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IDCE Collaborative Research
Statewide affordable housing: rebuilding for the future. Foreclosed property acquisition model feasibility analysis
Sarah Dupere Ostro
IDCE/ GSOM • Advisors: Dr. Mark Tigan and Dr. Laura Graves
Statewide Affordable Housing (SAH) is a small affordable housing developer in Rhode Island. Faced with the retirement of their long-time executive director, SAH's board sought to reinvigorate the organization through the use of a new acquisition model, whereby foreclosed properties (or Other Real Estate Owned, OREO or REO) would be acquired for rehabilitation via bank donation. This Master's Paper is a feasibility analysis of the board's proposed model, and uses market research, needs identification and financial modeling to determine that, with sufficient leverage of existing board relationships, acquisition of REO properties via donation could be a viable method for SAH.
Organics management at Sodexo: case study at Clark University Dining Services
IDCE/ GSOM • Advisors: Dr. Halina Brown and Dr. Laura Graves
In a regulatory atmosphere which increasingly emphasizes source reduc tion and diversion from disposal, operators of college and university food service establishments experience inexorability linked issues of business and environment. This case study analyzes the extent and distribution of the tangible and intangible economic costs and benefits of Clark University's existing organics management program. Results of this case study confirm that the contractor, Sodexo at Clark Dining Services, and the client, Clark University, continue to economically benefit from the successful execution of the organics management program. The win-win scenario demonstrates potential in the institutional food service industry for organics management programs to positively impact stakeholders' bottom lines while reducing negative environmental impacts resulting from the disposal and incineration of organic waste.
Growing the Worcester local food system: a food hub analysis
IDCE/ GSOM• Advisor: Dr. Mark Tigan
The purpose of this project is to explore how a food hub can integrate food justice, workforce development and food technology in a way that enhances regional economic development. A food hub is a facility or organization that aggregates produce from small to mid-sized farms to assisting in marketing and distributions. It can also be utilized as a shared resource that enables farmers to access new markets, provide jobs and education on food justice.
The project will define what a food hub is and will provide a discussion of the programs and services that are commonly offered. It will look at the current food distribution system and show how a food hub can fulfill current deficiencies and correct some common problems. The large number of farms in central Massachusetts and the various community organizations in Worcester provide the perfect opportunity to create a food hub.
Social support as a buffer against the effects of maternal stress for Ghanaian women in central Massachusetts
IDCE • Advisors: Dr. Marianne Sarkis and Dr. Ellen Foley
The project on which this paper is based was motivated by an alarming increase in the last fifteen years in the infant mortality rate to African-born women in the United States. This paper discusses findings based on a year-long multi-sited ethnography investigating the relationship between perceived stress and social support at different stages of childbearing for Ghanaian women in Central Massachusetts. Interviews, participant observations and surveys were conducted with women in Ghana and the United States to compare their experiences and practices during pregnancy. The main finding suggest that while Ghanaian women experience stress at both locations, social support could serve as a buffer against the effects of stress during and after pregnancy.
A spatial-temporal analysis of the relationship between MODIS AOD and PM2.5 in Massachusetts
IDCE • Advisor: Dr. Jie Tian
This study intends to find the most effective spatial-temporal scale for correlating MODIS AOD with PM2.5 in Massachusetts. Both the satellite data and ground measurements are collected, sampled, and then paired based on location and time. A series of experiments are performed to test the sensitivity of the correlation to spatial and temporal aggregation and
to seek for the"optimal" scale in the context of AOD-based PM2. 5 predic tion. A GIS tool is developed to support the research by automating the data processing, collocation and analyses, and can be easily adopted by others to conduct research of similar kinds. The results showed that the MODIS AOD data acquired from summer 20IO in Massachusetts seemed to have higher agreement with ground-based measurement of PM2. 5 in the time interval of 19 hours and a spatial aggregation of inverse distance weighting interpolation.
