HERO: Human-Environment Regional Observatory

Vulnerability Assessment

This stream explores interactions among suburbanization, climate change, and land & water policies, at scales of the household, town, and region. We will assess how these factors hinder or enhance the ability of communities to reduce their vulnerabilities to water scarcity in the face of continued suburbanization and changes in precipitation. This stream is a social science research project that draws heavily from ecological science and geographic information science, while it works closely with the "Dynamic Land Change Modeling" stream. This team calls itself LLAWMAS for Land, Lawn, And Water Management AnalysiS. In Summer 2010, LAAWMAS collected and analyzed data using structured mail surveys, semi-structured interviews, and document analysis. In Summer 2011, this team will seek to understand the feedbacks among public water management, land use, regulations, and patterns of household lawn care in suburban Boston. These activities are designed to explain some of the causes and consequences of residential land management decisions. Results are being integrated into a children's book that is designed to educate and entertain, and into the Dynamic Land Change Modeling stream.

Research Products

Research Posters
Hill, T. and Polsky, C., 2007. Development and drought in suburbia: A mixed methods rapid assessment of vulnerability to drought in rainy Massachusetts. Environmental Hazards: Human and Policy Dimensions, 7: 291-301.
"Drought in the Damp Northeast" Editorial Submission to the Massachusetts Eagle Tribune - Spring 2006 ([PDF])
Hill, T. and Polsky, C., 2005. Suburbanization and Adaptation to the Effects of Suburban Drought in Rainy Central Massachusetts. Geographical Bulletin, 47(2): 85-100.
Mapping the American Dream
([PDF])
Rapid Assessment to Vulnerability as Drought [PDF]
A Mixed Method Approach to Explaining Suburban Drought [PDF]

Press Releases

Clark University receives $1.4 million grant for coastal zone research Groundwater in Massachusetts
Clark shares $1.4M grant to study two watersheds

Parker River's 'suburbanization' gets a closer look
NSF Awards 12 Grants for Research on Coupled Natural and Human Systems

Clark University students who wish to participate in the HERO REU Vulnerability stream should so designate on their application. Questions should be addressed to Professor Colin Polsky at cpolsky@clarku.edu or 508-421-3828.

Visit Professor Polsky's School of Geography Web site.