mediators for planning cities with the coalition of engineering thinking. The engineering contemporary Chinese cities through Marxism planning theory and its adjustments are concluded to be the explanation of these Chinese urban phenomena: triumph and depression, harmony and separation, and efficiency and inequity.