Sustainable Solid Waste Management in Danang, Vietnam: 3R Approach Focusing on Community Participation
IDCE • Advisors: Dr. Timothy J. Downs and Dr. Verna DeLauer
Building a more sustainable society drives Danang to improve the current solid waste management (SWM) system. The 3R program that has been implemented successfully in several countries is considered a feasible solution for the city to resolve its existing solid waste-related pollution problems. Through examining Danang's current SWM system, this study delved into the demand and available resources for implementing the 3R initiative in a specific region. Additionally, this research sought to determine the level of public awareness and attitudes toward the city's current SWM and 3R programs. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 30 households in ward three, Cam Le district. The results indicated that most respondents were unsatisfied with particular elements of the SWM system. Respondents want the city to improve curbside containers, collection activities, waste fees, and street sweeping. The majority of participants thought that 3R is a good program and revealed their willingness to participate. The existing large fraction of compostable materials in the solid waste stream (76%) and the willing ness of 53% of respondents to compost at home are advantageous for designing policies encouraging household composting. The results also showed that 6o% of respondents favor implementing the "pay as you throw" program. The results provide policy makers, environmentalists, and authorities with essential information in designing educational programs and making improvements in SWM policies and technologies. These improvements assist Danang to develop more sustainably.
Automated map design research with the Cartography & Geovisualization Group at Oregon State University
IDCE • Advisors: Dr. Ogneva-Himmelberger and Dr. Bernhard Jenny (OSU)
This presentation encompasses two research projects focusing on map design and geovisualization conducted at Oregon State University during the summer of 2012. The first, entitled ''Automatic Generation of Pseudo-natural Maps," includes developments made in designing a cartographic style mimicking natural appearances commonly found in manually-created landscape panoramas and natural-color terrain representations. Furthermore, initial progress was made in automating the processing of spatial data and the design process, with the overall goal of providing this to the public as a new web map service. The second research project- ''Adaptive Composite Map Projections for Web Maps"- introduces an alternative set of map projections to users of web maps. Typically, web maps (e. g. Google Maps, Microsoft Bing Maps) are restrained to a single map projection, but each type of projection has unique advantages as well as drawbacks. This project seeks to offer an Internet browser-based platform that allows web maps to dynamically change their projection as the user changes zoom levels or pans their view of the map away from the Equator. A brief video demonstration will help illustrate how this technology currently operates.
The value of common lands ecosystem to local communities: an analysis with the application of the economic caluation approach in Jhadol block of Udaipur district, India
IDCE • Advisors: Dr. Timothy Downs and Dr. Samuel Rarick
In the dry land regions of India and around the world, the village pastures and community forests play a critical role in supporting local livelihoods especially during the frequently occurring drought periods. Common lands as wastelands by the government agencies have higher socio-cultural values to the local communities. Local communities are collectively managing and fighting for the protection of these common lands against the degradation, illegal encroachments and privatization efforts. This study on valuation of common lands tries to analyze value of these lands to local communities and the factors influencing the people's interest to protect commons. People are asked to state their willingness pay (WTP) for the protection and management using Contingent Valuation Methods. In addition to this, study also used free list technique to analyze the socio-cultural importance of common lands to local communities. Communities found to associate the commons with the ideas of communal and collective responsibility. The factors of benefits such as grass, firewood and minor forest benefits found to have a positive influence on the WTP, while factors of encroachment and distance have a negative influence. The mean WTP value of INR 18 31.22 (usn 33.82) per family per annum expressed by the respondents is lower than the mean economic benefits they receive from the common lands. However, the qualitative data suggests that people place high value on socio-economic importance of common lands.
At a crossroads in the Bolivian Chiquitania: a case study of the Pailon Highway
Alyssa Villalba/ Mario Torrico
IDCE • Advisor: Dr. Denise Humphreys-Bebbington
This exploratory research looks at a section of the Interoceanic Highway (known as the Pailon Highway) in the Bolivian Chiquitania. Using qualitative analysis from semi-structured interviews, we explored the "benefits" and emerging tensions on a local and national scale. Our main findings suggest that there was little opposition to the construction of the highway and a growth in the support for private-led industries in the region. Greater physical connectedness has not translated into greater attachment to the central government for the local populations. There are emerging tensions between the Chiquitanos and inmigrant peoples (who have arrived in greater numbers because of the highway) over business opportunities and the protection of the environment. Finally, social and economic imaginaries are being constructed on the emerging tourism industry. These findings lead us to conclude that road building without the inclusion of all stakeholders in its planning, will further disadvantage local populations.
Enhancing soil nutrients and water conservation through sustainable farming techniques: afield research component of the IWMI's project on sustainable groundwater irrigation in the Greater Mekong Sub-region of Lao PDR
IDCE • Advisors: Dr. Timothy Downs, Dr. Marianne Sarkis, Dr. Ye lena Ogneva-Himmelberger, Dr. Paul Pavelic (IWMI), Dr. C. T. Hoanh (IWMI)
Water scarcity for agricultural production during the hot dry season
in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (MS) in Lao PDR continues to be a major challenge among smallholder farmers who rely on farming
for their livelihoods. This project is based on an on-going research project being implemented by the International Water Management Institute (I WMI) in collaboration with other partners in enhancing the resilience and productivity of rainfed irrigation through sustainable groundwater irrigation. The overarching objective of this proposed project is to contribute a component to the water scarcity needs and usability among smallholder farmers through regenerative and resource conserving technologies (RCTS) to enhance soil nutrients and water productivity through drip irrigation systems. The proposed project will be conducted at two trial plots (15m X 15m) in both Vientiane and Champasak provinces in Lao PDR. Results from pre-planting, planting and post-planting analyses of soil nutrients, soil water content and soil pH will be integrated into existing datasets to create a geodatabase that will be used by IWMI and its partners as additional resource for further research and informational purposes.
From deficits to assets, exploring positive youth development as an alternative framework in a total institution: a case study of the Child Care and Development Center of Mongolia
CDP • Advisor: Laurie Ross
Where are the women in cattle raiding? A gendered analysis of militarized cattle culture in South Sudan
IDSC • Advisor: Marianne Sarkis
raids, and women have become increasingly vulnerable in South Sudan’s militarized society, in part due to increased duties and decreased decision-making abilities. This report uses ethnographic and secondary research in order to understand how pastoralist culture, especially women’s roles in pastoralist culture, has changed due to militarization. The ethnographic research was collected during a one-month stay in South Sudan, primarily through participant observations and informational interviews. The primary research was then compared to available secondary research.
Exploring the association between low birth weight and exposure to air pollution in Massachusetts: air pollution concentration monitoring
GISDE • Advisor: Yelena Ogneva-Himmelberger
Can any model be geographically weighted? Exploring the association between low birth weight and exposure to air pollution using geographically weighted logistic regression
GISDE • Advisor: Yelena Ogneva-Himmelberger
Spatiotemporal analyses of mortality in the City of Worcester 2000–2008
GISDE • Advisor: Yelena Ogneva-Himmelberger
Researchers’ perceptions of stakeholder engagement in the development of a regional earth systems model
ES&P • Advisor: Jennie Stephens
Only in Olneyville: geographically specified subsidies
Emily Vander Does
GSOM/CDP • Advisors: Mark Tigan and Mary-Ellen Boyle
1. Prepare a business attraction strategy and marketing plan for Paragon Mills. The attraction strategy will use competitive advantages to identify target markets. The marketing plan will coordinate efforts to attract businesses to Paragon Mills.
2. Leverage subsidies to identify and attract target markets to Paragon Mills.
3. Expand subsidies available to Olneyville businesses.
4. Build a sense of community among area businesses by identifying common interests and disseminating pertinent information.
I provide support for these recommendations based on an inventory of geographically specified subsidies; business, community, and government stakeholder perceptions of identified subsidies; the financial impact of identified subsidies on businesses; a measure of degree of difficulty associated with identified subsidies; and recommendations for OHC’s short, medium, and long term business attraction efforts.
Liberian refugees in Ghana: environmental security implications of the indiscriminate disposal of municipal solid waste
Jenkins D. Macedo
IDSC • Advisors: M. Sarkis, A. H. Fabos, and, Jude Fernando
Flood risk assessment for the middle and lower sections of the Gan River Basin, China
GISDE • Advisor: Hamil Pearsall
Evaluating deforestation, topsoil erosion and sedimentation in MaMaBay, Madagascar from 2000 to 2010 – a remote sensing approach to assess human impact on ecosystem
GISDE • Advisors: John Rogan and Florencia Sangermano
Business plan for small business lending program in Ghana
Akuoko Anthony Oduro
IDSC/GSOM • Advisor: Mark Tigan
Institutional dilemmas: a multi-scaled analysis of risk management within a non-governmental organization
IDSC • Advisors: David Bell and Denise BebbingtonThis research explores the dilemmas created by dithering perceptions of "risk management" at multiple levels within one NGO. The research is based on fieldwork carried out in the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia. The fieldwork included implementation of a programmatic risk assessment on youth development programs, and reporting gaps in risk management to the state and national branches of the organization. This analysis found that risk appears to be transferred in multiple directions, resulting in a dissonance between mandated institutional norms communicated via policies and the actualization of programs, services, and projects on the ground that do not connect with institutional standards of "risk management." The paper argues that risk is "scaled up" through the organization due to differences in tolerability to risk at all levels, but awareness of these processes may assist the organization with adopting a more culturally and institutionally appropriate risk management framework.